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Rapt: Attention and the Interested Life | [Winifred Gallagher]

Rapt: Attention and the Interested Life

In Rapt, acclaimed behavioral science writer Winifred Gallagher makes the argument that the quality of your life largely depends on what you choose to pay attention to and how you choose to do it. Gallagher grapples with provocative questions - Can we train our focus? What's different about the way creative people pay attention? Why do we often zero in on the wrong factors when making big decisions? - driving us to reconsider what we think we know about attention.
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Publisher's Summary

In Rapt, acclaimed behavioral science writer Winifred Gallagher makes the argument that the quality of your life largely depends on what you choose to pay attention to and how you choose to do it.

Gallagher grapples with provocative questions -- Can we train our focus? What's different about the way creative people pay attention? Why do we often zero in on the wrong factors when making big decisions? -- driving us to reconsider what we think we know about attention.

As suggested by the expression "pay attention," this cognitive currency is a finite resource that we must learn to spend wisely. In Rapt, Gallagher introduces us to a diverse cast of characters -- artists and ranchers, birders and scientists -- who have learned to do just that and whose stories are profound lessons in the art of living the interested life.

No matter what your quotient of wealth, looks, brains, or fame, increasing your satisfaction means focusing more on what really interests you and less on what doesn't. In asserting its groundbreaking thesis -- the wise investment of your attention is the single most important thing you can do to improve your well-being -- Rapt yields fresh insights into the nature of reality and what it means to be fully alive.

©2009 Winifred Gallagher; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

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3.6 (207 )
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  •  
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 06-02-09
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 06-02-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Neuroscience of Concentration"

    Winifred Gallagher has turned mindfulness on its head in "Rapt." In this book she pays particular attention to the factors fostering and benefits of paying attention, concentration, and mental focus. The chapters on relationships, productivity, decisions, and creativity were of great practical benefit. She tells you the why and the how at every stage. This volume is well worth the time and money invested.

    A related book, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, makes a wonderful companion listen and is also available from Audible.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tedd United States 05-25-09
    Tedd United States 05-25-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "held my attention...mostly"

    The work presents an impressive amount of research, related (often indirectly) to the phenomenon of human attention, albeit in slightly biased fashion. To this reader, the author often turned what should have been an objective presentation of the data into an indictment of Western culture. Intentional or not, those highly sensitive to such things be warned. When you get past this, however, the book does manage to impart many useful insights and is, on the whole, worth a listen.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maggie Baton Rouge, LA, United States 07-13-09
    Maggie Baton Rouge, LA, United States 07-13-09 Member Since 2007
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    "a book divided against itself?"

    whereas Rapt starts slow it has a stronger second half. the first part reviews what we mostly already know. okay. fine. we need to recall common knowledge which is usually "dull" since we already know it. the second half of the book, however, finally provides the information and research for which the reader has come searching: 1) our attention and our choice of focus matter more than we realize in our technological world, 2) multi-tasking may be a myth, and 3) brain function studies are so worth knowing about. imo, then, the second half of the book makes the entire book worth an attentive listen. inquiring minds want to know. and some things are worth the extra time.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darryl DubaiUnited Arab Emirates 06-30-09
    Darryl DubaiUnited Arab Emirates 06-30-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Attention? more like...perseverance"

    This book is a real challenge to stick with at the beginning. The author seems to try too hard with a lot of flowery overly descriptive language. Didn't impress me - it irritated me! But I hung in there and 'focused' on the messages and suprisingly it turned into an interesting read.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Jersey City, NJ, USA 06-04-09
    Michele Jersey City, NJ, USA 06-04-09 Member Since 2006
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    "Worth Buying"

    While much of the information in this book is well known, the author presents it in a new and interesting way. She also employs up-to-date research to support her claims.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Breian Melbourne, Australia 12-20-11
    Breian Melbourne, Australia 12-20-11 Member Since 2011
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    "5 times"

    It was so good that I listened to it 5 times. I'll continue to listen to it just to make sure that I don't miss anything. Powerful Stuff... It is like an extra-boost to increase your performance in life/time management by 10 folds. This book is a must for high performers/achievers or to those who wants to decrease/manage stress by working effectively and efficiency.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    F. Kelly San Francisco, CA 03-11-11
    F. Kelly San Francisco, CA 03-11-11 Member Since 2004
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    "Best in Class"

    I've listened to a number of book in this category. I found this book very satisying. It starts a little slow but the pace from middle to end wass difficult to halt. I savored this great book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer California 06-20-14
    Jennifer California 06-20-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Monkey Mind Account of Mindfulness"

    Who we are and how are is largely shaped by where we focus, where we invest our attention. Although our minds are naturally (and often strongly) drawn to the dangerous and the novel, we have the ability to influence our focus. With or without intentional choice, attending to one aspect of our physical and mental environment causes us to ignore others.

    Rather than making a coherent case for where we should place our attention under what circumstances and providing techniques for controlling that attention, the author provides a journalist’s survey of the scientific work being done in the area. A sprinkling of nineteenth century philosophy provides some context, but we are left with little more than the general idea that attending to the right things will make us happier.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Parkdale, Australia 09-20-12
    Matt Parkdale, Australia 09-20-12 Member Since 2004
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    "Good Content Spoiled By Rapid Reading Speed"

    Essentially this is a very good book, but it's one you really have to work at to absorb. It's not an easy listen by any means. That's because content has a fairly dense, text book-like tone to it.

    If you get it you'll need to sit and listen to it without any distractions. Don't try driving, walking or doing household chores with this one on, or you'll miss out on what she has to say.

    It's a psychology book of sorts - written with the aim of helping us develop better minds and it really is deep and insightful.

    Writing easily digestible prose is clearly not the author's strong point though. She relies on a logical, left-brain, technical type of language throughout. Her words are a bit too big and grown-up for my taste; lots of syllables, and she's not the best at telling engaging stories.

    Nevertheless, as someone seriously interested self improvement I found it well worth my attention. I just wish they'd chosen a different narrator - or at least made a more subtly nuanced recording. It's not that the reader is terrible. It's just that she doesn't manage to bring the words alive. She reads way too fast and she's too far from the microphone to sound intimate and engaging. As such, the words go in one ear and out the other.

    This kind of content calls for far more variation in pitch, pace pausing and more expression to hold attention well. Ironic, as the book is all about attention.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clara Hulburt 06-07-09 Listener Since 2007
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    "Can't pay attention"

    Difficult to follow. Slow to get the point and not very interesting. I would not reccomend this book.

    3 of 10 people found this review helpful
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