BookshelfJacob deGroot-Maggetti

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload – Daniel Levitin

Thoughts: The biggest idea in The Organized Mind is that people can become happier, healthier and more productive by finding ways to “shift the burden of organizing from our brains to the external world,” and after reading Levitin repeat this thesis several times, I was left confused at some of the topics he chose to discuss. Some chapters of the book directly addressed this main idea; other sections—long descriptions of heuristics, biases and fallacies and their bearing on social judgements, or a crash course in statistical thinking for making medical decisions—, while interesting and relevant to the larger goal of “thinking straight in the age of information overload”, seemed out of place. I was also a bit confused as to the book’s target audience: some passages seemed to be pitched at seniors, while another chapter was mostly relevant for managers or executives in large companies. In all, while it contains many useful ideas, I found The Organized Mind to be ironically scattered.

(The notes below are not a summary of the book, but rather raw notes - whatever I thought, at the time, might be worth remembering. I read this as an e-book, so page numbers are as they appeared in the app I used, Libby.)

Levitin, Daniel. 2014. The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload. Allen Lane.

Introduction: Information and Conscientious Organization

Part One

Chapter 1 - Too Much Information, Too Many Decisions: The Inside History of Cognitive Overload

Chapter 2 - The First Things to Get Straight: How Attention and Memory Work

Part Two

Chapter 3 - Organizing Our Homes: Where Things Can Start to Get Better

4 - Organizing Our Social World: How Humans Connect Now

5 - Organizing Our Time: What Is the Mystery?

6: Organizing Information for the Hardest Decisions: When Life Is on the Line

7: Organizing the Business World: How We Create Value

Part Three

8 - What to Teach our Children: The Future of the Organized Mind

9 - Everything Else: The Power of the Junk Drawer

Posted: Nov 19, 2021. Last updated: Nov 19, 2021.