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 love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!
I'm not really the kind of person who reads self-improvement books, particularly those about work, but this one attracted my attention for some reason. I found it to be full of interesting insights about how we function, how we can control our thought processes more productively, how we can get on better with other people and get the best out of our relationships.
The book uses a series of 'before and after' stories about everyday work and social situations. In the 'before' stories, the characters get themselves into a pickle by making all the wrong choices and messing things up. They make dumb decisions and miss out on business deals, upsetting their colleagues and family in the process.
In between the 'before' and 'after' stories, our narrator tells us how we could improve this performance, by understanding how our brain works. For example, he focuses on the extent to which people are motivated by fairness, their status, and their need for certainty. If you pay attention to these things when you interact with people, you will get better results.
In the 'after' stories, the main characters incorporate these concepts into their interactions with others, and everything goes swimmingly. Their goals are achieved and everyone is happy.
Although this method of conveying these ideas verges on the comical by being a bit too good to be true, with too many happy endings, it is a very clear way to get the ideas across.
I am looking forward to trying them out, although I will probably make a complete hash of it and upset everyone! Overall, I recommend the book.
This book is a balanced blend of scientific data and storytelling. The author explains how your brain works (e.g., it's easier to drive and talk at the same time, but not read email and listen to a conversation). You learn what to do -- minimize multitasking as much as possible and don't do it at all when the two tasks rely on the same region of the brain. The author then takes you through the problems faced by two fictitious characters, Emily and Paul. The same scenes are replayed following his advice. Although the scenarios are fictitious, they represent common situations at work and how they can be handled poorly (as we react without thinking) or effectively (stay calm and re-direct it to a positive outcome). The pattern in the book of data, scene, and replay of scene reminds you to slow down and think, especially as you see how Emily and Paul in their rush to get things done, they end up doing rework to fix their problems. I think this is a book you can read again to identity bad habits you continue to do and work on those.
I found the book helpful and covered some powerful concepts however I struggled with the complete lack of enthusiasm in narration and inconsistent tonal inflections. You will know what I mean if you listen to it.
Though the science was good, the stories to highlight the point tended to follow the somewhat annoying format
1. Person has the worst day possible imaginable
2. You learn how the brain works
3. Person uses knowledge and has the greatest possible day known to man and everything just works out.
I understand why the author has done this but it can get repetitive.
Awesome book ! Understanding how our brain works, makes it easy afterwards to identify what is going on in specific situations and adapt accordingly. We can feel it's based on a lot of hard science, but well adapted so that we are not overwhelmed by it.
Thumbs up :)
Now I understand why I feel tired somes times and unproductive , it is not my motivation level but the capacity of brain.Practical and to the point.
There is some practical advise here. I enjoyed it very much. The only audiobook I have listened to twice. It is very well formatted, blending ideas with stories to guide the listener to greater understanding. I found the information is very relevant and the listening quite enjoyable.
Book is very well organized, pithy for the most part and the author uses mnemonics to help you retain key concepts. Some books related books are mostly an endless rehash of clinical studies findings and other people's ideas, but this book delivers value added for the author's ideas. Basically you follow a couple through several work/ family life base case situations, then the author introduces his concepts and retells the story where the characters are handling their situations better.
Different aspects of the subject matter are covered from how your brain works, limitations of your brain and re-exploring principles that we do know but that we sometimes forget to implement daily, like how our perception of ourselves and our status relative to others influences our interactions. One model that is introduced in the second half of the book is the SCARF model, Status - Certainty - Autonomy - Relatedness - Fairness. Why these concepts are important ties in with brain biology.
My husband thinks that this book is especially useful within an office context. I saw more applications and view title as being "how your brain functions" and I find that the practical advice will apply both in and out of the office, including even interaction with your family members.
One of the best books I've ever read! Provides a rich insight into how your brain works and how to use it to maximise performance in work and normal day-to-day life. Very well written complex concepts made easy to understand. Highly recommended A+
"Neuro Science meets self help"
Very good; scientific research made applicable to every day situations. Listened twice now and becoming more used to the terms it's already helping the way I work daily and with others.
"one of the best self help books ever written"
A fantastic piece of work.
I'm on my second read-through. I have bought a hard copy on Amazon to use as a reference. This is the best of recent psychology put into a practical self-improvement book.
Personally, I am developing a strategy to implement just about everything in this book that are not already doing.
I read many self-help books but I think this is one of the best ever written.
"Beethoven on a Kazoo"
One of the biggest problems with audio books in general is that they rely to a very large degree on the ability of the reader. Excellent material can be utterly spoilt by the narrator - and this is the case here. I have no-one to blame but myself. Listening to the sample I thought I could stand Bob Walter's extraordinary read. I was wrong. This professional reader has absolutely no idea of the meaning of the narrative. It is a self indulgent presentation by someone so enamoured with the sound of his own voice that the meaning is buried beneath a dreadfully inept delivery. The book itself is excellent - and David Rock has achieved another sale because I had to buy the hard-copy to extract the value. So do yourself a favour - cut out the middle man and read this one the old fashioned way.
Interested in the content of this book, but I can't get going with it because the narrator is just awful. The rhythm of his delivery sounds completely random - as if he isn't actually paying attention to the context of what he is reading, or hasn't looked at it in advance. The effect is so unbelievably distracting that I can't listen to more than a few minutes without going insane. Really disappointed. Avoid (or buy the printed version).
"A little bit anal, but probably useful"
The subject (how to get more out of your brain) is fascinating, and many of David Rock's suggestions are worth considering, even if his style is rather lugubrious.
My brain is particularly badly behaved and hard to control, so there are many ideas that I am keen to put into practice. Examples: do not overload your small active memory (or 'stage', as Rock calls it). Concentrate on one topic at a time; this is more efficient than 'multi-tasking'. Do spend time on 'meta-work' - organising and prioritising your tasks. Chunk big ideas into sub-ideas and give them labels, chunk tasks into subtasks. Systematise repeated tasks into 'routines' so that you don't waste brain-energy each time you have to do this task. Do high energy tasks when you are high energy (e.g. fresh, morning) and reserve dumb tasks for when you suffer lower energy.
And of special interest to us at Audible: How Not to Lose Concentration When Listening to Your Audiobook. Well this is the tip: avoid distraction in the nano-second it starts to happen. Rock makes the sweet observation that 'We are not descended from ancestors who ignored a rustling in the long grass', but if you know there are no snakes around, you have to ignore the distraction from the get-go. Don't go there, don't let your 'Default Network' (the place your brain goes for a restful wander) kick in, in the first place - stay with the book! You must DIRECT your brain. Goodness, just burnt another half-hour doing book reviews.
"Really Really Interesting"
I really enjoyed this book. Excellent subject matter and novel way of delivering the content.
The narrator is a little difficult to get used to at first, quite dry and slow paced, but once you become accustomed to his style its a good listen.
I especially liked the ending when it culminated in the SCARF acronym. I wont ruin it by expanding this but I found this to be very insightful and actually an enlightening view on human psychology.
All in all a good listen. I would have given 5 stars but the narrator was not quite to my taste.
I listen to a lot of audiobooks on leadership and self improvement, and this was one of the best. I loved it. I almost didn't download it because of the reviews about the narrator, and whilst I could understand what other reviewers meant, it didn't detract from the message of the book. I really liked the original way the information was presented, in the form of a play. I liked the way the softer messages about how to behave and treat people, were backed up with hard neuroscience. For me, it brought a lot of things together that I had learnt from other books and helped me to understand why we do what we do, which was very empowering. I would really invest in a hard copy of this book too, as I feel it will become a book that I will want to refer to many times.
"Probably the BEST audiobook ever"
First of all, I was not bothered by Bob Walter's narration at all, in fact I liked his tone and pace, as well as his voice. The content of this book is so interesting and so dense that I found his slower narration helping me stay focused.
Second of all, this book is amazing. I think it might be the most useful book I have ever read. I am re-listening to it for the second time now because I find the methods David Rock recommends so useful for a happy, productive life. This is the ultimate self-help book, except that it is based on science, not BS. If every person on this planet read and lived by this book, humanity would be lightyears ahead of where we are now... Will buy the print version for reference. I highly recommend this audiobook!
"My brain is now working"
I love this audio book. It gives accounts of daily rituals which most of the population undertake and the obstacles that prevent us from achieving our potential. With practical advice and reasoning, and through repetitive actions, we can become so more efficient within our daily lives.
If you can learn how to anticipate your thought process and remove the habitual processes that prevent positive thoughts coming through, you can achieve so much more!
"hmmm, it must just be me?"
Sorry, but this is just terrible.
It is so monotonous, and in all honesty all the 'advice' and 'insight' is just plain common sense - don't try to do too much at once, you use energy to think so have a snack, go for a walk to clear your head, brains are easily distracted so disconnect the phone, etc. etc. You don't need to sit and listen to a book for goodness knows how many hours to realise this - come on, you already know this stuff.
The whole 'take two' thing is a nice idea, but it just doesn't work because its all circumstantial given that the author can just say all the right things were done by the character, but this does absolutely nothing to help YOU do the right things; reading a book will never change the way your own brain functions, I'm afraid.
Oh, and if I ever hear 'PRE-FRONTAL CORTEX' ever again I will go insane. Just by saying a medical term lots and lots does not make this anything clever or insightful, just flipping annoying.
Finally, at the risk of sounding zenophobic, this book really is very 'American' in its tone and approach, so if you are into all this self-help stuff then perhaps you might get something from it (it is clear that my 'give it a go' approach to this did not pay off myself!), but otherwise it will probably just annoy the hell out of you.
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