WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: The Extended Mind by Annie Murphy Paul

This book, subtitled “the power of thinking outside the brain” caught my attention! It complements other books I’ve reviewed recently like Mind in Motion and Thinking With Your Hands. This book is in three parts – thinking with our bodies (sensations, movement, gesture), thinking with our surroundings (natural and built spaces, the space of ideas), and thinking with our relationships (experts, peers and groups). The overall theme of the book is that we tend to think about thinking as something that happens inside our heads, but in fact we use our bodies, our environments and other people to help us think! As the author says, “elements of the world outside may effectively act as mental ‘extensions,’ allowing us to think in ways our brains could not manage on their own”!

The author certainly provides us with the knowledge and useful practical techniques to harness the power of what’s outside our minds to enhance our thinking. She fulfils the promise at the end of the introduction to the book:

“As long as we settle for thinking inside the brain, we’ll remain bound by the limits of that organ. But when we reach outside it with intention and skill, our thinking can be transformed. It can become as dynamic as our bodies, as airy as our spaces, as rich as our relationships – as capacious as the whole wide world.”

I found this book fascinating and highlighted so much of it that I will be going back to it again and again to review all the interesting content. I’ll be sharing more snippets on social media in the coming months!

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