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Elastic : Flexible Thinking in a Time of Change
by Leonard Mlodinow


Overview - From the best-selling author of Subliminal and The Drunkard's Walk , a groundbreaking new look at the neuroscience of change--and how elastic thinking can help us thrive in a world changing faster than ever before.

With rapid technological innovation leading the charge, today's world is transforming itself at an extraordinary and unprecedented pace.  Read more...


 
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More About Elastic by Leonard Mlodinow
 
 
 
Overview
From the best-selling author of Subliminal and The Drunkard's Walk, a groundbreaking new look at the neuroscience of change--and how elastic thinking can help us thrive in a world changing faster than ever before.

With rapid technological innovation leading the charge, today's world is transforming itself at an extraordinary and unprecedented pace. As jobs become more multifaceted, as information streams multiply, and as myriad devices place increasing demands on our attention, we are confronted every day with a plethora of new challenges. Fortunately, as Leonard Mlodinow shows, the human brain is uniquely engineered to adapt.

Drawing from cutting-edge research in neuroscience and psychology, Mlodinow takes us on a fascinating and illuminating journey through the mechanics of our own minds as we navigate the rapidly shifting landscapes around us. Out of the exploratory instincts that allowed our ancestors to prosper hundreds of thousands of years ago, humans developed a cognitive style that Mlodinow terms elastic thinking, a collection of traits and abilities that include neophilia (an affinity for novelty), schizotypy (a tendency toward unusual perception), imagination and idea generation, pattern recognition, mental fluency, divergent thinking, and integrative thinking. These are the qualities that enabled innovators from Mary Shelley to Miles Davis, from the inventor of jumbo-sized popcorn to the creator of the modern grocery store, and from Nike to Pokemon Go to effect paradigm shifts in our culture and society. And they're the qualities that will enable each of us to succeed, personally and professionally, in the radically changing environments of today.

With his keen acumen and rapid-fire wit, Mlodinow gives us the essential tools to harness the power of elastic thinking in an endlessly dynamic world.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781101870921
  • ISBN-10: 1101870923
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books
  • Publish Date: March 2018
  • Page Count: 272
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Science > Philosophy & Social Aspects
Books > Science > Life Sciences - Neuroscience
Books > Science > Cognitive Science

 
BookPage Reviews

The power of flexible thinking

We live in a time of great change, driven by the exponentially increasing power of computers. In order to thrive in this whirlwind of change, we need to rely on what Leonard Mlodinow calls elastic thinking. But there’s a problem. In his new book, Elastic, Mlodinow writes, “The technological advancement that makes elastic thinking ever more essential also makes it less likely that we’ll engage in it.”

Mlodinow shows us the components of elastic thinking, like embracing eccentricity and novelty, letting go of cognitive filters, practicing mindfulness and even mindlessness. Along the way, Mlodinow provides a primer on the brain’s structures and brain research, showing us how we think and what, exactly, thought even is.

Does this book sound heavy? It’s not. Mlodinow is a lively guide, and his writing on this complicated subject is clear and easy to follow. (He’s also a theoretical physicist who’s written several bestselling science books, collaborated with Stephen Hawking and written for “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”) To illustrate his points, Mlodinow offers a wide range of anecdotes made possible by elastic thinking, such as the illuminating moment that led Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein and the reasons behind the Allies’ success in the World War II Battle of Midway. He also interviews an array of people—not just scientists but also those who, in his view, exemplify some aspect of elastic thinking, people like Judy Blume and Seth MacFarlane.

Elastic thinking is what makes humans human, Mlodinow asserts, and it’s something we’re far better at than computers and artificial intelligence, which is reassuring for us. While Elastic isn’t exactly a self-help book, it does offer quizzes to help readers determine their levels of elastic thought, and each chapter offers exercises and suggestions for building elastic thinking skills.

 

This article was originally published in the April 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews