Recently finished the book, “Rapt – Attention and the Focused Life” by Winifred Gallagher. I’ve recently been reading books on attention as I believe this will be an increasingly important theme in business and in life as the pace of change continues to accelerate.
Winifred was diagnosed with cancer and this book really is about her learning during that period, particularly as it related to where she placed her attention. At first, I thought the focus on the individual would be not as interesting, but I was wrong. The book contains a good amount of behavioral economics studies that I haven’t heard in other similar books (Outliers, Predictably Irrational, etc) and also spent a lot more time discussing the impact of what we personally pay attention to. I highly recommend reading (or listening) to this book.
One of the anecdotes/studies that the book discusses is a study that was done in the 1970’s that created a home that was decked out to the nines in 1950’s regalia. They had several older men live in this house for one week. They had physicals done both before and after and at the conclusion of the week, they were all walking taller, visibly looked younger, and were in better health.
But the book covers a wide cadre of topics from how attention affects our emotions to what we remember in a given situation. It also was a refreshing take from talking more about what others have noticed about human behavior to how we can influence the way we think about the world around us.