Working with a Great Graphic Designer: A Case Study of Extended Cognitive Productivity

To extend our own effectiveness, it is, of course, not sufficient to study. We often need to turn to experts. Often, they are consultants. Success here is partly a matter of finding the right person. It equally is a matter of being an excellent client.
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Emotion as Perturbance, Draft of ACT in Three Acts (Performed)

I was asked to assemble a service for Beacon Unitarian. I accepted and decided to meet several constraints, some of which are mentioned below.

As I said in my last post, I am trying to relate (a) acceptance and commitment therapy/training to (b) H-CogAff (a theory of affect). This is to better understand mental phenomena and to develop new solutions that promote well-being and cognitive productivity (including “meta-effectiveness”, the skills and propensity to use knowledge to become more effective.)

So, I decided to create a service entitled Emotion as Perturbance: A Draft of ACT in Three Acts to informally present the perturbance theory of emotion in combination with acceptance and commitment therapy/training and the work of Jacques Brel. That allowed me to pursue several CogZest projects in one Zest of Brel production.
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Ralph Greer: Reminiscences about a Gentleman and Reflections on Cognitive Aging

My friend, Ralph Greer—a beautiful person; a resplendent mind; a scholar, in the archaic sense of the term; and a perfect gentleman—passed away Friday, March 7 2014, half-way through his hundredth year. Ralph was a man I admired, whose company I enjoyed and from whom I sought to learn.

This is not a formal obituary. I will instead offer some personal reflections on his mind, his personhood, and our friendship. I hope that some of you who did not know Ralph might appreciate this portrait of graceful aging, written by someone who has a research interest in the matter. Continue reading Ralph Greer: Reminiscences about a Gentleman and Reflections on Cognitive Aging

Voltaire and the Importance of Concepts and Symbolisms to Understand the Human Mind

In 1734, Voltaire wrote

Qu’il y a des carrés d’infini, des cubes d’infini, et des infinis d’infinis, dont le pénultième n’est rien par rapport au dernier? Tout cela, qui paraît d’abord l’excès de la déraison, est en effet, l’effort de la finesse et de l’étendue de l’esprit humain, et la méthode de trouver des vérités qui étaient jusqu’alors inconnues.

What a beautiful thought expressed by a mind in reverence of Newton and his invention of differential calculus!

To translate:

That there should be squares of infinity, cubes of infinity, and infinities of infinities, of which the penultimate is nothing in relation to the last? All of that, which at first seems like an excess of  reason gone mad, is in fact, the effort of the perspicuity and extent of the human mind, and the method of finding truths that were until then unknown.

What is equally stunning is just how many forms of representations humanity has invented.
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Jacques Brel Wrote as He Lived

In a television program recorded in the 1960’s, Jacques Brel, describing himself as an ordinary guy, spoke about his method for hatching songs. He revealed that he worked as we know he lived, standing up!* Le Grand Jacques even showed us the desk at which he wrote his songs—giving us a glimpse of his small apartment.

Actually, Brel said most of the work for his songs happens away from his desk. The idea of a song “walks around in one’s head for 4, 5 or 6 months”. That’s “incubation” in cognitive psychology lingo. “When, one day, it is very ripe, like a fruit one picks it. And then one writes it.” All very matter of fact.
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David Francey: Productive Singer and Songwriter (Cognitive Productivity Podcast #1)

I had the tremendous honor and pleasure of interviewing singer/songwriter David Francey. Here you will find a podcast recording of the interview, which took place on 28 July during the 2013 Mission Folk Music Festival.
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Productivity Tips for Working Standing Up Using WorkEZ® Light adjustable Monitor Stand from Uncaged Ergonomics and Other Products

(This document contains excerpts from Part III of my book, Cognitive Productivity.) Continue reading Productivity Tips for Working Standing Up Using WorkEZ® Light adjustable Monitor Stand from Uncaged Ergonomics and Other Products

Prof. Margaret Boden, Distinguished and Productive Cognitive Scientist, Awarded Gold Medal by Sussex University

Margaret Boden, OBE, Research Professor of Cognitive Science at Sussex University received a gold medal from Sussex University yesterday along with Sussex’s two Nobel Prize laureates. She is a world authority on cognitive science. She authored many substantial books covering a wide range of topics such as creativity, Artificial Intelligence and motivation. Prof. Boden recently contributed to the canon of cognitive science the two-volume Mind As Machine: A History of Cognitive Science, which every cognitive scientist and aficionado should have on their book shelf (only available on paper, unfortunately). My Ph.D. thesis supervisor, Aaron Sloman returned from Birmingham to Brighton to present Prof. Boden with the award. Continue reading Prof. Margaret Boden, Distinguished and Productive Cognitive Scientist, Awarded Gold Medal by Sussex University

An Evening to Celebrate Camaraderie with the Zest of Brel

This evening, we are resurrecting the spirit of friendship of the Grand Jaques Brel, one day before his 83rd birthday anniversary (April 8, which falls on Easter Sunday this year).  I am hosting an intimate Celebration of Camaraderie with the “Zest of Brel”.
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Motive Generators in Major Innovators and Tweakers

Malcom Gladwell published an article titled “The tweaker: The real genius of Steve Jobs” in the  New Yorker (Nov. 2011).  He marshalled several examples from Isaacson’s book on Jobs to make the point that Jobs was more of a tweaker than grand inventor. Gladwell is close to the mark in saying that “Jobs’s sensibility was editorial, not inventive. His gift lay in taking what was in front of him—the tablet with stylus—and ruthlessly refining it.”  But Gladwell’s own paper needs a tweak in the form of a concept which gets to the heart of Steve Jobs as innovator: As I argued in a post in August, Steve Jobs, like most innovative knowledge workers, had particularly developed motive generators.
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