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

Overview - The best-selling author of Subliminal and The Drunkard's Walk teaches you how to tap into the hidden power of your brain.

" Elastic is a book that will help you survive the whirlwind."
--Daniel H.

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More About Elastic by Leonard Mlodinow
The best-selling author of Subliminal and The Drunkard's Walk teaches you how to tap into the hidden power of your brain.

"Elastic is a book that will help you survive the whirlwind."
--Daniel H. Pink, author of When and A Whole New Mind

Named to the 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards Longlist

In this startling and provocative look at how the human mind deals with change, Leonard Mlodinow shows us to unleash the natural abilities we all possess so we can thrive in dynamic and troubled times. Truly original minds capitalize when everyone else struggles. And most of us assume that these abilities are innate, reserved for a select few. But Mlodinow reveals that we all possess them, that we all have encoded in our brains a skill he terms elastic thinking--and he guides us in how to harness it.

Drawing on groundbreaking research, Mlodinow outlines how we can learn to let go of comfortable ideas and become accustomed to ambiguity and contradiction; how we can rise above conventional mindsets and reframe the questions we ask; and how we can improve our ability to solve problems and generate new ideas--critical skills for achieving professional and personal success in our quickly morphing world.

  • 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.

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