Meet Emily and Paul: The parents of two young children, Emily is the newly promoted VP of marketing at a large corporation while Paul works from home or from clients' offices as an independent IT consultant. Their lives, like all of ours, are filled with a bewildering blizzard of emails, phone calls, yet more emails, meetings, projects, proposals, and plans. Just staying ahead of the storm has become a seemingly insurmountable task.
In this book, we travel inside Emily and Paul's brains as they attempt to sort the vast quantities of information they're presented with, figure out how to prioritize it, organize it and act on it. Fortunately for Emily and Paul, they're in good hands: David Rock knows how the brain works-and more specifically, how it works in a work setting. Rock shows how it's possible for Emily and Paul, and thus the reader, not only to survive in today's overwhelming work environment but succeed in it-and still feel energized and accomplished at the end of the day.
Your Brain At Work explores issues such as:
- why our brains feel so taxed, and how to maximize our mental resources
- why it's so hard to focus, and how to better manage distractions
- how to maximize your chance of finding insights that can solve seemingly insurmountable problems
- how to keep your cool in any situation, so that you can make the best decisions possible
- how to collaborate more effectively with others
- why providing feedback is so difficult, and how to make it easier
- how to be more effective at changing other people's behavior.
©2009 David Rock (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers
I originally rated this as a full five, but on further listening, the author's overly simplistic and reductionistic view of behaviorism then concerned me that perhaps he has done that in other areas I have less training in. Based on that concern i had to downgrade the review. nonetheless i do think it is a very good work, using somewhat simplified versions of the present state of neurobiological and neuro-psychological information to generate a more than reasonable user's brain manual. Attention, concentration, addiction etc all come under this exposition and i feel it is sufficiently well done to be quite useful to many at multiple levels of field specific information.
My red flag issues with his handling of "behaviorism": First of all Pavlov (of classical conditioning fame) is Ivan Pavlov, not Igor Pavlov. That being his first sentence I knew he did not have much knowledge about what he was about to present as fact. Far more importantly, the father of Behaviorism, is BF Skinner, and contrary to Mr. Rock's understanding, it is the study of the effects of intelligently applied, research based,consequences on past behavior as it impacts and alters future behavior (to wit... Las Vegas makes billions applying these principles, yet people can learn pro social and moral development, or the lack thereof through the same principles). For Mr. Rock to reduce behaviorism to the simplistic pairing of food powder and a bell, which is in fact what is knows as "classical conditioning" (largely physiological) is just flat out erroneous. To then say it has survived because it is stupidly simply, and people like stupid and simple, is in a word just plain stupid. Behaviorism is "operant conditioning" and the only connection to classical conditioning is simply that Pavlovian (classical) conditioning was a historical precedent (i.e., it came first therefore "classical') that led to later discoveries in the field of learning theory. My concern is that is if he made such egregious, presumptive and assumptive errors about something rather simple, has he done the same in the much more complicated fields of neurobiology and neuropsychology. This suggests faulty editorial review and undermines my faith in the ultimate accuracy of his conclusions. However, in his defense, at my level of general understanding, I did not find any other glaring errors. Perhaps someone in those fields can best address the veracity of his material. I have my doubts, though i still highly recommend the book for its functional utility.
This book is an interesting and easy read. It has the substance of a non-fiction book, built like a story book. The points given are applicable and easy to remember. I have recommended this book to both co-workers and friends.
The subject of this book is incredibly powerful and the author uses a unique style to explain the physiology of the brain and how it impacts our moment by moment actions as individuals. I've listened twice to grasp all of the practical advice for implementation in my everyday life, from the corporate environment, to my personal and family relationships.
Over the last couple of days I've had to fast for medical reasons, and along the way, I found myself drawing on learning points from the book about brain physiology to understand why I was feeling the way I was (physically, mentally and emotionally) at certain times during the fast. I could "label" my thought patterns making them easier to deal with and to communicate to others. I could recognize when my pre-frontal cortex needed fuel to control the emotional brain functions. It was very enlightening!!
But all the good could be undone by the narrator. This reading is incredibly syncopated and difficult to tolerate. The reader has a naturally slow tempo that for some reason (I can only imagine poor editing) suddenly speeds up, and then just as quickly sloooowwwws down again. I had too listen to the first reading at 1.5x speed to tolerate the narrator.
Overall, however, this book has excellent material. It is so powerful that I will be buying a text version so I can highlight and review brain improvement techniques regularly!!
I found this a very helpful book that connects the science of how the brain works with how to be more effective at work. The before and after "case studies" were also useful to see the theory in practice. Very insightful work and I've used the insights already in my work, especially in dealing with conflict.
You would think that this book with be a dry read...but I was wrong. I couldn't wait to get to the next listen. I encourage you all at any age to give a listen.
Lots of incites on how you think and why it is so difficult at times. I could use a summery or cheat sheet to keep the various techniques in mind.
I had invested about 5 hours and it was an overall good book. On my way to work today it stops with an error. I delete the book and reinstall and it still will not play Chapter 4 on the Part 2 down load. So after listing to 2/3 of the book it will leave you up in the error.
The combination of explainations of the biology of the brain and the psychology of why we do things means that half of the reading audience is bored at any point in time. The analogies do not make sense and the scenarios are contrived. I have been a subscriber since 2003 and never quit a book in the middle... until now.
This is a really interesting and applicable book. It provides really clear strategies for steering your thinking and avoiding behavioural mishaps at work. Thing is, the narration is terrible. I mean terrible, distracting and annoying. This is particularly frustrating when you’re trying really hard to pay attention to the valuable lessons. One of the other reviewers described it perfectly: the odd inflections on the wrong syllables—he sounds like Agent Smith, from The Matrix movies. I recommend you buy the book and read it – great content, not a good audio version.
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