The Hidden Driver of Excellence

Book - 2013
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Psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman delves into the science of attention in all its varieties and shows why high-achievers need focus, as demonstrated by rich case studies from fields as diverse as competitive sports, education, the arts, and business.
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, [2013]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062114860
Branch Call Number: Health & Wellness 153.733 GOL
Alternative Title: hidden driver of excellence


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Mar 31, 2018

5 for research, 1 for insight
This book is well written. Goleman has researched the topic extensively, and provides a credible list of scientific references. However, ultimately the book is not that interesting. Goleman shares an abundance of facts that are either well known, commonsensical, or mundane. The author mentioned the marshmallow test, the 10,000 hour practice to reach proficiency, the need for focus to reach flow, self-awareness being key to leadership, and many other well known or self-evident truisms. I made the effort to read every single word of the book. And, I could not wait to finish it and move on. By the end, I did not uncover a single actionable item I could do to improve my focus.

In view of the above, the book is much drawn out. And, it feels like the topic would have been much better covered in a single essay-article of no more than 10 pages. There was just not enough content for a 250 page book.

The science is often rather confusing. What controls the amygdala? Is it the left amygdala? Or the hippocampus? Or the prefrontal cortex? The author mentions each of them in various section of the book.

When the author focuses on Big Data, he picks the one example that totally failed: Google-flu algorithm to capture trends in flu intensity during the flu season worldwide at the city level. Ultimately, their results were so inaccurate they removed this tool from the public.

On one page, the author had a quiz that tested whether you had zoned out while reading earlier pages. It confirmed I had. And, I am typically a very focused reader. It confirmed I had zoned out because the material as presented was tautological.

Apr 17, 2017

This book is a combination of narratives of some (vague) stories to give context to a brain topic. Although there are many things you can learn about your brain with this book, it does not focus on focus at all! So if you are looking for some advice or strategies on how to focus, this is not the right book.

adamgcotton Apr 21, 2015

So help me...if I have to read one more non-fiction book that name-checks Daniel Kahneman as if the author is best buddies with him...

These days you really can write a bestselling non-fiction book that is about everything and nothing and particular, centered around a tautological pet theory that explains and solves everything, by simply summarizing snippets from Kahneman, Antonio Dimasio, Gladwell, Taleb, etc etc. It seems that we are all reading the same book over and over again. It reads like a long, tedious magazine article. This book has no focus, which is too ironic to even be funny.
This is one of an endless string of books that both softly 'warns' about some effect of technology, but rationalizes and apologizes for it, and generally rides the wave to the author's profit.

Dec 28, 2013

I go to for reviews and I've put down a 5 stars and a 1 star for comparision,.....5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all who want to achieve their goals, December 25, 2013........... Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence..... This books identifies reasons for lack of focus, identifies tools by which focus can be achieved and then takes the readr through the process. While reading it appears as if the author is seeting beside you and guiding you through the process. It is a unique book in this respect............................................. 5.0 out of 5 stars Great study on the science and practice of focus., December 19, 2013 .....Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence....... Another careful study by Daniel Goleman. He looks in detail at how the brain works focus. He studies what prevents focus and the consequences of not focusing. ....................This is not a book of just anecdotal tip and tricks, but a fairly in depth study of the subject. here are some useful strategies and practices.....................If you want a quick feel good book this isn't it, but if you want a week long peek inside your head this is great. ------------------------------------------- 2.0 out of 5 stars Unfocused Book, August 30, 2013-----Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence-------I agree with the two star reviews on this book so far and they also reinforced my opinion exactly. --------------------------------------------Daniel Goleman is a very intelligent writer and can easily go through many topic areas in great detail, and there in lies the problem. I got this book based on the title "Focus" "The Hidden Driver of Excellence" I was looking forward to the writers insights on this very crucial area of life an success, ironically this book was very unfocused itself.---------------------------------------------- I do not even know how to review it based on its content because it was all over the place.--------------------------------------------- The book is like a group of essays on different topics put together. It really lacked clarity of thought or how to tie any principles together to give the reader insight into how to focus on anything.-------------------------------------------------------------------------- The thing that really bothered me was political topics dropped into the book like Global Warming which can still be easily debated and the need to solve all the world's problems through taking from some and giving to others.--------------------------------------------------------------- The book read like it was written by a sheltered academic with little real world working knowledge of how to make big things happen with focus outside the gathering of facts and writing papers. -----------------------------------------------------------This is just my perception and personal opinion after reading this book, I am very disappointed I could not follow his train of thought.


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