‘Hyperfocus’ by Chris Bailey

Overall Rating: Highly Recommended (How I Rate Books)

Personal Rating: Useful analysis of research on the flow state, meditation and creativity




Nonfiction, meditation, self-help, self improvement

Similar books I’ve reviewed:

  • None

Previous books by the author/in the series I’ve reviewed:

  • None

Spoilers below. You’ve been warned!

I’ve been feeling less like myself these days, and when I thought about it I diagnosed myself as being uncharacteristically intellectually incurious in recent years. Before I started reading fiction for this blog I would read a lot more nonfiction, but since starting the blog I’ve cut back. So I’ve decided to read more nonfiction this year. I read this book as part of that effort.

Why do I mention this? Because the author has some solid words of advice about focusing your mind and directing your attention to make yourself as effective as possible. Choosing what you spend your attention on (such as reading more nonfiction) and choosing what you DO NOT spend your attention on is a major theme in this guide.

This is a good self improvement book, focused on helping a person set goals and achieving them. It’s not focused on one particular topic, but instead provides broadly useful advice for just about any profession. Do you work in a brainspace demanding job, like a teacher, manager, lawyer or student? This book provides useful advice for cultivating, expanding and using your brainspace judiciously.

I won’t give you all the details of the book, because that’s why you read the book. I will say that I found it so useful I read it twice in a row and took notes the entire time.

The most useful bit of advice for me was that you don’t ALWAYS have to be doing something. Multitasking is merely doing two or more tasks poorly. Often, if you focus on doing all those tasks sequentially instead you’ll complete them faster and with a better final product.

I also appreciated the advice that sometimes it’s good to do nothing at all. Giving your brain the chance to be bored every now and again lets it heal and work at maximum problem solving efficiency. Modern devices (phones, computer, internet, social apps) can be the nemesis of efficient work.

There you go! A lot of the advice seems obvious, but sometimes the obvious thing to do is the hardest to do. Since reading this I’ve tried meditation (with inconsistent results) and decoupling myself from the web whenever I want to get work done. It’s been hard going without my phone/social media, but I have gotten some results.

Give it a try all of you! I checked out the library book of this, read it twice, and liked it enough that I then bought a copy of it for myself. I liked it so much I bought a copy of it after reading it twice, so let that purchase show you how much I endorse what it has to say.

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