In Rapt, acclaimed behavioral science writer Winifred Gallagher makes the radical and compelling argument that much of the quality of your life depends not on fame or fortune, beauty or brains—or on what happens to happen to you—but on what you choose to pay attention to.
Drawing from the latest neuroscience and psychology, Rapt looks beyond the sound bites about multitasking, ADHD, and our distracting electronics to illuminate attention’s essential function: transforming the vast, chaotic world into your own orderly, user-friendly personal version. Your brain’s selective gatekeeper, it’s involved in virtually every aspect of life—learning and memory, thought and emotion, work and relationships. As the expression “paying attention” suggest, you have a limited store of this cognitive currency, which you should invest wisely, because the stakes are high. On the deepest level, what you focus on can literally change your brain, and thus your behavior. On the experiential level, taking charge of your attention is the key to personal power and freedom—and the hallmark of the successful and satisfied.
Winifred Gallagher’s books include House Thinking, Just the Way You Are (a New York Times Notable Book), Working on God, and The Power of Place. She has written for numerous publications, such as Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times.