The Organized Mind – Daniel J Leviten


The strapline – Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload – is key. Here you have a scientific approach, complete with answers, and fully backed up by sources for the science, about memory, organization, and coping with life’s challenges. But this is not a dry, dull, book. It’s entertaining, sometimes funny, and sharply written. It is packed with meaningful material, plenty of food for thought, and tons of fascinating facts and theories. In addition, there are straightforward explanations about why certain things happen in our lives – Where did I put those keys? – with practical tips and potential solutions.

I especially enjoyed the disclosure that in the world of high tech achievers, the humble pen and paper has a prominent role. However, those owning up to such practices were keen to keep it a secret. After all, it’s better for them if we believe these smartphones, tablets, and computers are a universal solution – even if they are not.

And his observations on the effects of email were similarly entertaining. He has a special ability to offer a fresh perspective on the mundane aspects of modern life, highlighting how and why they became mundane, and the advantages and disadvantages.

I bought this on an impulse, and am oh so glad I did. It has made a significant difference to my understanding of many aspects of thinking and memory.

While the overall quality of the book is excellent, even from that high standard there is one chapter that is even better: What to teach our children. Educators the world over should be forced to read this and take on board what Leviten says. It’s powerful, life changing stuff.

I don’t normally post about non-fiction books, as most of my reading of that type is military history, and that does not seem to have a wide appeal. But this book should be given the widest publicity possible. It’s more than a breath of fresh air; it’s a whirlwind of wonder and enlightenment. I highly recommend it.