McGill professor of psychology and behavioural neuroscience, Daniel J. Levitin, knows exactly how modern culture seeks to understand life: brain research, studies on evolution and information theory. With that in mind, he has written a science-based self-help manual of sorts, one built on the premise that information has become a key resource yet we struggle not to drown in a flood of it. "The Organized Mind" offers some basic guidelines on how to thrive in such an environment by drawing on recent studies in Levitin's field.
After long-windedly bringing readers up to date on concepts like attention, information, and memory, Levitin uses the test case of dealing with the diagnosis of a potentially life-threatening illness to discuss improve negotiations of our lives and mindsets. He argues that we need to shift our burden of organization from our brains to the external world, including improving our understanding of statistics and refining our ability to critically sift information. Levitin concludes with advice on the values and skills we can teach our children to prepare them for life in information overdrive.
Much of Levitin's analysis informs and engages, especially his discussion of the disadvantages of procrastination and his deconstruction of the myth of multitasking. However, such a long book does not seem to contain enough insight to render it unique.
It shows us how to organize our mental homes but the reader can't help thinking that he/she has perused the same material before. Then again, that could just be symptomatic of information overload.