A very practical book. It switches effortlessly between explaining (in general terms) the neurological basis of what we do and pragmatic methods to change.
The author suggests that the book is consumed in parts over a long time to bed in the principals that he is giving. I listened to it very quickly, and will be going through it again at a slower rate putting his suggestions to work.
The authors have been involved in teaching teachers to be better at what they do. So there are multiples levels to the anecdotes and data - the responses of the teachers to undergoing training, and the results in the classrooms they control.
The data comes from the education field, and that is certainly the authors' area of experience, but it is in no way difficult to extrapolate to any areas of skill development.
The main thrust of the message is that when people perform a task they will plateau at a certain level unless there are deliberate steps taken to improve. It then goes through various rules (many of which seemed to massively overlap) to apply when improving a skill.
While reading the book I was in the process of teaching my niece to drive. As a result I was able to integrate what I was learning about practice immediately. I think both of us benefitted from it!
It is not one of the myriad of popular neuroscience books, nor is it a full self help manual, it falls somewhere in between. This book is not for everyone, but there are lessons in there that everyone would benefit from understanding.
To me this book had a very reasonable premise, but it had really did not need quite as much material to it. It was like the author continued to write to prove he had not been made shallow by the internet.
I found the historical context that they put the internet into quite interesting. This aspect is something that I personally would not have sought out - but am glad to have now heard.
The book works on the premise that the "medium is the message", and that the internet along with neural plasticity is changing not just how we interact with the computer, but all aspects of our thinking.
A good read, very similar to his "Predictably Irrational" and "Upside of Irrationality". There are repeats of some of the previous findings, but now through a different lens.
The essential message is that all of us lie. The trick is balancing how much we lie and cheat with our perception of ourselves.
It is fun making yourself predict the outcome of the studies as he is describing them... but a little disturbing to understand how much every single one of us lies in some way.
It finishes with some interviews from his "Arming the Donkeys" podcast, where Dan himself hosts the discussion - which are entertaining if you have not heard them before.
An amazing book.
David takes theory about brain function and social interaction and intergrates into the lives of characters that you become invested in.
I found myself crying at one stage - while listening to a popular science book!
Since my listening to "The Social Animal", several of my friends have bought the book on my suggestion... all had a similar reaction.
Gary Taubes gives you an understanding of the woeful lack of data that is available to support information that we have always taken as Gospel.
He presents information on why things that we consider to be good nutrition, may be anything but.
My only issue with the book is that he points out lack of evidence with our accepted understanding of diet and exercise, but presents his own conclusions with very little evidence as well. I believe there are other, more technical books by the author, and maybe these have more of the supporting work.
But in summary - a very thought provoking book.
A book that summarizes a great deal of recent research into how we think. It points out the shortcuts our brain takes in perception and memory.
The examples it gives do make you question yourself and some of your own actions... but that is a good thing (right??).
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