Brainhack: Tips and Tricks to Unleash Your Brain's Full Potential

by Neil Pavitt | Health, Mind & Body |
ISBN: 0857086421 Global Overview for this book
Registered by erinacea of Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on 5/31/2016
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Journal Entry 1 by erinacea from Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on Tuesday, May 31, 2016
I think this book initially caught my eye when I bought Interesting Times in March. When I next went to Dussmann's in April (to buy the next Discworld novel, Maskerade) I thumbed through this one (again?) and, this time, ended up buying it together with a couple of other English books.

Read as last week's contribution to my one-book-per-week challenge.

I felt that the book was a bit too focused on creativity tips for writers and I also found I already knew a number of the suggested ideas, but it was still a highly interesting read. The one that really grabbed me was the second-to-last one: "Plan a Pre-Mortem", which encourages the reader to imagine their project (whatever it may be) was a complete and utter failure and then to think of reasons why this might have been the case, so they can then fix these problems to prevent said failure in the first place. I've done "post mortems" (in-depth problem analysis after a project has completed) but doing this earlier is ingenious. I'm definitely going to adopt that one!

I've found that I've been doing some of these things intuitively. For example, even though some of my colleagues (I work in software development) call me old-fashioned when I do this, I strongly prefer taking notes by hand when I'm planning something or working through a problem because I find it easier to think that way. I also occasionally actively send problems to my subconscious to work on after trying (and failing) to solve it with full concentration. However, I've mostly use this to retrieve information I knew I had (like names or other details) but was unable to access right then. Sleeping on a problem (or simply taking a break) also has proved useful in the past. In fact, I sometimes made the experience of having spent hours at work fruitlessly trying to find a solution for a problem, only for the crucial idea to occur to me as soon as I leave the building on my way home.

Apart from the "pre-mortems", I'll sometimes have to remind myself to "think like a child" (to get your inner critic to shut up) so I can have a bigger amount of ideas (including really stupid ones) to choose from. I also like the idea of giving (negative) emotions a name to distract yourself from the feeling, though I'll have to try that out in practise to see how that works.

I'm going to keep this book for a while to reread random tips at my leisure.

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