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The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload Hardcover

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Dutton
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052595418X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525954187
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 4.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 699 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #137,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
McGill professor of psychology and behavioural neuroscience, Daniel J. Levitin, knows exactly how modern culture seeks to understand life: brain research, studies on evolution and information theory. With that in mind, he has written a science-based self-help manual of sorts, one built on the premise that information has become a key resource yet we struggle not to drown in a flood of it. "The Organized Mind" offers some basic guidelines on how to thrive in such an environment by drawing on recent studies in Levitin's field.

After long-windedly bringing readers up to date on concepts like attention, information, and memory, Levitin uses the test case of dealing with the diagnosis of a potentially life-threatening illness to discuss improve negotiations of our lives and mindsets. He argues that we need to shift our burden of organization from our brains to the external world, including improving our understanding of statistics and refining our ability to critically sift information. Levitin concludes with advice on the values and skills we can teach our children to prepare them for life in information overdrive.

Much of Levitin's analysis informs and engages, especially his discussion of the disadvantages of procrastination and his deconstruction of the myth of multitasking. However, such a long book does not seem to contain enough insight to render it unique.
It shows us how to organize our mental homes but the reader can't help thinking that he/she has perused the same material before. Then again, that could just be symptomatic of information overload.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An awesome book! It is scientifically sound book written by a university prof, but it is very clearly written and the layperson can understand it well. This book has helped me a lot to understand how my brain worked and re-organize some aspects of my work to be more efficient. Useful science - what more can one ask for?
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By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Oct. 14 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Professor Levitin, in this book, believes that we are creatures often overwhelmed by our inability to process the welter of digital information that assails our daily existence. As a leading neuroscientist, Levitin shows us how complex the human brain is when responding to the need to process a wide array of external stimuli. Its capacity to respond to detail in a timely and orderly fashion is what will ultimately save us from floundering when critical decisions have to be made. This work, while not breaking a lot of new ground, does help the reader to recognize how the brain likely functions at both the physiological and psychological levels. Since we obviously do not all present the same way in how we respond to external information when it comes to running our lives, Levitin looks at different strategies and techniques. Using current brain research and real-life illustrations, he shows how we can actually improve our particular attention to detail by better understanding the functionality (affordance) of the world around us. It is not our brains that are at fault here but how we use them to organize our immediate environment to meet our personal needs. His research shows that effective sleep and nutrition are essential for forming a healthy mind. Our home life can vastly improve when we start to employ what the Greeks called spatial memory: a specific place for putting objects so that we can remember where we put them. The technique of chunking, which I use all the time, is helpful in breaking tasks down into smaller units so that we can understand the importance of finishing and meeting deadlines. It is also crucial to learn how to effectively manage one's time in respect to changes in routine like suddenly having to respond to other people's needs.Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book reminds you of better books you've already read on the subject. That's the problem.

There's some moderately interesting storytelling here - some probably accurate science which you've probably already heard of before. And the practical tips are banal to the point of being hilarious and useless at the same time. Index cards? Try to contribute quality to the conversation? Social media probably provides breadth but not depth? A good thing the guy has PhD next to his name on the back flap or I might have assumed this was some kind of satire.

And his previous book on music was better, by the way. Unless you've never, ever read anything about organizing your life, your time, etc. give this one a pass, unless you really must read it for some reason. Maybe read his colleague's book "Thinking Fast and Slow" from a few years back. And this is a longish book too, so it will take precious time. Maybe the best way to get organized is to organize this book off your reading list.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I have to say this is a great book with very interesting points and topics. However, the main problem for this book is that it is not organized very well: this book contains too much irrelevant information and he uses too many examples to support his main point. I understand that he wants to use examples, facts and background information to help us understand better but it will make you hard to understand and follow the main point. You will feel like you dont know what he is trying to tell you. Anyway, it is worth to read it because some of his recommendations are worth for us to give a try.
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