A New York Times Editors' Choice
A Washington Post Best Nonfiction Book of 2021
A New York Times Notable Book
A bold new book reveals how we can tap the intelligence that exists beyond our brains—in our bodies, our surroundings, and our relationships
Use your head.
That’s what we tell ourselves when facing a tricky problem or a difficult project. But a growing body of research indicates that we’ve got it exactly backwards. What we need to do, says acclaimed science writer Annie Murphy Paul, is think outside the brain. A host of “extra-neural” resources—the feelings and movements of our bodies, the physical spaces in which we learn and work, and the minds of those around us— can help us focus more intently, comprehend more deeply, and create more imaginatively.
The Extended Mind outlines the research behind this exciting new vision of human ability, exploring the findings of neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, psychologists, and examining the practices of educators, managers, and leaders who are already reaping the benefits of thinking outside the brain. She excavates the untold history of how artists, scientists, and authors—from Jackson Pollock to Jonas Salk to Robert Caro—have used mental extensions to solve problems, make discoveries, and create new works. In the tradition of Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind or Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, The Extended Mind offers a dramatic new view of how our minds work, full of practical advice on how we can all think better.
"An acclaimed science journalist demystifies how our most important thinking often happens outside our heads."—Adam Grant, author of Think Again and Originals, on LinkedIn as "The 12 New Leadership Books to Read This Summer" “In The Extended Mind, author Annie Murphy Paul explains why the key to thinking better sometimes lies in using our brains less. By extending our minds through our bodies, physical surroundings, and relationships, we can work more productively and solve problems more creatively. The Extended Mind uses stories and science to show us how it’s done.”—Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better "Fascinating, sure-footed and wide-ranging"—The Wall Street Journal "In The Extended Mind, science writer Annie Murphy Paul shows us how we can 'think outside the brain'—that is, draw the stuff of the world into our trains of thought. We limit ourselves when we think only with our heads. Extending our minds opens up a host of new possibilities, allowing us to become more focused, more productive, more creative—in a word, smarter."—Susan Cain, author of Quiet "The Extended Mind argues that our creativity, our intelligence, and even our memories are embodied not just in the wet matter of our brains, but in the world all around us. This is a profoundly interesting book that invites us to radically change how we think about thinking."—Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein “Packed with cutting-edge research, compelling real-world examples, and deep insight, The Extended Mind provides a revolutionary framework to help us understand how our brains work. It’s one of those rare books that I found so interesting that I couldn’t put it down, and the minute I finished, I started making changes in my life.”—Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project "Just when I thought I was stuck with the brain I have, Annie Murphy Paul reveals that I can do better! Much better! This fascinating tour of the latest science reveals all the ways we can get smarter by changing our physical spaces, moving our hands and bodies and thinking together, with other humans. An inspiring guide to living fuller lives by getting outside our own heads."—Amanda Ripley, author of High Conflict and The Smartest Kids in the World "Powerful, actionable, and whip-smart, this book is proof that when you rethink how thinking works, you open the door to a world of new possibilities. I guarantee that Annie Murphy Paul's concepts, case studies, and research-based tips will help you and your group connect, create, and perform in new ways."—Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code and The Culture Code "When it comes to your identity, there is no clear line where your brain ends and your body, your environment, and your culture begin. In this tour de force, Annie Murphy Paul unmasks the larger story of who we are."—David Eagleman, Stanford University neuroscientist and author of Incognito and Livewired "The very smartest people know how to draw upon the wisdom of their entire world, including their environment and also their whole body, not just their brain. The Extended Mind i —