27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 How Social Media Annexes Your Cognitive Landscape

In my 2016 book, Deep Work, I proposed a strictly binary approach to social media: you should perform an honest cost/benefit analysis on the social media platforms in your life, and quit all services that don’t provide substantially more benefits than costs with respect to things you truly value. The issue with this idea, as I discovered, is that many people could identify a small number of important benefits provided to them by particular social media platforms that couldn’t be easily r...
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 Having Kids Makes One Cognizant of the Brevity of Life

Having kids showed me how to convert a continuous quantity, time, into discrete quantities. You only get 52 weekends with your 2 year old. If Christmas-as-magic lasts from say ages 3 to 10, you only get to watch your child experience it 8 times. And while it's impossible to say what is a lot or a little of a continuous quantity like time, 8 is not a lot of something. If you had a handful of 8 peanuts, or a shelf of 8 books to choose from, the quantity would definitely seem limited, no matter ...
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08 JAN 2018 by ideonexus

 Focus on Producing Information, Not Consuming

The production of information is critical to a healthy information diet. It's the thing that makes it so that your information consumption has purpose. I cannot think of more important advice to give anyone: start your day with a producer mindset, not a consumer mindset. If you begin your day checking the news, checking your email, and checking your notifications, you've launched yourself into a day of grazing a mindless consumption. [...] But there's something else that being a producer do...
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08 JAN 2018 by ideonexus

 Negative Attention is Better Than No Attention at All

To give and receive attention is a fundamental human need. In the 13th century, King Frederick II of Sicily wanted to find out what language children would naturally grow up to speak if they were never spoken to. He took babies from their mothers at birth and placed them in the care of nurses who were strictly forbidden to either speak to or touch them. The babies, as it turned out, didn’t grow up to speak any language, as they all died of attention deprivation within a fortnight of the sta...
Folksonomies: parenting attention focus
Folksonomies: parenting attention focus
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08 JAN 2018 by ideonexus

 Our Life is What We Pay Attention To

When our attention is lured, herded, and commandeered in such a way, our full human potential is profoundly subverted. “Our life experience,” William James once said, “will equal what we have paid attention to, whether by choice or default.” We become what we attend to — nothing more, nothing less. A steady and exclusive stream of reality TV, entertainment gossip, social media chatter, and “breaking news” about the latest celebrity scandal or Trump’s most recent tweets — all...
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13 DEC 2017 by ideonexus

 Children's Attention Spans are Short, and Education Deman...

The 2016 paper, “Off-task behavior in elementary school children,” was published in the peer-reviewed journal Learning and Instruction, and was funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, an arm of the Department of Education. The researchers also kept track of how the teachers were instructing students during these observations. Not surprisingly, students went off task more frequently during whole-group instruction than during small group or individual work. Length of lesson matters...
Folksonomies: education attention focus
Folksonomies: education attention focus
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21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 The Attention Arms Race

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google have produced amazing products that have benefited the world enormously. But these companies are also caught in a zero-sum race for our finite attention, which they need to make money. Constantly forced to outperform their competitors, they must use increasingly persuasive techniques to keep us glued. They point AI-driven news feeds, content, and notifications at our minds, continually learning how to hook us more deeply—from our own behavior. Unfortuna...
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21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 The Spotlight, Starlight, and Daylight of Attention

irst, the “spotlight” of attention is how cognitive scientists tend to talk about perceptual attention. The things that are task-salient in my environment. How I select and interact with those, basically. Second, the “starlight.” If the spotlight is about doing things, the starlight is who I want to be, not just what I want to do. It’s like those goals that are valuable for their own sake, not because they’re instrumental toward some other goal. Also, over time, how we keep movin...
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25 OCT 2017 by ideonexus

 When Information is Cheap, Attention Becomes Expensive

Negative reviews are fun to write and fun to read, but the world doesn’t need them, since the average work of literary fiction is, in Laura Miller’s words, “invisible to the average reader.” It appears and vanishes from the scene largely unnoticed and unremarked. “Even the novelists you may think of as ‘hyped’ are in fact relatively obscure,” writes Miller. “I’ve got a battalion of perfectly intelligent cousins who have never heard of either Jonathan Franzen or Dave Eggers...
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25 OCT 2017 by ideonexus

 CREW Method of Curation

CREW stands for Continuous Review Evaluation and Weeding, and the manual uses “crew” as a transitive verb, so one can talk about a library’s “crewing” its collection. It means weeding but doesn’t sound so harsh. At the heart of the CREW method is a formula consisting of three factors—the number of years since the last copyright, the number of years since the book was last checked out, and a collection of six negative factors given the acronym MUSTIE, to help decide if a book has...
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