Picks & Pans

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin (New York: Dutton / Penguin Group, 2014) (TS-1). Levitin is the James McGill Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience at McGill University and is dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at the Minerva School at KGI. The Organized Mind synthesises the latest research on attention, memory and neuroscience to offer extensive tips on how to organise your life. An appendix discusses how to use Bayesian probability models for problem-solving. Levitin’s book is a guide to cultivating Dianoia in contemporary life.


Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street’s Post-Crash Recruits by Kevin Roose (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2014) (TS-3). Roose spent three years shadowing eight new recruits to United States investment banks – like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch – during the aftermath of the 2007-09 global financial crisis. Young Money reveals the rite of passage strategies that Wall Street firms use on their new hires – and the negative life impacts that can occur in winner-takes-all competitive dynamics. Some of Roose’s interviewees manage to reintegrate with their employer investment banks – and some do not. The selection pressures Roose depicts and identifies also function in Silicon Valley entrepreneurship start-ups. Roose’s narrative captures some experiential life challenges that can occur in other life contexts.


Vivid Awareness: The Mind Instructions of Khenpo Gangshar by Khenchen Thrangu (Boston, MA: Shambhala, 2011). (TS-3). Khenpo Gangshar was a meditation Teacher who influenced Chogyam Trungpa and others who brought Tibetan Buddhism to the West. Vivid Awareness details Gangshar’s oral instructions in 1957 to the author on how to train the mind and emotions – using analytic meditation – and how to attain the Dharma in contemporary circumstances.  The book also captures how a meditation Teacher adapts his insights with the foreknowledge that socio-political upheavals and other Shocks will affect the Transmission of his Teaching. Thus, this book can also be studied as a manual to achieving the Remanifestation of a Teaching in difficult life circumstances. The specific techniques of analytic meditation taught in this book will be most helpful to the interested practitioner who wants to gain greater control over their mind and emotions.