146: The Extended Mind, with Annie Murphy Paul


Nice! Looking forward to this.

I really enjoyed the book - so many interesting ideas. Looking forward to hearing from the author herself.

This is an excellent episode. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels a bit weird of the “growth mindset” phenomenon. I agree that we should try new things and not stay static in our desire to learn new things, but the growth mindset practice always felt like it doesn’t take into account that we’re wired in unique and different ways. It was refreshing to hear that the mind isn’t a computer or a singular muscle that you should put through a P90X workout.

A good episode indeed. I first learned about this book from an interview the author did with Michael Shermer, which would complement this episode of Focused nicely if you’re interested in the topic. It wasn’t until MacSparky kept talking about the book in other podcast episodes that I decided to actually read it. There’s plenty of food for thought in this book, not to mention studies the author cites/refers to which seem worth investigating.

In my case, I suffer the misfortune of having a cubicle in an open office, which I really struggle to work in. I’m slowly but surely trying to build a case for some attention being given to this issue, as it basically prevents me from doing any knowledge work at…work. I’m a university lecturer, so I go in, teach my classes, and then go home and do the thinking work. Seems ridiculous I can’t do that at my work desk, but I digress.

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When Annie talked about mapping ideas as having parallels to our personal maps of our geography, a bunch of fireworks went off for me. In a good way. I liked what everyone said about apps like Obsidian, and what Annie said about a big white board and stickies being similar to a geographic map.

Which got me thinking about AR/VR and imagining a big virtual whiteboard, where, similar to the corkboard in Scrivener, I could move ideas around in this big virtual space which also would change their order in the document I’m writing. I would love this.

I’m ready to be done with monitors, I want the VR future for my thinking work.