Book Sips #42 — ‘Elastic’ by Leonard Mlodinow

Josh Morales
Dec 4, 2020 · 3 min read
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Elastic: The Power of Flexible Thinking book cover

This has become one of my favorite books in the neuroscience field and I don’t usually talk about having favorite books as such. Short, engaging, and filled with cutting-edge knowledge about our brain. I bought this one by the cover (you will agree with me it’s a beautiful combination of colors…) so I can’t be more positively surprised by the learnings I obtained due to my mere gut feeling in choosing. What else can you expect for less than 10 bucks?!

‘Elastic: The Power of Flexible Thinking’ is distributed in 4 parts: confronting change, how we think, where new ideas come from and liberating your brain. In those, Leonard Mlodinow, a theoretical physicist and Star Trek writer, covers the implications our ‘default’ mindset has in our jobs, society, and productivity.

In a nutshell, in contrast with our ‘default thinking’, elastic thinking is a set of brain mechanisms that defines us as explorative and adaptable to emerging and unexpected situations (insights). Identifying how this system works and how we can double down to use it more often is what this book is ultimately about. It’s not a self-help book though — or, actually, is it? You tell me! A sip: A sip:

‘As we experience the world, we learn useful facts and valuable lessons, and we form a point of view. Over time, we add to and adjust that point of view, much as we might add on to or update our house over the years.

But just as we’d hesitate to add a contemporary wing to an old Victorian home, we resist making changes to the edifice of our worldview if those changes don’t seem in harmony with what is already there. And yet, in this rapidly evolving world, that is often what is called for. And so it is one of life’s ironic truths that, though we love to be right, we are better off if sometimes people tell us we are wrong’

Book on a marble table and a blue and white background

Thinking outside the box is not just a genius thing!
#joshdixit

Elastic

by Leonard Mlodinow

Why read?

A great introduction to key concepts in neuroscience such as brain plasticity, but also a fascinating journey to understand how we think and how we can benefit from more lateral thinking.

217 pages, Penguin, 2018

Get this book here on Amazon!

PM Library

Books and topics around tech, business and design that help you build better products.

Josh Morales

Written by

User-obsessed, readaholic and a sociologist after all — Senior User Researcher @Hotjar, Editor of @thepmlibrary and Educator.

PM Library

With the PM Library, we help you explore new books and topics around tech, business and design because we believe reading is essential to building better products and growing in our careers. We are a team of dedicated product people based in Barcelona, London and Munich.

Josh Morales

Written by

User-obsessed, readaholic and a sociologist after all — Senior User Researcher @Hotjar, Editor of @thepmlibrary and Educator.

PM Library

With the PM Library, we help you explore new books and topics around tech, business and design because we believe reading is essential to building better products and growing in our careers. We are a team of dedicated product people based in Barcelona, London and Munich.

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