Mind Performance Hacks

Published on Sunday, February 26, 2006 in , , , , , , , ,

Mind Performance HacksI knew I wasn't the only one!

O'Reilly Media, best known for their line of computer manuals, has a great new release this month: Mind Performance Hacks: Tips & Tools for Overclocking Your Brain by Ron Hale-Evans.

If the author's name sounds familiar, it's probably because he also runs Mentat Wiki, which has been listed in my External Links section almost since the beginning of this blog.

It's intended as a sort of sequel to Mind Hacks: Tips & Tricks for Using Your Brain. Mind Hacks is about learning and taking advantage of the way your brain natually works. Mind Performance Hacks, by comparison, is a collection of 75 hacks that teach you to improve your ability to performan various mental tasks.

The book focuses on improving 8 distinct mental skills: memory, information processing, creativity, math, decision making, communication, clarity and mental fitness. As you might have guessed, I immediately poured over the memory and math chapters first. I both learned new approaches for both that I hadn't known before, and found articles about familiar ideas, including a referral to the CalendarFeat article to which I was a major contributor!

Each of the hacks is divided up into at least four sections: an introduction, an In Action section, an In Real Life section and End Notes. The In Action section describes the principles and methodology of the particular hack, while the In Real Life section shows how you would actually apply the technique and go through the mental steps in your day-to-day life. End Notes points you to resources where you can learn about that particular hack in more detail. To make things even easier, each hack is ranked with a thermometer that indicates whether the hack is suitable for beginners, intermediates or experts.

To get an idea of how this comes together, you can check out the sample hacks (PDF) for yourself.

Among my favorite hacks in the book are:

* Hack #4: Stash Things in Nooks and Crannies, which increases the power of the Journey system by 10, with little additional work.
* Hack #7: Visit the Hotel Dominic, which describes a simple method for organizing 10,000 pieces of memorized information!
* Hack #20: Force Your Connections, which shows a great way to generate more creative ideas with the help of your computer!
* Hack #44: Foresee Important Problems, which teaches a great method for seeing what problems could reasonably develop and what level of importance you should really attach to them.

All in all, I highly recommend Mind Performance Hacks: Tips & Tools for Overclocking Your Brain to anyone who enjoys this blog. It is available at Amazon.com or at your local bookstore.

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