In this mind-bending book, an esteemed neuroscientist explains why perfectionism is pointless—and argues that mistakes, missteps, and flaws are the keys to success.
Remember that time you screwed up simple math or forgot the name of your favorite song? What if someone told you that such embarrassing “brain farts” are actually secret weapons, proof of your superiority to computers and AI?
In Scatterbrain, we learn that boredom awakens the muse, distractions spark creativity, and misjudging time creates valuable memories, among other benefits of our faulty minds. Throughout, award-winning neuroscientist Henning Beck’s hilarious asides and brain-boosting advice make for delightful reading of the most cutting-edge neuroscience our brains will (maybe never) remember.
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About the Author
Henning Beck received his PhD in neuroscience from the Graduate School of Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience, University of Tübingen, and holds an international diploma in Project Management from the University of California Berkeley. He is a frequent lecturer, workshop leader, science slam speaker, and consultant on topics such as neuroscience and creativity.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Forgetting: Why You Won't Remember the Contents of This Book—Thereby Retaining the Most Important Information
Chapter 2 Learning: Why We Are Bad at Rote Learning, but Better at Understanding the World
Chapter 3 Memory: Why a False Memory Is Better Than None at All
Chapter 4 Blackout: Why We Choke under Pressure and the Secret Formula for Fending off Stage Fright
Chapter 5 Time: Why We Always Misjudge It—Thereby Forging Valuable Memories
Chapter 6 Boredom: Why We Have Trouble Switching Ourselves off—and How Daydreams Evoke the Muse
Chapter 7 Distraction: Why We Are so Flighty and Which Distractions Can Lead to More Creativity
Chapter 8 Mathematics: Why the Brain Calculates Best without Numbers
Chapter 9 Decisions: Why We Risk Too Much—and yet Still Choose Wisely
Chapter 10 Selection: Why Choosing Is Akin to Torture—Though We Still Manage to Select the Right Option
Chapter 11 Pigeonholing: How Prejudices Can Help Us, How They Can Harm Us—and How to Avoid Stereotypical Pitfalls
Chapter 12 Motivation: How Our Inner Critic Limits Us—and How We Can Inspire Others
Chapter 13 Creativity: Why We Can't Be Innovative at the Push of a Button—and yet We Always Have New Thoughts
Chapter 14 Perfectionism: Why We Need Mistakes in Order to Improve
What People are Saying About This
"Illuminating, and a joy to read, [ Scatterbrain ] offers, in comparison to other recent neuroscience titles, a refreshingly accessible and relatable take on the brain’s inner workings that should appeal to both science buffs and casual readers."—Publishers Weekly
"Being scatterbrained has long been seen as a disadvantage, but as a neuroscientist, Henning Beck knows better. His engaging book will convince you that forgetting helps you remember and distractions can make you more creative."—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take , and host of TED's WorkLife podcast
"For anyone who has ever momentarily blanked on a name, choked under pressure, or kicked themselves for making a 'careless' mistake, you may now forgive yourself. With this insightful and accessible book, Beck humorously sledgehammers the notion that our brains are infallible."—Zach Schonbrun, author of The Performance Cortex
"Beck is definitely a scientist of the people and his approach ensures that all readers can glean something intriguing from this book's pages."— Booklist
"In an era of continuous self-optimization, Scatterbrain by German neuroscientist Dr. Henning Beck offers novel insights on our often self-defeating pursuit of perfection, and provides a roadmap to more creative thinking and better decision-making to realize one’s full potential. A must-read!”—Sandra Navidi, Founder and CEO of BeyondGlobal and author of $uperHubs
" Scatterbrain is a brilliant and engaging user’s guide to the brain, masterfully transforming discoveries from neuroscience into practical personal insights and disruptive corporate practice."—Donald Hoffman, Professor of Cognitive Sciences at the University of California, and author of The Case Against Reality
"The brain is a messy, faulty wonder, and if we could all agree that perfection is not the mind’s ultimate goal, we would be much better off. Henning Beck shows us how to appreciate our imperfect brains—and is fine with readers straying from the page from time to time!"—Ylva Østby, author of Adventures in Memory