Summary

In Rapt, acclaimed behavioral science writer Winifred Gallagher makes the argument that the quality of your life largely depends on what you choose to pay attention to and how you choose to do it. Gallagher grapples with provocative questions - Can we train our focus? What's different about the way creative people pay attention? Why do we often zero in on the wrong factors when making big decisions? - driving us to reconsider what we think we know about attention.
As suggested by the expression "pay attention," this cognitive currency is a finite resource that we must learn to spend wisely. In Rapt, Gallagher introduces us to a diverse cast of characters - artists and ranchers, birders and scientists - who have learned to do just that and whose stories are profound lessons in the art of living the interested life.
No matter what your quotient of wealth, looks, brains, or fame, increasing your satisfaction means focusing more on what really interests you and less on what doesn't. In asserting its groundbreaking thesis - the wise investment of your attention is the single most important thing you can do to improve your well-being - Rapt yields fresh insights into the nature of reality and what it means to be fully alive.
©2009 Winifred Gallagher (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By diziet on 02-04-18

annoying narration

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No- having really enjoyed (and used) Cal Newport's 'Deep Work' book I thought this would be helpful but I think it spends too much time setting up the importance of attention (Yeah I get it- I bought the book!) rather than the meat of the issue (focus, flow and how to filter.) The extended birdwatching example to illustrate ground up and top down focus was grindingly boring.A couple of clangers in the 'relationship' section (need to engage critically with the 'men are from mars; women are from venus' stereotypical analysis of attention in relationships) and the work related chapter was, again, much lighter than Cal Newport's work- disappointing all round.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

less time on the setup; more time on the tactics; and better critical engagement with the research (Rather than simply breathlessly listing studies and findings...)

Would you be willing to try another one of Laural Merlington’s performances?

No- I found the narration weirdly inflected and very patronising - particularly the attempt to sound 'humorous' at the numerous sections where the author is talking about something that might challenge our perceptions.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No.

Any additional comments?

None

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Paul Parkins on 29-04-17

It's ok

I got this because references to it in Deep Work made it sound really interesting. Unfortunately, those references all seem to have been based on the introduction of this book - they weren't representative of the whole thing. I was hoping for something more personal/narrative-based/jounalistic, but this was more technical/academic. Not the author's fault! For what it was, it was ok, but I probably wouldn't have bothered if I'd known. The intro is great though!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Roy on 02-06-09

The Neuroscience of Concentration

Winifred Gallagher has turned mindfulness on its head in "Rapt." In this book she pays particular attention to the factors fostering and benefits of paying attention, concentration, and mental focus. The chapters on relationships, productivity, decisions, and creativity were of great practical benefit. She tells you the why and the how at every stage. This volume is well worth the time and money invested.

A related book, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, makes a wonderful companion listen and is also available from Audible.

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24 of 25 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Tedd on 25-05-09

held my attention...mostly

The work presents an impressive amount of research, related (often indirectly) to the phenomenon of human attention, albeit in slightly biased fashion. To this reader, the author often turned what should have been an objective presentation of the data into an indictment of Western culture. Intentional or not, those highly sensitive to such things be warned. When you get past this, however, the book does manage to impart many useful insights and is, on the whole, worth a listen.

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18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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