The Organized Mind

Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

Organized mind book cover
My takes as of chapter 10 -11/16/22

There are many elements of awesome in this book. Ways to keep stuff straight in your head by getting those items out of your head. In a get shit done work style the author offers this ingenious example of the 3×5 index card system that you can find on the web…. but simple things in your head get out on to the card stop basing around in your head. Here’s an example from the internet. This is one of many but I started a modified version of this.

Another concept in the book that is hugely valuable is understanding your own locus of control a concept detailed in the book and cited on this wikipedia entry.

Finally I am not finished this book but it covers biases the brain has which I have consumed numerous books on the topic. The gamblers fallacy is excellent as it relates to the external locus of control some have in that they assume external things have control over events not themselves. Where internal locus of control folks have more sense of control over events and fall prey less often to are not not influenced as much by external events. ie. Red hasn’t come up recently so red is ‘due’.

Information Theory

Conceptually the way we capture and store information. Found here for a deeper dive. Essentially the 5 slide rule I created is based in part of a couple of books around the concepts developed in information theory. Like your brain and attention systems (ears, eyes, sensory systems) have limited capacity over time. Thus attention spans. How humans capture store information is valuable when designing systems and interfaces, if a car dashboard has to many random bits of information the the brain can not manage down to heuristics the entropy of high numbers of ‘variables’ distraction or just information overloads the brains circuits cause there is simply to many variables.

Commanders intent and delegation.
Bonus book leaders eat last

The power of delegation and how decisions and made, the book describes the Commanders Intent in the army that is the solider in the field acts with an amount of autonomy in carrying out orders. It is codified throughout all military and many businesss that at a certain set of levels of authority the commander sets the mission and the lieutenants create the objectives to achieve the mission, battalion chiefs break down objectives into components that are then passed down to executional leaders to execute each objective with operational autonomy. The only time a commander is involved in some level of that decisioning is when there are two bad choices and they need a dimensional point of view.

Publisher’s Summary

New York Times best-selling author and neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin shifts his keen insights from your brain on music to your brain in a sea of details. 

The information age is drowning us with an unprecedented deluge of data. At the same time, we’re expected to make more – and faster – decisions about our lives than ever before. No wonder, then, that the average American reports frequently losing car keys or reading glasses, missing appointments, and feeling worn out by the effort required just to keep up. 

But somehow some people become quite accomplished at managing information flow. In The Organized Mind, Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, uses the latest brain science to demonstrate how those people excel – and how listeners can use their methods to regain a sense of mastery over the way they organize their homes, workplaces, and time. 

With lively, entertaining chapters on everything from the kitchen junk drawer to health care to executive office workflow, Levitin reveals how new research into the cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory can be applied to the challenges of our daily lives. This Is Your Brain on Music showed how to better play and appreciate music through an understanding of how the brain works. The Organized Mind shows how to navigate the churning flood of information in the 21st century with the same neuroscientific perspective.

©2014 Daniel J. Levitan (P)2014 Penguin Audio