The Power of Mindful Learning

The Power of Mindful Learning

by Ellen J. Langer


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Radical in its implications, this original and important work may change forever the views we hold about the nature of learning. In The Power of Mindful Learning, Ellen Langer uses her innovative theory of mindulness, introduced in her influential earlier book, to dramatically enhance the way we learn. In business, sports, laboratories, or at home, our learning is hobbled by certain antiquated and pervasive misconceptions. In this pithy, liberating, and delightful book she gives us a fresh, new view of learning in the broadest sense. Such familiar notions as delayed gratification, ”the basics”, or even ”right answers”, are all incapacitating myths which Langer explodes one by one. She replaces them with her concept of mindful or conditional learning which she demonstrates, with fascinating examples from her research, to be extraordinarily effective. Mindful learning takes place with an awareness of context and of the ever-changing nature of information. Learning without this awareness, as Langer shows convincingly, has severely limited uses and often sets on up for failure.With stunning applications to skills as diverse as paying attention, CPR, investment analysis, psychotherapy, or playing a musical instrument, The Power of Mindful Learning is for all who are curious and intellectually adventurous.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738219080
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 04/05/2016
Series: A Merloyd Lawrence Book Series
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 466,699
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Ellen J. Langer, PhD, professor of psychology at Harvard University, is the author of Personal Politics (with Carol Dweck), The Psychology of Control, and Mindfulness, which has been published in ten countries. She is also coeditor of Higher Stages of Development and Beliefs, Attitudes, and Decision Making. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and numerous awards including the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest of the American Psychological Association.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Preface to the Second Edition xv

Introduction 1

1 When Practice Makes Imperfect 9

Overlearned Skills 10

Whose Basics? 14

The Value of Doubt 15

Sideways Learning 22

Can a Text Teach Mindfully? 27

2 Creative Distraction 31

The Puzzle of Attention 35

Enhancing Novelty 38

Soft Vigilance 41

Rethinking Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 42

3 The Myth of Delayed Gratification 49

All Work and No Play 50

Turning Play into Work 53

Turning Work into Play 56

4 1066 What? or The Hazards of Rote Memory 65

Locking Up Information 67

Keeping Information Available 71

Drawing Distinctions 73

5 A New Look At Forgetting 81

Staying in the Present 82

The Dangers of Mindless Memory 85

Absentminded versus Other Minded 86

Does Memory Decline? 87

Alternative Views of Memory and Aging 90

6 Mindfulness and Intelligence 97

Nineteenth-Century Theories of Intelligence 99

The Notion of Optimum Fit 104

An Alternative Ability 105

Linear versus Mindful Problem Solving 107

7 The Illusion of Right Answers 113

Hobbled by Outcomes 116

Actor/Observer and Other Perspectives 118

Uncertainty and Creative Thought 125

When Right Becomes Wrong 128

Mindfulness and Self-Definition 131

Learning as Re-imagining the World 133

Notes 137

Index 149

About the Author 155

What People are Saying About This

Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Dr. Ellen Langer has always been a source of great inspiration to me. With elegant simplicity, she can completely change your life and transform your experience of reality.

Robert Zajonc

Jerome Bruner showed that we often go beyond information given. Ellen Langer teaches us how to do it, efficiently and systematically.
— Robert Zajonc, Stanford University

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