The Organized Mind – Daniel Levitin

Levitin is a psychologist from the same school of thought as Daniel Kahneman, and it shows in how he explains how best to work around the limitations of the human brain. He understands what it is good at, and where it is weak, despite our misconceptions of what we are capable of.

We live in a world of illusions. We think we’re aware of everything going on around us.

The Organised Mind is quite convincing in describing how to capitalise on the human mind to best effect, by setting up external systems which are natural to interact with – from simple index card reminder systems to examining how the modern corporation externalises decision making from each individual agent – leaving them only to handle what their job specifically entails. All of this is intended to give the reader the framework to chase objectives and the energy to be creative. These frameworks remove a lot of the effort from choosing what to do.

Then there is an exploration of how to do research, how to work out who to trust, and how to make sensible decisions. Levitin gets extra points from me for included an example of Baysian statistics, and an explanation of how misunderstanding this very simple concept leads to poor decision making based on bad information.

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