The Thinking Life How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction

P. M. Forni

St. Martin's Griffin

0312625723

9780312625726

Trade Paperback

192 Pages

$12.99

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Professor Forni, founder of The Civility Initiative at Johns Hopkins, is America's civility expert. In his first two books, Choosing Civility and The Civility Solution, he taught readers the rules of civil behavior and ways of responding to rudeness. Now, in The Thinking Life, he looks at the importance of thinking in our lives: how we do it, why we don't do enough of it and why we need to do more of it.  In twelve short chapters, he gives readers a remedy for the Age of Distraction, an age fuelled by the internet, Blackberries and cellphones, all of which make constant demands on our attention, diverting it from one thing to another. After suggesting ways we can find time to think more, Forni shows readers how we can improve our abilities of: —Attention—Reflection—Introspection—Self-control—Positive thinking—Proactive thinking—Effective decision-making strategies—Creative thinking—Problem-solving strategies Just as Forni did with civility, he puts the importance of good thinking front and center in a book as simple and as profound as his earlier works.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Thinking Life

"Being highly educated and extraordinarily decorated does not necessarily translate into good thinking. But if a Nobel Prize were awarded for gracious self-control, Professor Forni would be the proper judge. As with Choosing Civility and The Civility Solution, The Thinking Life serves well to refine even the most intransigent of us.   Having just finished the book, I growled at my college-age daughter when she announced that her friends would visit our home late this evening. Then it immediately dawned on me that I was guilty of disobeying Professor Forni’s thoughtful guidelines. Fortunately my heartfelt apology was accepted. And for penance, I promise to think first next time."—Peter Agre, Winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

"The Thinking Life is the most provocative and useful book I’ve read in years.  As I traveled through it, Professor Forni gave me ideas about how to become more thoughtful, made me feel guilty, annoyed me with his grumpiness, and inspired me with his wit and optimism. You probably won’t agree with everything in this book, but that is part of its brilliance: Forni’s compels you to live The Thinking Life as you devour his little gem."—Robert Sutton, Stanford Professor and author of New York Times bestsellers Good Boss, Bad Boss and The No Asshole Rule 
 
"I am always interested in what Dr. Forni has to say about becoming more civil, and this book talks about how much harder it is when we’re constantly on our cell phones, Blackberries, Twitter and Facebook . . . Dr. Forni says serious thinking leads to the good life . . . and I am listening with both ears."—Gayle King
 
"An eloquent introduction on how to lead a more conscientious, thoughtful life."—Ben Casnocha, author of My Start-Up Life
 
"Urgently needed and compellingly readable."—Katrina Kenison, author of The Gift of an Ordinary Day

"Forni encourages the pursuit of thinking in an age when 'serious thinking is often the illustrious casualty in the digital revolution.' The author explores dependency on modern technology and its associated problems but primarily focuses on the greater value of thinking. He argues against those who write off the lost art of pondering, revealing the reality of wasted time and providing practical suggestions on how to create space in busy lives. He addresses multitasking as 'our attempt to do the maximum amount of things in the shortest amount of time with the minimum amount of thinking.' To illustrate his ideas, Forni effectively blends a combination of ideas from classical and modern philosophers, myth, current events and personal anecdotes. He chides parents and schools for not properly instructing the next generation in how to make good decisions, and how this is detrimental to society at large: 'I wish I could tell you that I had the good fortune of undergoing a solid home training in decision making, but I did not. I wish that just one of my teachers had managed to impress upon me and my schoolmates that being happy depends upon making sound decisions.' A deft exploration that urges us to think before speaking."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

In the Press

THE THINKING LIFE by P.M. ForniKirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of THE THINKING LIFE How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction. Insightful meditation on how changing the way we think can improve our daily lives.

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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1
Why You Don’t Think and Why You Should

HEADS DOWN, WE ARE ALLOWING OURSELVES TO BE EVER-MORE ENTRANCED BY THE UNSIFTED TRIVIA OF LIFE.

—Maggie Jackson
 

DOING WHAT IS OF THE ESSENCE

They took their name from the Stoa Poikile, the famous painted porch in the heart of Athens where Zeno, their founder, philosophized. A Greek slave and a Roman emperor were two of the most influential among them. And in more than two thousand years of Western thought, you will not easily find more effective principles and strategies with which to face life’s
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • P. M. Forni

  • P.M. Forni is a professor at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Choosing Civility and The Civility Solution. His work has been featured in The New York Times and the Washington Post. He has appeared on NPR and Oprah. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • P. M. Forni

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