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The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by [Levitin, Daniel]
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The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Dan Levitin has more insights per page than any other neuroscientist I know. The Organized Mind is smart, important, and as always, exquisitely written. (Daniel Gilbert, author of 'Stumbling on Happiness')

The Organized Mind is the perfect antidote to the effects of information overload. Loved it. (Scott Turow, New York Times bestselling author of 'Identical' and 'Innocent')

Already deservedly a bestseller... The Organized Mind is from the school of Daniel Kahneman but it earns its keep. Levitin demonstrates how easily we are bamboozled by statistical tricks in medicine, finance and safety, making his points with pithy stories. (Independent)

About the Author

Dr. Daniel J. Levitin has a PhD in Psychology, training at Stanford University Medical School and UC Berkeley. He is the author of the No. 1 bestseller This Is Your Brain On Music (Dutton, 2006), published in nineteen languages, and The World in Six Songs (Dutton, 2008) which hit the bestseller lists in its first week of release. Currently he is a James McGill Professor of Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience and Music at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5291 KB
  • Print Length: 529 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (29 Jan. 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00M8PUC8K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,326 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Neuroscientists, who study the highly complex nervous system, are not noted for their humour but the author of this excellent book is an exception. Most of the nervous system action takes place in the brain. Woody Allen said the brain was his second favourite organ, Every secon, the author tells us, we are bombarded by information. This has now been dramatically increased by emails and texts. This is hardly new, however Levitkin examines what effect this is having on our brains and asks are we being overloaded by an information explosion? He is well qualified to write this as he has a PhD in psychology, and is currently a Professor of psychology, behavioural neuroscience and music at McGill a prestigious Canadian university. Previous books by him have examined the brain and music, all have been acclaimed.

That we are becoming addicted to information, much of it trite and useless, is beyond dispute as a train journey, a meal out or watching people walking about feverishly clutching a mobile phone to the ear will prove. Phonemania has made many of us like Swiss Army knives. Multitasking is now commonplace. The author, a cognitive scientist, believes multitasking is a 'diabolical illusion' . What it does is to overtax the brain thus preventing this remarkable organ from resting or daydreaming. He argues that computers have not freed us from drudgery, they have instead exposed us to infomania. Every day during our leisure time, each of us processes 34 gigabytes or 100,000 words. The world's 21,274 tv stations produce 85,000 hours of programming every day. On average, we watch 5 hours of tv a day. YouTube uploads 6,000 hours of video every hour. Computer gaming consumes more bytes than all other media put together.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book. It's a great summary of much neuroscience- and shows us how to use this to our advantage in life. I read this at a time when I was dealing with a lot of clutter- and this book has helped me deal with it and get it into perspective.

The problem of feeling mentally overloaded has plagued humans for years. It's become more acute in this digital information age. This book will help you mange the information overload.

His basic division is into in-brain and outbrain. He suggests getting a much as possible into your outbrain- and having it well filed in categories and hierarchies.

Our in-brain is where everything his happening. He sees our mind as having four main components:
Attentional filter
Attention switch
Mind wandering mode
Central executive mode

Each of these components has a specific role.
Our attentional filter is needed as our sensory capacities are huge- we are all processing much information from our sense organs- about our internal and external worlds all the time. If we became aware of all this we would be overwhelmed. The attentional filter manages this volume of information and particularly looks out for Changes or Importance of information. It only allows stuff through to conscious attention if it matters. Most of our sensory input is monitored in the background- and we should be grateful that it is.

Our attentional switch is really important- throwing it takes from one topic to another. We incur a huge cost for doing this- the cost of INTERRUPTIONS. We should really only alter our focus when we need to move onto a new topic- and we should probably have a break before we do so. Multitasking is to do nothing well, and rather to delude yourself that you are doing anything at all.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book about the modern mind. Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin has written a comprehensive, yet engaging book about brain science, organization techniques, office clutter, memory, and the ever-present kitchen junk drawer! Levitin has interesting things to say about the curse of e-mail, and the curse of passwords in the computer era.

So, what is the greatest organizational component of the mind? It is attention--the "most essential mental resource for any organism ... The attention filter is one of evolution's greatest achievements." It allows us to take in all these details in real-time, non-stop, yet not get bogged down and distracted by irrelevant details.

There is a more than a little bit of a self-help attitude in this book. Levitin recommends making use of 3x5 index cards to jot down notes and "to do" lists all the time. The cards can be reordered and re-prioritized whenever desired. By writing things down, it gives your mind permission to go off and focus on other things. Levitin makes numerous references to executives who have assistants whose job it is to keep the day's agenda straight, and to keep the big shot's activities rolling along. This allows the executive to focus on the task at hand, and keeps irrelevant distractions at bay.

Levitin has nothing but bad things to say about multitasking. He writes that multitasking can increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol and the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline. These chemicals can overstimulate the brain and cause scrambled thinking. Multitasking put the brain into a feedback loop that rewards it for losing focus, and causes one to constantly search for external stimulation.

Levitin describes how sleep is not an all-or-nothing state.
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