About the Book
There's no shortage of general productivity tools and information, such as David Allen's Getting Things Done. They deal with problems faced by the many (e.g., processing inboxes, running errands). However, we also need to be cognitively productive: to efficiently use knowledge in order to solve problems, create excellent products and improve ourselves.
There is no shortage of knowledge from which to learn. In fact, we are bombarded with so much information that some claim we are condemned to "The Shallows" described by Nicolas Carr. That is to be superficial information processors whose brains are (supposedly) being "rewired" by the Internet. To be sure, we've all had this experience: We've read a document that had the potential to make us more effective. But weeks later we can hardly remember the content. Worse, years go by and we have yet to apply the gems of knowledge it contains.
This book, however, rejects intellectual defeatism in favour of cognitive productivity. It is designed to help effective people systematically use knowledge and technology to become ever more effective. It does this by leveraging the most progressive attempt humanity has made to understand the human mind: broad cognitive science.
Cognitive Productivity is written in three parts:
Part 1 describes the process of taking information (as an input) and becoming more effective (as an output.) Your propensity to meet these requirements is one of the most significant contributors to your personal success. With it, you can optimally benefit from knowledge resources (web pages, ebooks, podcasts, videos, lectures, books, PDF files, etc) Part 1 explains why learning with technology is difficult, even for the best and brightest amongst us. Cognitive Productivity is a pro-active response to those challenges.
Part 2 provides powerful new concepts from cognitive science to help you understand the true engine of your own progress: your mind. It sketches how your mind develops as you master knowledge gems—snips of information with which you build your effectiveness. This surprising model of your mind may forever affect how you view yourself and your learning. You may come to see yourself as a "mindware developer" (a developer of your own mind!)
Part 3 contains powerful concepts and practical tips for processing knowledge with software. It will help you evaluate, organize, prioritize and navigate knowledge resources. It will help you analyze and comprehend them. You will learn to identify, extract and master knowledge gems. Part 3 will show you new ways to ensure you apply knowledge gems when they are applicable.
This book conveys a lot of information. (Compare the page count above.) Readers are advised to focus on the parts of the book that matter most to them. Readers who are only concerned with practical information, for example, may choose to read chapter 1, skim chapters 2 and 3, skip Part 2, and delve into Part 3.
While Cognitive Productivity is based on existing affective cognitive science, it also is an original scientific contribution.
With Cognitive Productivity, you will learn to learn with today's technology while preparing for tomorrow. Add Cognitive Productivity to your mindware development kit.
About the Author
Luc is co-founder of CogSci Apps Corp. (which develops cognitive productivity software including mySleepButton), founder of CogZest (cognitive productivity publications and training), and Adjunct Professor of Education at Simon Fraser University (where he researches cognitive productivity). He has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science (School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham). He was a first-round employee of two of Canada's most highly-valued tech startups. He was Assistant Professor of Military Psychology and Leadership at the Royal Military College of Canada.
This eclectic combination of R&D experience led Luc to a new mission in 2001: to help effective people use knowledge and technology to become even more effective. To this end, he extends and applies cognitive science.