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Charlie Dickinson

Guy Claxton

Hare Brain Tortoise Mind

When we are trying to solve a problem, we may feel that we need to put all of our efforts into the solution, and to stick at it until it is cracked. But in Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind: Why Intelligence Increases When You Think Less Guy Claxton claims that often we need to step back and let our unconscious come up with the answer.

Claxton argues that we are brought up to think that conscious deliberation - what he calls d-mode thinking - it the way to approach any problem. He shows, using plenty of recent scientific research, that the unconsious mind - or undermind - can often do better. Thus we can pick up information which doesn't enter our conscious mind, and our decisions are often better if we aren't made to write down our reasoning behind them. In particular Claxton looks at education, and argues that students need more 'learning by osmosis' and less force feeding of facts.

I would agree with much of what Claxton says, in particular because he is careful to take a balanced view, and admit that there are many situations where d-mode thinking is what is required. However, I felt that he didn't give a lot in the way of guidance of when this is likely to be the case. Hence the book is probably most suited to those wanting to get a general overview of the usefulness of the undermind, rather than those wanting a guide to apply to their everyday lives. (Claxton has written several other books in this subject area, and it may be that one of those would be more suited to this purpose). info
Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 0060955414
Salesrank: 186060
Published: 1999 Harper Perennial
Amazon price $11.99
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Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 1857027094
Salesrank: 220952
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 1998 Fourth Estate
Amazon price £7.99
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Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 1857027094
Salesrank: 863703
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 1998 UK General Books
Amazon price CDN$ 10.10
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 9.24:Used from CDN$ 1.09
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Product Description

In these accelerated times, our decisive and businesslike ways of thinking are unprepared for ambiguity, paradox, and sleeping on it." We assume that the quick-thinking "hare brain" will beat out the slower Intuition of the "tortoise mind." However, now research in cognitive science is changing this understanding of the human mind. It suggests that patience and confusion--rather than rigor and certainty--are the essential precursors of wisdom.

With a compelling argument that the mind works best when we trust our unconscious, or "undermind," psychologist Guy Claxton makes an appeal that we be less analytical and let our creativity have free rein. He also encourages reevaluation of society's obsession with results-oriented thinking and problem-solving under pressure. Packed with Interesting anecdotes, a dozen puzzles to test your reasoning, and the latest related research, Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind is an Illuminating, uplifting, stimulating read that focuses on a new kind of well-being and cognition.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews