Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book review: Conquer Cyberoverload

I recently read the book Conquer cyberoverload: Get more done, boost your creativity, and reduce stress, by Joanne Cantor. Joanne Cantor (Ph.D) is an internationally recognized expert on the psychology of media and communications. Dr. Cantor is the Director of the Center for Communication Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Joanne Cantor's compelling book describes how the "marvelous technological advances have interfered with our creativity and productivity to an alarming extent." She illustrates how information-based multitasking has negatively impacted learning, productivity, and creativity. Chapter 4 titled, "How information overload blocks creativity" is full of interesting information on how the brain works (surrounding the creative / innovative process).  Innovative / creative breakthroughs come when the brain is relaxed, something that she argues, the brain has less-and-less time to do as we plug ourselves into "our powerful, portable electronic gadgets," and continuously connect ourselves to more information through things like RSS and twitter feeds.

What I like about her books is that she provides "practical steps" on conquering cyberoverload.  Step three provides some brain-enhancing ways to promote creativity - read the book to see the entire list.  One item that resonated with me is to "choose a break of the low-information variety (avoid TV, the Internet, messaging); don't add more information to an already overwhelmed memory capacity." Dr. Cantor concludes that it is during these low-information variety breaks that we will realize our most innovative and creative ideas.

2 comments:

monika hardy said...

sounds like it was a good book.

James Folkestad said...

Monika,

You know this makes me think about the InnovationLab's "BE." In order to come up with innovative / creative ideas - they are showing that our brain needs to relax. They (brain researchers) are finding the those eureka moments come when the brain is relaxed (BE) not when we are consuming more-and-more information - information overload.