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Elastic
Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Time of Change | Leonard Mlodinow
18 posts | 6 read | 1 to read
From the best-selling author of Subliminal and The Drunkards Walk comes a groundbreaking look at the psychology and neuroscience of change, and at how tapping into elastic thinking will help us thrive in the modern world. Drawing on cutting-edge research, Leonard Mlodinow takes us on an illuminating journey through the mechanics of our minds as we navigate the rapidly changing 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 unique set of talents that include neophilia (an affinity for novelty), schizotypy (a tendency toward unusual perception), imagination and idea generation, and divergent and integrative thinking. These are the qualities that enabled innovators from MaryShelley to Miles Davis, from the inventor of jumbo-sized popcorn to the creators of Pokmon Go, to effect paradigm shifts in our culture and society. In our age of unprecedented technological innovation and social change, it is more important than ever to encourage these abilities and traits. How can we train our brains to be more comfortable when confronting change and more adept at innovation? How do our brains generate new ideas, and how can we nurture that process? Why can diversity and even discord be beneficial to our thought process? With his keen acumen and quick wit, Leonard Mlodinow gives us the essential tools to harness the power of elastic thinking in an endlessly dynamic world.
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Chelseabillups30

But the spirit of the child doesn‘t disappear from our brains; it just becomes more difficult to conjure. The truth is that, within all of us, there exist the neural networks of both a mischievous, imaginative child and a rational self-censoring adult. The filter in the lateral pre-frontal cortex helps decide which of those prevails in any given person.

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Chelseabillups30

Heroes, from Greek myths to Marvel comics, have special powers. So do each of us, and they change as we move through our lives. The beginners mind is the Herculean strength of the young, while expertise and the power to know instinctively what works and doesn‘t work is the spider-sense of the mature.

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Chelseabillups30

“When people say failure is not an option it means they are either lying to themselves or doing something boring. When you try to solve an important problem the world has looked at and failed to solve, failure is an option, and thats okay.”

~Nathan Myhrvold~

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Chelseabillups30
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Didn‘t quite make it as far as I wanted to by the end of National Book Lovers Day yesterday because I‘ve been getting pretty sick due to some chronic illness flare up symptoms that remain unresolved, but it felt good to set the intention to spend a long time reading and actually NOT have the attention span of a squirrel on crack and getting pretty close to the end of this one.
Hoping to marathon it to the finish in daylight hours!!

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Chelseabillups30

And yet, in this rapidly evolving world, that is often what is called for. And so it is one of life‘s ironic truths that, though we love to be right, we are better off if sometimes people tell us we are wrong.

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Chelseabillups30

As we experience the world, we learn useful facts and valuable lessons and we form a point of view. Over time, we add to and adjust that point of view, much as we might add on to or update our house over the years. But just as we‘d hesitate to add a contemporary wing to an old Victorian home, we resist making changes of our worldview if those changes don‘t seem in harmony with what is already there.

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Chelseabillups30
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Was just discussing this recently in regards to hiring people with disabilities!!

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Chelseabillups30

Even if you‘re not consciously open to considering opposing points of view, with a little exposure, they can affect your thinking.

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Chelseabillups30

“…what we know can put a constraint on the possibilities we can imagine.”

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Chelseabillups30

The lesson is that by letting go of our fixed ways, we can accomplish goals we might never thought possible.

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Chelseabillups30

In life, once on a path, we tend to follow it, for better or worse. What‘s sad is that if it‘s the latter, we often accept it anyway—not because we‘re afraid of change, but because by then we‘re so accustomed to the way things are that we don‘t even recognize that they could be different.

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Chelseabillups30

History—and ordinary human life—is full of opportunities missed by not recognizing that change has occurred, and that the previously unthinkable is now doable.

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Chelseabillups30

Sometimes the most powerful revelation one can have is that circumstances have changed. That the rules you are accustomed to no longer apply. That the successful tactics may be tactics that would have been rejected under the old rules. That can be liberating. It can spur you to question your assumptions and help you rise above your fixed paradigms and restructure your thinking.

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Chelseabillups30

The next time you stare out the window, remember, you aren‘t slacking off—you‘re giving your artistic side a chance to do it‘s work. And if you don‘t tend to take such breaks, you might find it beneficial to make room for them.

angieinwonderland I used to get in trouble for all the daydreaming out the window in school. Even craning my neck to see between others when the teacher sat me far away. 4mo
15 likes1 comment
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Chelseabillups30
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I always knew there had to be research and intelligence behind why I‘m always saying that other countries are leaps and bounds ahead of the US!!
So many reasons for our perpetual empathy problem.

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Smartypants
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Mehso-so

I love reading books about how the mind works, how to shift mindset, etc…this book did a good job talking about how having an elastic brain and mindset can be beneficial to individuals.

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charliemarlowe
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Pickpick

My current #audiobook listen— I decided I needed to give the more science-ish books a little break. I‘m enjoying this one well enough, I guess, but it‘s not exactly holding me in as much as Carlo Rovelli or Steve Brusatte did.

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Gina
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Mehso-so

I love the idea of flexible thinking but unfortunately this book was only so-so. The author uses a lot of comparison to human thinking such as with insects and animals which I found confusing. He also used clinical studies which again seemed convoluted as he didn't tie the concept of the book to all this information in a clear way. It did however have a few interesting tid bits that held me till the end.