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Abandoned reading: The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain by Annie Murphy Paul 📚. I was reading this book on my iPad with Apple Books.

I approached it with the mindset that these ideas are options for me to consider in my own mind practice, and there were a number of interesting ideas. But yesterday I had to admit to myself that it is time to abandon my comittment to reading this book. I have to do the same with another book it was partnered with, but I’ll get to that another day. I think I read about 30-40% of the book before my calculations told me a sustained effort would require more energy than I had to give it at this time. I will keep it around for the option to browse different sections look for useful tidbits.

I found the idea of the Magpie Mind to be a useful one for understanding how I assemble bigger ideas from whatever is around. Want better ideas? Have better stuff around. Also remember to pause and examine the ideas you have constructed.

I also found the ideas discussed around the poured paintings of Jackson Pollock to be really helpful for inspecting and understanding some things about my own computer art practice that had been quite mysterious to me. My random search for what works and what doesn’t work for me will probably be much more effective with this clue.

There are many other ideas that were also useful and that I will continue to personally explore. You can get a pretty good sense of the type of ideas from Ezra Klein’s podcast with the author.

But some sections were less obviously plausible. I did not see the connection to thinking in groups in the tale about the aircraft carrier and the sailboat. If one of you did find a connection there, I would listen. There was also quite a bit of text related to the ideas presented that I didn’t feel added all that much; some stories about trainings and their audiences that I didn’t think clarified what I was to do with the idea at all. Maybe it’s just me.

Now, some comments about the (virtual) book itself as an object. This is a thing that I care about and might explore at a later time. One thing that I greatly appreciated the author and publisher for including is rich end notes. I was able to use these to track down more technical materials on some of the concepts that had been diluted beyond recovery in the book. Those breadcrumbs are invaluable. However, I’ve seen it done in an easier to use way in Apple Books before, and the increased friction was an annoyance. I have nothing else worth mentioning in my review of the experience of reading the book on an iPad.

Did you read The Extended Mind? What did you think of it?

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