The Organized Mind

organized mind levitin dutton 2014The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin, 4/5

I didn’t enjoy reading this book very much; it does not seem well focused, does not flow very well and flip-flops annoyingly between information that is too technical to be useful and organizational ideas that are too simplistic.  In one paragraph, the author explains that the enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase regulates dompamine and noradrenaline in the prefrontal cortex, in another he suggests the not-exactly-earth-shattering idea of writing things down instead of trying to remember everything.

That said, there were still a lot of very interesting concepts in this book and several of the things I learned merited being read aloud to the family or being brought up in conversation over the last few days.  For example, it should be common knowledge by now that multitasking is not a thing, but did you know that watching TV while studying can actually cause the information you learn to be stored in the wrong part of your brain?  That’s powerful stuff.  Or that humans naturally tend toward a bimodal sleeping pattern that includes two four or five hour chunks, separated by an hour or two of wakefulness in the middle of the night and supplemented by an afternoon nap?

In my opinion, this book can’t hold a candle to Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (who, along with his partner Amos Tversky, is referenced quite often in The Organized Mind), but Levitin compensates for a sub-ideal reading experience by the fascinating and varied topics he explores.

[Why I read it: My friend, Joy, recommended it to me.]


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