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Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life [Kindle Edition]

Winifred Gallagher
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £13.99
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Book Description

A revolutionary look at how what we pay attention to determines how we experience life

Acclaimed behavioral science writer Winifred Gallagher's Rapt makes the radical argument that much of the quality of your life depends not on fame or fortune, beauty or brains, fate or coincidence, but on what you choose to pay attention to. Rapt introduces a diverse cast of characters, from researchers to artists to ranchers, to illustrate the art of living the interested life. As their stories show, by focusing on the most positive and productive elements of any situation, you can shape your inner experience and expand your world. By learning to focus, you can improve your concentration, broaden your inner horizons, and most important, feel what it means to be fully alive.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 606 KB
  • Print Length: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (9 Mar. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001V6P12E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #179,781 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most relevant and brilliant book 22 July 2009
This book is about attention and how the way we use it affects life in all of its aspects.

The author uses state of the art research findings to describe how our attention works and how to make best use of it when we want to feel better and get the most from our day/life, when we work as well as in our personal lives. Moreover, the author discusses some of the common attention-pitfalls that have a significant detrimental effect on our lives.

The book is very well written, which makes it seem like you are having an enlightning conversation rather than as if you were consulting the latest research.

Personally, this book has confirmed my belief that it really matters what we attend to. Common sense might say there is only one way to experience life, but the opposite is actually the case. Making the effort of carefully choosing what to attend to (and what not to attend to) is no less than life-changing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How the ability to focus can influence your life. 30 Oct. 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
On very rare occasions I finish reading a book which I know I will return to more than once, and Winifred Gallagher's "Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life" is one of these.

Her central thesis is that in order to make the most of life and what you do during it, the quality of experience is based on how you attend to what you are doing, thinking and being.

As she says at the beginning of the book, the ability to focus on anything in a state of being "rapt" is dependent on interest,skill and culturally and socially aquired ways of experiencing the world. This state is a process by wich you focus attention on a text, a sensory experience or activity to the exclusion or near exclusion of all else for a finite time. It is also about way of giving of yourself, and loving.There is also an element of fear included in being rapt, as beautifully stated early on in the book when she analyses a work by painter George Stubbs of a horse being attacked by a lion.

In short the reoccuring theme is, you are what you pay attention to and this is a guiding principle for many of us throughout our lives, consciously and unconsciously.

At the heart of her theoretical approach is the work of nineteenth century psychologist and philosopher William James who is mentioned several times. He is an author I have read of rather than read, and now due to her use of his work feel drawn to.

Gallagher's project is to reveal how through meditation, psychology and the benefitsof belief religious or otherwise we can enhance our abilities to learn and focus on the life enhancing aspects of our experience. From this point of view it is a deeply religious book but falls short of being explicitly so.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concentrate... it will be worth it 19 Oct. 2010
Winifred Gallagher was already a behavioural science writer but the motivation for this book was more personal. A battle with cancer made her realise how important it was to focus on the here and now, how by choosing what she focused on (and didn't focus on) allowed her to control her life - to the point of making it serene.

That sparked her research into attention, ways of controlloing it, how what we focus on can afffect our work and motivation, our relationships and our children. She looks at what attention really is, and what it means to 'pay attention' as well as covering disordered attention - i.e. ADD. Gallagher offers some thoughts on how to live a more focused life that range from the straightforward tip to spend 30 minutes a day immersed is some activity you really enjoy to the more spiritual and a discussion of the methods of Eckhart Tolle.

This book is very accessible to the lay reader yet clearly backed up by meticulous research. There are passages that really make you stop and take personal responsibility, such as "Your life - who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love - is the sum of what you focus on". It's a wake up call to remember you hold the key to your own destiny, that (more than one thinks) attention can be directed in the right way, so as to improve decision making, motivation etc. etc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 25 May 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book, very educational and entertaining. Reader is marvelous. Really enjoyed it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 14 Aug. 2015
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A very good purchase
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