Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"The New is More Trivial Than Essential"

While decluttering paperwork I found a book review torn from The Wall Street Journal on 12/15/08. I meant to blog it but never did.

The book is "The Overflowing Brain" by Torkel Klingberg and the book review was written by Christopher F. Chabris.

I wanted to read the book but it never made the list of things to spend my time on. Too many interesting things to read and do and too little time...

Today, instead of tossing this into the recycle bin I decided to share this one paragraph with you as I loved it then and I still agree with it now. If you don't know what the book is about it is about all the things in our modern lives competing for our attention, including the Internet, email, blogs, and so forth. This was published before Twitter hit or that would have been on the list also.

"For Mr. Klingberg, the mismatch between our modern lives and ancient brains is most evident in the problems of working memory and attention, but another culprit may be at work. We are easily distracted also because we vastly overvalue what happens to us right now compared with what comes in the future and because novelty is intrinsically rewarding. So whatever we are supposed to be focusing on has to compete with every new email, new task, new blog post and new conversation that wanders into our information sphere. These biases may have served us well in our species' evolutionary past, when the future was uncertain and the new could well be a threat that deserved immediate attention. But nowadays the new is more often trivial than essential, and sacrificing immediate rewards can yield greater ones in the future."

1 comment:

Stay At Home Mom at Work said...

Wow, Well said. Might have to pick up this one. Thanks!