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EPISODE # 196

Annie Murphy Paul — The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain

In this conversation about her new book, the acclaimed science writer Annie Murphy Paul explodes the myth that the brain is an all-powerful, all-purpose thinking machine that works best in silence and isolation. We are often told that the human brain is an awe-inspiring wonder, but its capacities are remarkably limited and specific. Humanity has achieved its most impressive feats only by thinking outside the brain: by “extending” the brain’s power with resources borrowed from the body, other people, and the material world. The Extended Mind tells the stories of scientists and artists, authors and inventors, leaders and entrepreneurs — Jackson Pollock, Charles Darwin, Jonas Salk, Friedrich Nietzsche, Watson and Crick, among others — who have mastered the art of thinking outside the brain. It also explains how every one of us can do the same, tapping the intelligence that exists beyond our heads — in our bodies, our surroundings, and our relationships.

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