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The World Beyond Your Head
Cover of The World Beyond Your Head
The World Beyond Your Head
On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction
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In his bestselling book Shop Class as Soulcraft, Matthew B. Crawford explored the ethical and practical importance of manual competence, as expressed through mastery of our physical environment. In his...
In his bestselling book Shop Class as Soulcraft, Matthew B. Crawford explored the ethical and practical importance of manual competence, as expressed through mastery of our physical environment. In his...
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  • In his bestselling book Shop Class as Soulcraft, Matthew B. Crawford explored the ethical and practical importance of manual competence, as expressed through mastery of our physical environment. In his brilliant follow-up, The World Beyond Your Head, Crawford investigates the challenge of mastering one's own mind.

    We often complain about our fractured mental lives and feel beset by outside forces that destroy our focus and disrupt our peace of mind. Any defense against this, Crawford argues, requires that we reckon with the way attention sculpts the self.

    Crawford investigates the intense focus of ice hockey players and short-order chefs, the quasi-autistic behavior of gambling addicts, the familiar hassles of daily life, and the deep, slow craft of building pipe organs. He shows that our current crisis of attention is only superficially the result of digital technology, and becomes more comprehensible when understood as the coming to fruition of certain assumptions at the root of Western culture that are profoundly at odds with human nature.

    The World Beyond Your Head makes sense of an astonishing array of common experience, from the frustrations of airport security to the rise of the hipster. With implications for the way we raise our children, the design of public spaces, and democracy itself, this is an audiobook of urgent relevance to contemporary life.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Robert Fass provides an intelligent and considered reading of this complex exploration of attention and focus in contemporary life. However, despite his skill, the work is ultimately so dense and explores so many ideas that the listener may have a difficult time following the main thread. Overall, this book sometimes sounds like a philosophical treatise. Fass's voice is easy to listen to, but keeping up with Crawford's writing style in the audio format, ironically, may drive the listener to distraction--or at least to replay sections in order to better absorb the material. S.E.G. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 15, 2014
    Crawford (Shop Class as Soulcraft) is deeply interested in how one masters one’s own mind, especially in a time of information overload and constant distraction provided by technology. In a manner similar to Malcolm Gladwell, this brilliant work looks at individuals from varied walks of life, including hockey players and short-order cooks, to focus on the theme of how important (and difficult) it is to truly pay attention in our noisy, busy world. Crawford’s sources, ranging from the philosophy of Kant to testimony from gambling addicts, might seem too disparate to ever cohere, yet he synthesizes them with skill. The result will force readers to dig deeply into their own “metacognition” (thinking about thinking). Beyond individual experiences, the book traces Western thought from the Enlightenment to contemporary times, persuasively arguing that much of our thinking about individuality and cognition is, simply put, wrong. Crawford’s arguments can be dense at times, but they are not meant to be digested in pull quotes. Readers will feel rewarded for spending the time with a text this rich in excellent research, argument, and prose. Agent: Tina Bennett, WME.

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    Macmillan Audio
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The World Beyond Your Head
On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction
Matthew B. Crawford
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