Rethinking How to Think Better - THINKERS Notebook

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Rethinking How to Think Better

Let's keep things short this week.

Every now and then I listen to a podcast or read an article that is so profound and well articulated, I don't even want to try to summarize it or provide my own context.

I just want to link you to it so you can experience it for yourself, and I can go listen to it again. :-)

This is one of those newsletters.

Whether you prefer audio or a polished transcript, this podcast has you covered. It's an episode of the Ezra Klein Show with guest Annie Murphy Paul, author of The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain.

When you're done with it, you may be left with the same thought I have: what if everything we think we know about how to think better is ... wrong?

A short excerpt from Klein's introduction:

"A lot of this book is about recognizing that we have the intuitive metaphor of our minds, that they’re an analytical machine, a computer of sorts. And we’ve taken this broken metaphor of the mind and then built schools and workplaces and society on top of it, built the built environment on top of it. And the result is that our work and school lives are littered with these productivity paradoxes.

"What so often feels and looks like productivity and efficiency to us are often the very activities and habits that stunt our thinking. And many of the habits and activities that look like leisure, sometimes even look like play, like if you’ve taken a walk in the middle of the day or a nap, those end up unlocking our thinking. If the question is, how can we be the most creative or come up with the most profound productive insights, you need to do that stuff.

"And so if you read it correctly, in my view at least, this is a pretty radical book. It has radical implications not just for how we think about ourselves but for policy, for architecture, for our social lives, for schooling, for the economy. And I’ll say that it has stuck with me quite a bit. It has changed the way I structure a bunch of my days. I’m trying to work with my mind more and against it less."

Make some time for this episode this week. Then perhaps we'll delve into its implications more in next week's newsletter.

This Conversation Will Change How You Think About Thinking (The Ezra Klein Show)