A Mind for Numbers, Book Notes

Here are my unedited notes on the book:

focused mode and diffuse mode , respectively—these modes are highly important for learning. 2 It seems you frequently switch back and forth between these two modes in your day-to-day activities

You’re in either one mode or the other.
Focused Mode = Deep Work.Turn your attention to something and bam —the focused mode is on
Diffuse Mode = Relax, take a step back. Diffuse-mode thinking is what happens when you relax your attention and just let your mind wander
Einstellung effect (pronounced EYE-nshtellung ). In this phenomenon, an idea you already have in mind, or your simple initial thought, prevents a better idea or solution from being found. I get stuck on the first idea and stop the search.
If you are trying to understand or figure out something new, your best bet is to turn off your precision-focused thinking and turn on your “big picture” diffuse mode
(But the learning process is all about working your way out of confusion. Articulating your question is 80 percent of the battle.)
By the time you’ve figured out what’s confusing, you’re likely to have answered the question yourself!”
The bottom line is that problem solving in any discipline often involves an exchange between the two fundamentally different modes. One mode will process the information it receives and then send the result back to the other mode
To figure out new ideas and solve problems, it’s important not only to focus initially, but also to subsequently turn our focus away from what we want to learn.
{ 3 } learning is creating
Once you are distracted from the problem at hand, the diffuse mode has access and can begin pinging about in its big-picture way to settle on a solution.
Step back from the Problem
Enlisting the diffuse mode helps you learn at a deep and creative level.
Mistakes are inevitable. To work past them, start early on your assignments and, unless you are really enjoying what you are doing, keep your working sessions short .
Remember, when you take breaks, your diffuse mode is still working away in the background
Sleep is probably the most effective and important factor in allowing your diffuse mode to tackle a difficult problem.
But the longer you spend in focused mode, the more mental resources you use = Willpower
General Diffuse-Mode Activators Go to the gym Play a sport like soccer or basketball Jog, walk, or swim Dance Go for a drive (or tag along for the ride) Draw or paint Take a bath or shower Listen to music, especially without words Play songs you know well on a musical instrument Meditate or pray Sleep (the ultimate diffuse mode!)
diffuse-mode activators are best used briefly, as rewards
The resting times between your focused-mode efforts should be long enough to get your conscious mind completely off the problem you’re working on
Usually a few hours is long enough for the diffuse mode to make significant progress but not so long that its insights fade away before being passed on to the focused mode. A good rule of thumb, when you are first learning new concepts, is not to let things go untouched for longer than a day.
Rising frustration is usually a good time-out
spaced repetition: Take some time between testing my knowledge
(simply being awake creates toxic products in your brain. During sleep, your cells shrink, causing a striking increase in the space between your cells. This is equivalent to turning on a faucet—it allows fluid to wash past and push the toxins out.)
procrastination is an issue, try setting a timer for twenty-five minutes and focusing –> set a time limit
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” I try to look at this daily, and I aim to do something fearless every day.
Be willing to be disagreeable. There is a negative correlation between the level of creativity and “agreeableness,” so those who are the most disagreeable tend to be most creative
{ 4 } chunking and avoiding illusions of competence
Chunks are pieces of information that are bound together through meaning.
one of the first steps toward gaining expertise in math and science is to create conceptual chunks—mental leaps that unite separate bits of information through meaning
Basic Steps to Forming a Chunk:
Just memorizing a fact (center) without understanding or context doesn’t help you
Chunking (right) is the mental leap that helps you unite bits of information together through meaning.
1. The first step in chunking, then, is to simply focus your attention on the information you want to chunk .
2. The second step in chunking is to understand the basic idea you are trying to chunk,
3. The third step to chunking is gaining context so you see not just how, but also when to use this chunk. Context means going beyond the initial problem and seeing more broadly, repeating and practicing with both related and unrelated problems so you see not only when to use the chunk, but when not to use it.
Learning Tips:
Learn the major concepts or points first—these are often the key parts of a good instructor or book chapter’s outline, flow charts, tables, or concept maps. Once you have this done, fill in the details.
Attempting to recall the material you are trying to learn—retrieval practice—is far more effective than simply rereading the material
You may be surprised to learn that highlighting and underlining must be done carefully—otherwise they can be not only ineffective but also misleading.
When marking up the text, train yourself to look for main ideas before making any marks and keep your text markings to a minimum—one sentence or less per paragraph.
rewrite your notes
Merely glancing at the solution to a problem and thinking you truly know it yourself is one of the most common illusions of competence in learning.
the retrieval process itself enhances deep learning
Interleaving means practice by doing a mixture of different kinds of problems requiring different strategies. problems that require different techniques
Ask myself question to a book etc. is the best way to learn.