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Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life

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Overview

In Rapt, acclaimed behavioral science writer Winifred Gallagher makes the radical argument that much of the quality of your life depends not on fame or fortune, beauty or brains-or what happens to happen to you-but on what you choose to pay attention to. Rapt introduces a diverse cast of characters, from researchers to artists and ranchers, to illustrate the art of living the interested life.

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Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life

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Overview

In Rapt, acclaimed behavioral science writer Winifred Gallagher makes the radical argument that much of the quality of your life depends not on fame or fortune, beauty or brains-or what happens to happen to you-but on what you choose to pay attention to. Rapt introduces a diverse cast of characters, from researchers to artists and ranchers, to illustrate the art of living the interested life.

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Editorial Reviews

Paul Bloom
Gallagher devotes much of this engaging book to reviewing the psychology and neuroscience of attention. A journalist and the author of several books about human psychology…Gallagher blends the science nicely with examples of people whose disciplined attention has contributed to their success
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Gallagher (The Power of Place, Working on God) couples personal ruminations and interviews with experts to explore the role of attention in defining consciousness, identity and the human experience: "who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love-is the sum of what you focus on." From paying attention to your inner dialogue (helping eliminate negative thought patterns) to bucking the myths of multi-tasking (says cognitive scientist David Meyer, "Einstein didn't invent the theory of relativity while multi-tasking at the Swiss patent office"), Gallagher draws practical conclusions from her examination of conscious ("top-down") and unconscious ("bottom-up") attention strategies. Though her claims to "a psychological version of... physicist's 'grand universal theory'" are a bit outsized, Gallagher takes illuminating forays into the evolution of the species and the global diaspora, looking for instance at how "Western individualism" emphasizes top-down focus while the Asian mentality encourages a broader, contextual perspective. A fascinating psycho-social look at human motivation and the power of focus, Gallagher's latest is worth paying attention to.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143116905
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/30/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 411,014
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Winifred Gallagher
Winifred Gallagher’s books include House Thinking, Just the Way You Are (a New York Times Notable Book), Working on God, and The Power of Place. She has written for numerous publications, such as Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times. She lives in Manhattan and Dubois, Wyoming.
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Table of Contents

Introduction Choosing the Focused Life 1

Chapter 1 Pay Attention: Your Life Depends on It 15

Chapter 2 Inside Out: Feelings Frame Focus 29

Chapter 3 Outside In: What You See Is What You Get 43

Chapter 4 Nature: Born to Focus 55

Chapter 5 Nurture: This Is Your Brain on Attention 67

Chapter 6 Relationships: Attending to Different Worlds 81

Chapter 7 Productivity: Work Zone 99

Chapter 8 Decisions: Focusing Illusions 115

Chapter 9 Creativity: An Eye for Detail 133

Chapter 10 Focus Interruptus 145

Chapter 11 Disordered Attention 163

Chapter 12 Motivation: Eyes on the Prize 173

Chapter 13 Health: Energy Goes Where Attention Flows 189

Chapter 14 Meaning: Attending to What Matters Most 203

Afterword 219

Acknowledgments 221

Notes and Suggested Readings 223

Index 235

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Customer Reviews

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