The Organized Mind

The Organized Mind

Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

Book - 2014
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With lively, entertaining chapters on everything from the kitchen junk drawer to health care to gambling in Las Vegas, Levitin reveals how new research into the cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory can be applied to daily life. His practical suggestions call for relatively minor changes that require little effort but will have remarkable long-term benefits for mental and physical health, productivity, and creativity.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario, Canada :, Allen Lane,, 2014.
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780670067640
Branch Call Number: CAN CaOONL 20149036779
Characteristics: xxvi, 496 pages :,illustrations ;,24 cm.


From the critics

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May 03, 2021

Yes're all right (to all the previous comments) ....but hidden in between all that small print and meandering are some really insightful morsels... and like truffles .... you just have to sniff them out. ;)

Apr 28, 2021

Author: "Here's an idea and some examples."
Reader: "Oh yeah, I get it, cool."
Author: "Here are two more examples because I'm getting paid by the word."

Like others have said, the book is actually quite disorganized. And way too long. He talks about how to decide whether to get a medical procedure for 50 pages, and another 50 pages describe how businesses are structured. Barely seemed relevant.

One thing I got from the book is to write your ideas on index cards. It takes the burden of remembering out of your mind, and you can add to them later and re-order according to importance.

Oct 12, 2020

It has been a good self-help book for me. Inspired by this, I am changing a few things in my day-to-day and I can see the positive outcome of it. With these kinda books what tends to get long and repetitive to a fault are the references to research papers and the long winded abstractions. It could be much more concise with key takeaways. Still got to read the whole book though, this seems to be forever in circulation.

Feb 17, 2020

Great book packed with information but, strangely not very well organized! The purpose of the book is not clear: Is this a self help book or a text book on neuroscience? For a book on organization, it really could be better organized! The chapter titles are great but, the text within seems to meander between discussion, self help and related research with no organization of the content! I will borrow this again though since I learned so much - hence 4 stars.

Jan 30, 2018

A bit of a tough read... easy to gloss over certain parts. It does contain a lot of interesting information and facts... but like other users have said, it reads like a textbook. Not what I was expecting.

Dec 16, 2015

Not an easy read by any standard. Reads like a textbook (not in a good way). Too bad because the subject matter could be interesting.

Jun 19, 2015

This book is so voluminous that it adds to the information overload. If you are serious about managing information, without overwhelming yourself with information, I'm sure there are better resources out there. If you speed read, then maybe you can find the nuggets.

Feb 04, 2015

The Organized Mind is a cross between a popular science book and a self-help book. The first part explains what neuroscience has learned about how the brain works, which is quite a lot in the last 20 years or so. Most of the rest of the book then suggests ways to use the brain's strengths and to compensate for its flaws to stay organized in our information-overloaded lives.

The main thrust is that we should use external systems as much as possible to supplement our somewhat inaccurate and inefficient memory. This includes things like having to-do lists (preferably on 3x5 index cards so you can re-organize and re-prioritize tasks easily), always storing things in the same place so you don't lose them, using electronic calendars or phones to remind yourself of things you need to know or do, and (if you're a highly successful person) hiring a personal assistant to take care of organizing your life.

There's also a good section on making good decisions that talks a bit about statistics and probability but manages to stay away from complex math. Levitin does present a nice tabular way to compute probabilities, especially in medical situations, where sometimes the error rate in a diagnostic test is greater than the base rate for the disease the test is trying to detect.

Levitin writes well and with a little bit of humour. He keeps the language easy to understand, although the early sections on brain anatomy and function have a lot of technical jargon that might distress some readers.

For me, I didn't learn much that I hadn't seen in other books, but this is a good introduction to the most recent findings in neuroscience and some practical ways to apply that knowledge. My main problem with self-help books, though, is that if it were as simple as following the instructions in a book to make our lives more organized, few of us would need the book. The fact is, most people won't follow the advice (I know I probably won't), so we'll continue muddling through. What we need is a self-help book on why we ignore self-help books.

Jan 08, 2015

An eye-opening book that is helping me to improve my internal and external environments. Don't let the heft put you off - give yourself permission to skim a bit if you get bogged down in the more technical neuroscience explanations.

Oct 13, 2014

"The Organized Mind" presents a wealth of information on all aspects of organizing. While the title indicates that the writer is going to be talking about the mind, he does much more than that. I learned how to organize my home, benefits of living in a clutter free environment; how to organize paper and computer files, how an organization is organized and yes, how an organized person is able to make better decisions.
The book tells us about the critical thinking skills essential to live in this Information age with brains which haven't caught up - physiologically evolving slowly from the hunter-gatherer phase.
An asset in any library; and Oh! you can go to that Google job interview with confidence after reading this book!

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Jun 20, 2016

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