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jerryking : cognitive_skills   40

Opinion: My declining years – and yours
JULY 5, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by MARGARET WENTE

According to the experts, certain parts of my brain responsible for cognitive function are literally shrinking. My brain’s blood flow is slowing down, just like the rest of me. The inescapable result is lapses in the synapses. I’ve always thought that the worst threat to my vanity was advancing wrinkles. But now I know it’s cognitive slippage.

Perhaps it’s some consolation that my friends are getting dotty, too. Sure, they’re working gamely to keep their brains in tip-top shape. They do word puzzles, or try to learn a language. They take supplements and eat more leafy greens. Good luck to them. So far, nobody has figured out how to turn back the neurological clock.

The more I learn about brain aging, the more obvious it is that the kids really are smarter than we are. “The data are shockingly clear that for most people, in most fields, professional decline starts earlier than almost anyone thinks,” writes Arthur Brooks (no cognitive slouch himself) in a new essay for The Atlantic. He found that most of us reach our mental peak around 20 years after the start of our careers. We do our best work in our 40s and 50s and it’s all downhill from there.

People in different types of work peak at different ages, just as athletes do. Those who rely heavily on fluid intelligence – the ability to reason, think fast and solve problems in unique and novel situations – peak much younger than average. Mr. Brooks says his line of work is a good example. (He has just retired as the head of a well-known U.S. think tank.) “The most profound insights tend to come from those in their 30s and early 40s.”

Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, chess grand masters and nuclear physicists are even more precocious – which means they burn out early. By the time they hit their 30s they’re already in creative decline. By contrast, lawyers, judges and professors draw more on what’s called crystallized intelligence – a stock of knowledge built up over time.They can coast on that knowledge well into their 60s. For most of us, however, cognitive decline begins in middle age.
aging  Arthur_Brooks  cognitive_skills  decline  elderly  elder_wisdom  journalism  Margaret_Wente  mental_dexterity  precociousness  retirement 
july 2019 by jerryking
Redesign My Brain | TVO.org
Redesign My Brain
This three-part Australian series explores the science of neuroplasticity, which has found that with specific training anyone can become smarter, increase their memory capacity, and reverse mental aging. Over the course of three months, host Todd Sampson undertakes a scientifically endorsed training program to turn his ordinary brain into a super-brain. It's a makeover show like no other - one in which the design experts make over the human brain.

Look at fluid intelligence.
cognitive_skills  memorization  metacognition  TVO  smart_people  training_programs 
april 2017 by jerryking
How to Become a ‘Superager’ - The New York Times
Gray Matter
By LISA FELDMAN BARRETT DEC. 31, 2016

make a New Year’s resolution to take up a challenging activity. Learn a foreign language. Take an online college course. Master a musical instrument. Work that brain. Make it a year to remember.

Think about the last time you grappled with a math problem or pushed yourself to your physical limits. Hard work makes you feel bad in the moment. The Marine Corps has a motto that embodies this principle: “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” That is, the discomfort of exertion means you’re building muscle and discipline. Superagers are like Marines: They excel at pushing past the temporary unpleasantness of intense effort. Studies suggest that the result is a more youthful brain that helps maintain a sharper memory and a greater ability to pay attention.
aging  howto  cognitive_skills  USMC  resolutions  discomforts  hard_work  struggles  longevity  pay_attention  arduous 
january 2017 by jerryking
From Michael Lewis, a Portrait of the Men Who Shaped ‘Moneyball’ - The New York Times
By ALEXANDRA ALTERDEC. 3, 2016
Lewis decided to explore how it started.

The inquiry led him to the work of two Israeli psychologists, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, whose discoveries challenged long-held beliefs about human nature and the way the mind works.

Mr. Lewis chronicles their unusual partnership in his new book, “The Undoing Project,” a story about two unconventional thinkers who saw the world differently from everyone around them. Their peculiar area of research — how humans make decisions, often irrationally — has had profound implications for an array of fields, like professional sports, the military, medicine, politics, finance and public health.....Tversky and Kahneman's research demonstrating how people behave in fundamentally irrational ways when making decisions, relying on their gut rather than available data, gave rise to the field of behavioral economics. That discipline attracted Paul DePodesta, a Harvard student, who later went into sports management and helped upend professional baseball when he went to work for Mr. Beane.....Unlike many nonfiction writers, Mr. Lewis declines to take advances, which he calls “corrupting,” even though he could easily earn seven figures. Instead, he splits the profits from the books, as well as the advertising and production costs, with Norton. The setup spurs him to work harder and to make more money if the books are successful, he says.

“You should have the risk and you should enjoy the reward,” he said. “It’s not healthy for an author not to have the risk.”
Amos_Tversky  Michael_Lewis  Moneyball  books  book_reviews  unconventional_thinking  biases  cognitive_skills  unknowns  information_gaps  humility  pretense_of_knowledge  overconfidence  conventional_wisdom  overestimation  metacognition  behavioural_economics  irrationality  decision_making  nonfiction  writers  self-awareness  self-analysis  self-reflective  proclivities  Daniel_Kahneman  psychologists  delusions  self-delusions  skin_in_the_game  gut_feelings  risk-taking  partnerships 
december 2016 by jerryking
The Problem With Slow Motion - The New York Times
By EUGENE M. CARUSO, ZACHARY C. BURNS and BENJAMIN A. CONVERSE AUG. 5, 2016
cognitive_skills  biases 
august 2016 by jerryking
What a 94-year-old track star can teach us about aging - The Globe and Mail
BRUCE GRIERSON
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Jan. 11 2014

four tips for staying mentally sharp:

Play games

The brain isn’t a muscle, but it works like one in its use-it-or-lose-it dimension. Our brains are way more plastic than we used to think, and a challenged brain can grow new neural connections quite deep into old age. Olga is crazy for Sudoku, the Japanese number game, and she does the hard ones. In pen.

Learn another language

Olga’s Ukranian is a little rusty but it’s there – so she discovered when global interest in her grew and Ukrainian news teams came knocking. A 2013 study by the Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India – the largest of its kind to date – found that having a second language delays the onset of dementia by around four-and-a-half years, on average.

Make a mistake, then take notes

To speed up learning, of any skill or subject, we need immediate and specific feedback on our performance. Champion chess and backgammon players promptly review the game they just lost, just as top students promptly review and correct errors. Olga actually happens to have a gene linked to learning from your mistakes. But it’s likely her habits, more than her genes, that are driving the bus here. Very little she does escapes her own immediate and systematic appraisal. In her bowling league, for example, “When I get a strike, I take note of where I was standing and how hard did I throw it,” she says, “and then try to duplicate those conditions.”

Exercise

Better even than mental activity is exercise combined with it. Exercise comprehensively it beats back cognitive decline as we age. Exercise grows the hippocampus, the brain region associated with making and consolidating memories; it’s what you want to lean on when you start misplacing your glasses, or worse.
aging  howto  cognitive_skills  decline  error_correction  human_errors  journaling  lessons_learned  mistakes  postmortems  systematic_approaches 
september 2014 by jerryking
The Mental Virtues - NYTimes.com
AUG. 28, 2014| NYT | David Brooks.

Thinking well under a barrage of information may be a different sort of moral challenge than fighting well under a hail of bullets, but it’s a character challenge nonetheless. In their 2007 book, “Intellectual Virtues,” Robert C. Roberts of Baylor University and W. Jay Wood of Wheaton College list some of the cerebral virtues. We can all grade ourselves on how good we are at each of them.

First, there is love of learning.
Second, there is courage. Not just the willingness to hold unpopular views. But the subtler form, which is knowing how much risk to take in jumping to conclusions. Reckless thinkers take scraps of information and leaps to some faraway conspiracy theories. Perfectionists are silenced, except under ideal conditions, for fear of being wrong. Intellectual courage is self-regulation--knowing when to be daring and when to be cautious. And guarding against confirmation bias.

Third, there is firmness. Don’t be the person who surrenders his beliefs at the slightest whiff of opposition. On the other hand, you don’t want to hold dogmatically to a belief against all evidence. The median point between flaccidity and rigidity is the virtue of firmness.

Fourth, there is humility, which is not letting your own desire for status get in the way of accuracy. Fight against vanity and self-importance.

Fifth, there is autonomy. Don’t be a person who slavishly adopts whatever opinion your teacher or some author gives you. On the other hand, don’t reject all guidance from people who know what they are talking about. Autonomy is the median of knowing when to bow to authority and when not to, when to follow a role model and when not to, when to adhere to tradition and when not to.[In this case, autonomy sounds a lot like judgment]

Finally, there is generosity. This virtue starts with the willingness to share knowledge and give others credit. But it also means hearing others as they would like to be heard, looking for what each person has to teach and not looking to triumphantly pounce upon their errors.
David_Brooks  thinking  howto  cognitive_skills  biases  virtues  humility  intellectual_courage  courage  autonomy  resolve  generosity  praise  grace  firmness  confirmation_bias  self-regulation  recklessness  cerebral  perfection  independent_viewpoints  discernment  self-importance  pairs 
august 2014 by jerryking
Your brain has limited capacity: Here's how to maximize it
Aug. 24 2014 | - The Globe and Mail | WENCY LEUNG.

Daniel Levitin explains in his new book, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, the evolution of the human brain hasn’t caught up with the demands of today’s world....The brain has a limited capacity to process information and juggle multiple tasks. But Levitin, a professor of psychology and behavioural neuroscience at McGill University, says we can help the brain do its job more efficiently by organizing our lives around how it functions. By using so-called brain extenders, methods that offload some of the brain’s functions, we can help declutter our thoughts and sharpen memories....Lessons learned:
(1) Evaluate the probabilities. To better systematize your approach to decision-making, use Bayesian inferencing which involves updating one’s estimates of probabilities, based on increasingly refining the information available.
(2) Take the time to write it down. Writing stuff down, improves the chances of it getting imprinted on your brain. Writing things down also conserves mental energy that you would otherwise expend fretting about forgetting them. Don’t settle for organizing your thoughts with notebooks and to-do lists. Levitin suggests writing them on index cards--which can be re-sorted.
(3) Your friendships could use a reminder. Actively organizing data about your social world to allow you to have more meaningful interactions. This means taking notes when you meet new people that help you contextualize your link to them, such as who made the introduction and whether you share any hobbies, and using memory “ticklers,” such as setting a reminder on your electronic calendar every few months to check in with friends if you haven’t heard from them in a while.
(4) When in doubt, toss it in a junk drawer. There is an important purpose for the junk drawer. It allows you to cut down on time and mental energy spent making trivial decisions.
cognitive_skills  thinking  information_overload  decision_making  books  friendships  decluttering  contextual  probabilities  journaling  Daniel_Levitin  sorting  pruning  note_taking  Bayesian  memorization  systematic_approaches  organizing_data 
august 2014 by jerryking
Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt teach us how to think like a freak - The Globe and Mail
IVOR TOSSELL
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 23 2014

In a collection of stories that read like modern parables, Mr. Dubner and Mr. Levitt try to teach their approach to problem-solving to the rest of us, with tactics that range from “thinking like a child” to devising incentives for miscreants to reveal themselves....they want to deputize the entire world to think differently about the world's problems differently... there’s a growing body of research that suggests the human mind does a lot of things incredibly well between the ages of late childhood and late adolescence.

I asked these kids, what if I told you that your brain right now, at 13, is almost at its peak power, and that you have another 12 or 15 years where it’s just gonna be kicking ass, and then it’s going to start to diminish. Once you start to think about that, what would you use your brain to do now, knowing that it’s a perishable resource?

That for me was a takeaway I got from the book. I really want to encourage my kids to understand that their brains are not the premature versions of the adult brains. Their brains are the optimal brain. When we say, “think like a child,” if you’re over 25 or 30, that’s the best we can do.
economists  book_reviews  incentives  freakonomics  economics  takeaways  books  thinking  howto  children  cognitive_skills  problem_solving  conventional_wisdom  metacognition  think_differently 
may 2014 by jerryking
How to Get a Job at Google, Part 2 - NYTimes.com
APRIL 19, 2014 | NYT| Thomas L. Friedman.

(1) “The first and most important thing is to be explicit and willful in making the decisions about what you want to get out of this investment in your education.”
(2) make sure that you’re getting out of it not only a broadening of your knowledge but skills that will be valued in today’s workplace. Your college degree is not a proxy anymore for having the skills or traits to do any job.

What are those traits? One is grit, he said. Shuffling through résumés of some of Google’s 100 hires that week, Bock explained: “I was on campus speaking to a student who was a computer science and math double major, who was thinking of shifting to an economics major because the computer science courses were too difficult. I told that student they are much better off being a B student in computer science than an A+ student in English because it signals a rigor in your thinking and a more challenging course load. That student will be one of our interns this summer.”

“What you want to do is say: ‘Here’s the attribute I’m going to demonstrate; here’s the story demonstrating it; here’s how that story demonstrated that attribute.’ ” And here is how it can create value. (Apply this also to cover letters).
howto  job_search  Google  Tom_Friedman  Lazlo_Bock  attributes  cognitive_skills  creativity  liberal_arts  résumés  new_graduates  coverletters  hiring  Managing_Your_Career  talent  grit  interviews  interview_preparation  value_creation  Jason_Isaacs  Asha_Isaacs  Jazmin_Isaacs 
april 2014 by jerryking
Art Makes You Smart - NYTimes.com
November 23, 2013 | NYT | By BRIAN KISIDA, JAY P. GREENE and DANIEL H. BOWEN.

FOR many education advocates, the arts are a panacea: They supposedly increase test scores, generate social responsibility and turn around failing schools. Most of the supporting evidence, though, does little more than establish correlations between exposure to the arts and certain outcomes. Research that demonstrates a causal relationship has been virtually nonexistent.... we can conclude that visiting an art museum exposes students to a diversity of ideas that challenge them with different perspectives on the human condition. Expanding access to art, whether through programs in schools or through visits to area museums and galleries, should be a central part of any school’s curriculum.
art  correlations  museums  students  education  evidence  cognitive_skills  creative_renewal  value_propositions  the_human_condition 
november 2013 by jerryking
Overcoming Your Negativity Bias - NYTimes.com
June 14, 2013, 12:44 pm Comment
Overcoming Your Negativity Bias
By TONY SCHWARTZ
Negative thoughts destroy one's concentration....write down everything you feel grateful for in that moment. you'll feel remarkably better, but also far more able to concentrate on the task at hand. .. If you’re a manager or a leader, you carry an extra responsibility. By virtue of your authority, your emotions are disproportionately influential. When you’re feeling worried, frustrated or angry, the people around you are going to pick it up – not least because they’ll be wondering whether they’re the cause. Is there someone on your team who is especially triggering you lately? Take a moment to think about the quality you most appreciate in that person – to remember what it was that drew you to that person in the first place.

Here’s the paradox: The more you’re able to move your attention to what makes you feel good, the more capacity you’ll have to manage whatever was making you feel bad in the first place. Emotions are contagious, for better or worse. It’s your choice.
cognitive_skills  biases  howto  self-criticism  gratitude  emotional_mastery  affirmations  self-defeating  self-doubt  negativity_bias  positive_thinking  pessimism 
june 2013 by jerryking
The Brains of the Animal Kingdom - WSJ.com
March 22, 2013, 7:15 p.m. ET

The Brains of the Animal Kingdom
New research shows that we have grossly underestimated both the scope and the scale of animal intelligence. Primatologist Frans de Waal on memory-champ chimps, tool-using elephants and rats capable of empathy.

Article
Comments (101)

more in Life & Culture »

By FRANS DE WAAL
cognitive_skills  primates  human_intelligence  IQ  animals 
march 2013 by jerryking
Beau Lotto: Optical Illusions Show How We See
: How Our Minds Shape Perception
Beau Lotto
Beau Lotto Become a fan
cognitive_skills 
november 2012 by jerryking
Rethinking Sleep - NYTimes.com
By DAVID K. RANDALL
Published: September 22, 2012
sleepiness  cognitive_skills  rethinking 
september 2012 by jerryking
A Diet Rich in Fish May Help the Aging Brain - WSJ.com
FEBRUARY 28, 2012 | WSJ | By JENNIFER CORBETT DOOREN.
A Diet Rich in Fish May Help the Aging Brain
In a Study, People With Low Levels of Omega-3s Had Smaller Brains and Scored Lower on Memory Tests
fish  aging  cognitive_skills  diets  longevity 
february 2012 by jerryking
The Recency Bias and How it Fools our Money Brains - NYTimes.com
February 13, 2012, 12:23 pm
Tomorrow’s Market Probably Won’t Look Anything Like Today
By CARL RICHARDS
cognitive_skills  biases  financial_planning  recency_bias 
february 2012 by jerryking
Sorry, Strivers - Talent Matters - NYTimes.com
By DAVID Z. HAMBRICK and ELIZABETH J. MEINZ
Published: November 19, 2011

Research has shown that intellectual ability matters for success in many fields — and not just up to a point.
talent  Malcolm_Gladwell  IQ  cognitive_skills  strivers 
november 2011 by jerryking
You probably think you know all about self-delusion
Oct. 27, 2011 | G&M | Tralee Pearce.

David McRaney new book, You Are Not So Smart, is a romp through some of the major findings in the field of psychology aimed at pointing out the self-delusions most of us harbour but aren’t humble enough to notice....the granddaddy of self-delusions?

Confirmation bias holds everything together. Thinking your opinions are the result of objective analysis, when they’re not. It flavours our unbreakable belief that our behaviour follows from attitude, when actually our attitudes follow from our behaviours. We like to make up stories. But we’re unreliable narrators.
psychology  delusions  books  cognitive_skills  confirmation_bias  self-delusions  self-criticism  biases  behaviours  psychologists 
october 2011 by jerryking
Why Canada needs a national strategy on dementia
September 18, 2010 | The Globe and Mail | by André Picard.
"Canada's health and welfare systems are woefully unprepared for a
coming crisis. The Alzheimer Society is pleading for a national action
plan, as it has repeatedly in its 32 years of existence. Yet the federal
government refuses to invest in a strategy for dementia to match those
already in place for cancer, heart disease and mental health. The Health
Minister is refusing even to meet a new independent group of leading
researchers in the field.

So, today and next week, The Globe and Mail's journalists do what the
government would not: They consult experts, from renowned scientists to
the members of dementia victims' families, gathering facts and recording
personal experiences with the devastating disease. They also present a
seven-point plan to grapple with the coming crisis. It is only a
starting point, but if we don't begin the quest for desperately needed
solutions, more and more of us will slip away."
André_Picard  cognitive_skills  mental_health  crisis  dementia  Alzheimer’s_disease  unprepared  action_plans  national_strategies 
september 2010 by jerryking
Unboxed - Yes, People Still Read, but Now It’s Social - NYTimes.com
June 18, 2010 | New York Times | By STEVEN JOHNSON, Nicholas
Carr's new book, “The Shallows,” argues that the compulsive skimming,
linking and multitasking of our screen reading is undermining the deep,
immersive focus that has defined book culture for centuries.
Distractions come with a heavy cost--studies show how multitasking harms
our concentration. But we must also measure what we gain from
multitasking....The problem with Mr. Carr’s model is its unquestioned
reverence for the slow contemplation of deep reading. For society to
advance as it has since Gutenberg, he argues, we need the quiet,
solitary space of the book. Yet many great ideas that have advanced
culture over the past centuries have emerged from a more connective
space, in the collision of different worldviews and sensibilities,
different metaphors and fields of expertise. (Gutenberg himself borrowed
his printing press from the screw presses of Rhineland vintners, as Mr.
Carr notes.)
cognitive_skills  collective_intelligence  collective_wisdom  Communicating_&_Connecting  connected_learning  contemplation  cross-disciplinary  deep_learning  discernment  distractions  focus  Johan_Gutenberg  Kindle  metaphors  multitasking  monotasking  Nicholas_Carr  reading  solitude  Steven_Johnson  sustained_inquiry  thinking  thinking_deliberatively  worldviews 
june 2010 by jerryking
Does the Internet Make You Dumber? - WSJ.com
JUNE 5, 2010 | WSJ | NICHOLAS CARR. The cognitive effects are
measurable: We're turning into shallow thinkers, says Nicholas Carr.
Nicholas_Carr  information_overload  cognitive_skills  internet  mental_maps 
june 2010 by jerryking
Op-Ed Columnist - Drilling for Certainty - NYTimes.com
May 27, 2010 | NYT | By DAVID BROOKS. "...the real issue has
to do with risk assessment. It has to do with the bloody crossroads where complex technical systems meet human psychology...we’ve come to depend on an ever-expanding array of intricate hi-tech systems. These h/w & s/w sys. are the guts of financial markets, energy exploration, space exploration, air travel, defense programs and modern production plants. These sys. which allow us to live as well as we do, are too complex for any single person to understand. (1) people can't
imagine how small failings can compound into catastrophic disasters. (2) people acclimate to risk (3) overconfidence in backup sys. and safety devices. (4) people match complicated technical sys. with complicated governing structures. (5) people tend to spread good news and hide bad news.(6) people in the same field suffer groupthink...Overlooks incentives that distort choices.
David_Brooks  oil_spills  complexity  risk-assessment  cognitive_skills  biases  Malcolm_Gladwell  certainty  overconfidence  psychology  incentives  catastrophes  groupthink  compounded  financial_markets  energy_exploration  space_exploration  air_travel  multiplicative  risk-perception  optimism_bias  risk-acclimatization  Richard_Feynman  cumulative  bad_news 
may 2010 by jerryking
Author Nicholas Carr: The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains
May 24, 2010 | Wired magazine | By Nicholas Carr. Adapted
from The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. "There’s
nothing wrong with absorbing information quickly and in bits and pieces.
We’ve always skimmed newspapers more than we’ve read them, and we
routinely run our eyes over books and magazines to get the gist of a
piece of writing and decide whether it warrants more thorough reading.
The ability to scan and browse is as important as the ability to read
deeply and think attentively. The problem is that skimming is becoming
our dominant mode of thought. Once a means to an end, a way to identify
information for further study, it’s becoming an end in itself—our
preferred method of both learning and analysis. Dazzled by the Net’s
treasures, we are blind to the damage we may be doing to our
intellectual lives and even our culture."
Nicholas_Carr  information_overload  brain_imaging  cognitive_skills  focus  thinking_deliberatively  skimming  squirrel-like_behaviour 
may 2010 by jerryking
Op-Ed Columnist - The Humble Hound - NYTimes.com
April 8, 2010 | NYT | By DAVID BROOKS. Research suggests that
extremely self-confident leaders--the boardroom lion model of
leadership--can also be risky. Charismatic C.E.O.’s often produce
volatile company performances--swinging for the home run and sometimes
end up striking out. They make more daring acquisitions, shift into new
fields and abruptly change strategies. Jim Collins, author of “Good to
Great” and “How the Mighty Fall,” celebrates a different sort of leader.
Reliably successful leaders who combine “extreme personal humility with
intense professional will”--a humble hound model of leadership.
Characteristics: focuses on metacognition — thinking about thinking —
and building external scaffolding devices to compensate for weaknesses;
spends more time seeing than analyzing; construct thinking teams; avoids
the seduction (the belief) that one magic move will change everything;
the faith in perpetual restructuring; the tendency to replace questions
with statements at meetings.
David_Brooks  Peter_Drucker  leadership  single_action_bias  CEOs  self-confidence  leaders  charisma  thinking  humility  Jim_Collins  cognitive_skills  self-awareness  metacognition  proclivities  weaknesses  wishful_thinking  willpower 
april 2010 by jerryking
The Age of External Knowledge - Idea of the Day Blog
January 19, 2010 | NYTimes.com.

Today’s idea: Filtering, not remembering, is the most important mental skill in the digital age, an essay says [JCK: filtering =discernment]. But this discipline will prove no mean feat, since mental focus must take place amid the unlimited distractions of the Internet.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Now, anyone with good critical thinking skills and the ability to focus on the important information can retrieve it on demand from the Internet, rather than her own memory.[JCK: commoditization_of_information]
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Edge, the high-minded ideas and tech site, has posed its annual question for 2010 — “How is the Internet changing the way you think?”

David Dalrymple, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, thinks human memory will no longer be the key repository of knowledge, and focus will supersede erudition. Quote:...... The bottom line is that how well an employee can focus might now be more important than how knowledgeable he is. Knowledge was once an internal property of a person, and focus on the task at hand could be imposed externally, but with the Internet, knowledge can be supplied externally, but focus must be forced internally.
cognitive_skills  commoditization_of_information  critical_thinking  discernment  distractions  external_knowledge  filtering  focus  ideas  inner-directed  tools 
january 2010 by jerryking
"The Hidden River of Knowledge"
May 21, 2007 | New York Times | Commencement address by David Brooks.

In short, things are about to change big time. And one of my messages today is that you know that uncertainty you feel today? It never goes away. The question is, do you know how to make uncertainty your friend?....here's one other thing I've noticed that separates the really great people from the merely famous ones. They talk to dead people.

Merely famous people have pictures of themselves on the wall. Really great people have pictures of dead people on the wall, and on their desks. It's one of the first things I look for when I go into somebody's office...And they talk about these dead people....
The dead were alive to them, and looking over their shoulder....The Greeks used to say we suffer our way to wisdom...Success is not something that we do or that happens to us. Success is something that happens through us....We inherit, starting even before we are born, a great river of knowledge, a great flow from many ages and many sources. The information that comes from millions of years ago, we call brain chemistry. The information that comes from hundreds of thousands of years ago from our hunter and gatherer ancestors we call genes. The information that was handed down thousands of years ago we call religion. The information passed along hundreds of years ago we call culture. The information passed along from decades ago we call family. The information you absorbed over the past few years at Wake Forest we call education....We exist as creatures within this hidden river of knowledge the way a trout exists in a stream or a river. We are formed by the river. It is the medium in which we live and the guide about how to live.

The great people I've seen talking to the dead do so because they want to connect with the highest and most inspiring parts of the river. When people make mistakes, often it is not because they are evil. It's because they don't have an ideal to live up to.

These great people also talk to the dead because they want a voice from outside their selves....the best people I've met don't feel that smart or that special. They have powerful jobs, but they don't feel powerful. They don't feel like architects building these great projects from scratch. They feel instead like river boat captains negotiating the currents around them.

They want to step outside their egotism and understand the river of events. They want to feel how people in the past have negotiated its channels. They want other voices in their heads so they can possess the ultimate power, which is the power of facing unpleasant truths.

Finally, I think they talk to the dead because they want to widen their time horizons....Think hard about who you marry. It's the most important decision you will ever make. Devote yourself to your kids. Nothing else is guaranteed to make you happy. The only thing I'd add is, create a posse of dead people. Create an entourage of heroes. Put their pictures on your wall, and keep them in your mind.

They will remind you of your place in the hidden river of wisdom. They'll serve as models. They'll give you an honest perspective on how you're doing. They'll remind you that your blessings don't come from you but from those who came before you.
advice  affirmations  ancestry  blog  brain_chemistry  career  cognitive_skills  commencement  culture  cultural_transmission  David_Brooks  education  family  genes  Greek  hidden  happiness  heroes  humility  hunter-gatherers  ideas  inspiration  Managing_Your_Career  marriage  perspectives  role_models  sense_of_proportion  speeches  success  suffering  the_counsel_of_the_dead  time_horizons  transcendental  uncertainty  Wake_Forest  wide-framing  wisdom 
november 2009 by jerryking
Brave New Brain
MAY 7, 2007| Business Week| Book reviews by Catherine Arnst

FIVE MINDS FOR THE FUTURE
By Howard Gardner
Harvard Business School Press -- 196pp -- $24.95

TRAIN YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR BRAIN
How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential To Transform Ourselves
By Sharon Begley
Ballantine Books -- 283pp -- $24.95

How can we remodel our brains into the organs most likely to be valued in the brave new world?
book_reviews  human_brains  human_intelligence  cognitive_skills  books  Sharon_Begley 
april 2009 by jerryking
Scattered pictures, of the names we left behind
Sep 12, 2007 on pg. C.2 . The Globe and Mail. Toronto, Ont.: by
Harvey Schachter offering a book review of two books aimed at improving
one's memory.
(1) 30 DAYS TO A MORE POWERFUL MEMORY By Gini Graham Scott Amacom, 276
pages, $18.95
(2) HOW TO REMEMBER ANYTHING By Dean Vaughan St. Martin's Griffin, 242
pages, $16.95
tips  Harvey_Schachter  book_reviews  memorization  cognitive_skills 
march 2009 by jerryking

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