A not so organized guide to The Organized Mind

I made the drive between Rhode Island and Florida two and a half times now. On the very first trip up, I listened to the Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin. On the most recent drive, I unwittingly borrowed it again from the library, thinking I’ve never read it before. This should be an indication of how much impact this book has.

To be fair, the first part of the book is quite illuminating, with actual neurological and psychological results on how attention works. With this in hand, he gives practical advice on how to structure one’s work and life, with the biggest theme being “export work out of brain and onto physical space.” The book could have ended after part 1, and it would still be a best seller I bet.

But then, the book divulges into an awkward mishmash of applied math and medical advice. In the section discussing Bayes’ rule, I almost felt that he had a personal vendetta against MDs with many anecdotes of “hurr durr, doctor know no math, dumb.” What was the point of this section? I doubt many people know how to perform a literature check on the efficacy of treatment. Later on, while discussing structure of organization (why?),  he seemed to pen in Shannon’s information theory just to say that the number of levels grows logarithmically (again, why bring it up?).

All in all, read the first part. Disregard rest.

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