Foreword xv Preface xix How the Book is Organized xxii How to Read This Book xxiii Acknowledgments xxv Part One Weapons of Mass Distraction 01 1 Noise, Noise, So Much Noise 3 Kenny Chesney Gets it Right Hearing Decline and the Loss of Focus Access to Information Will Only Increase Attention Spans Will Remain Elusive Our Minds Will Become Anemic and Impenetrable 2 Huh? We're Going Collectively Deaf 11 So, Why Do We Tune Out? A Variety of Reasons The Impact of the "Elusive 600" on Our Listening How Words Become Worthless-and Triggers for a Tune-Out My Mom Thought I Had a Hearing Problem 3 Brain Basics: Are Your Penguins Falling Off the Iceberg? 19 Our Brains are Changing Working Memory in Decline Brains are Like Computers We're Losing Impulse Control Our Brains Get Hooked How Often Do We Check Our Smartphones? 4 Living in an Info Junkie Crack House 31 Training and Education Will Be the Gateway Drug Impending Health Impacts? A Potential Threat to Consider Who Can Stop This? More Brain Celery Part Two The Big Tune-Out is Coming (Imagining The Unthinkable-Six Short Stories to Wake You Up) 41 5 Always Stuck at School 43 Serious Triggers New Protective Behaviors Terrified Parents Disturbing Statistics Our Children in Isolation Is it Addiction? 6 A Misleading Leader 53 Streaming Information Losing Momentum Powerful Monologue All Talk, No Action 7 The Loss of Civil Discourse 61 Her Civic Duty Uninformed and Confused No Respect Tower of Babel Catching Her Attention 8 Mind-filled Momentum at Work 67 Connected While Exercising Last-minute Briefing Driving Connected Yet More Tasks and E-mails Diving Right into the Weeds Trying to Salvage Success 9 2050: A Parenting Odyssey 77 Technology Was Only a Mild Interrupter for Them A Carefree Time Deep Loss of Daily Contact Struggle to Disconnect Technology is with You Everywhere You Go It's Just Living for Them Why Did We Worry So Much? Parenting without a Voice Fighting a Force 10 Safety Briefing with Near-tragic Results 85 Part Three Time for You to Tune In: Awareness Management (AM 101) 93 11 Awareness Management 101 95 Lighting the Path Before Us Lives Can Become a Blur Missing the Moment Entirely Our Minds are Spinning Beach Balls The Elusive 600: Your Enemy or Your Friend? Runaway Thoughts Waking Your Mind from Mindlessness to Mindfulness Directed, Undirected, and Misdirected Commit to "Awareness Management" What if We Don't Manage Our Awareness? AM Pre-set Buttons 12 Take Aim: Set Your Sights on What Matters Most 109 Essentialists versus Non-essentialists No More Deafening Noise Pointless Routines A Minimalist Decision: Keep it Simple Aim Small, Miss Small-Tips to Direct Your Focus Post It: Simplicity Isn't Complicated To Simplify is a Deliberate Decision 13 Saying No to Noise 123 Just Say No The Power of Self-Mastery Overcoming FOMO No, Here's How You Do It Addictions Weaken Willpower Running to Yes on the Road Toward No Self-control is a Personal Way to Stop the Noise Impulse Management: A Few Daily Distractions Feel the Peace of Singlemindedness Five Small Steps to Make That Little Word a Big Part of Your Life 14 Quiet Time: Restoring and Recharging Your Mind 135 Dimly Lit Dinnertime: Our Brains Barraged and Batteries Drained The Extrovert Ideal and the Allure of Open Spaces Why Be Quiet (I've Got Something to Say About That)? Risky Isolation Rewarding Isolation Steps Toward Quiet Contemplatives in the Middle of the World 15 Present Listening: A Gift Worth Giving Now 149 Why is it So Exhausting to Listen? Professional Listeners: It Pays to Be Interested, Not Interesting Becoming a Present Listener-Seven Critical Considerations A Special Reward for Special Forces Selling Yourself Short with Others The Payoff of Present Listening Part Four Getting Others to Dial In: Focus Management (FM 101) 159 16 Focus Management 101 161 Changing an Environment That Doesn't Want to Be Changed Putting Fun Back into a Party The Role of a Focus Manager A Program Manager for a Life Filled with Simplicity and Clarity FM Pre-set Buttons 17 Wanted: BRIEF Communicators 169 When So Many Words Become Worthless Losing the Meaning You Can Change It Message Lost in Translation Winston Churchill's Brevity Memorandum Concise Communication: A Necessary Curriculum Requirement BRIEF Basics Clarity is Your Number 1 Priority 18 Communicate Like a Magician 181 Brain Science Behind Sleight of Hand The Power to Make the Restless Rest A Baker's Dozen of Communication Techniques, Tips, and Tricks 19 Preparing the Environment for Noise Abatement 191 The Failure of Open Floor Plans Screens Everywhere at Work Home Rooms Unplugged Old-school Schools Remaking Healthy Environments to Filter Noise Naturally 20 Herding Cats: Facilitating to Focus More, Fidget Less 205 The Joy of a Canceled Meeting Teaching Students to Tune Out Need Some Help Leading at Home? Fundamentals of Facilitation: At Work, School, or Home Making it Easy for Everyone to Work, Learn, and Live Together Part Five Pre-Sets: Simple Programming for Noise Reduction 215 21 Personalizing Your Pre-Sets 217 Personal Pre-set Programming: Customize Your Settings to Manage the Noise "The Lineup": Playing to Win by Keeping Score 22 That Sounds Wonderful 235 Recommended Reading 239 Notes 241 References 249 About the Author 257 About The BRIEF Lab 259 Index 261
JOE MCCORMACK is passionate about helping people gain clarity when there is so much competing for our attention. He is a successful marketer, entrepreneur, and author. His first book, BRIEF: Make a bigger impact by saying less (Wiley, 2014) sets the standard for concise communication. Joe is the founder and managing director of The BRIEF Lab, an organization dedicated to teaching professionals, military leaders, and entrepreneurs how to think and communicate clearly. His clients include Boeing, Harley-Davidson, Microsoft, Mastercard, DuPont, and select military units and government agencies. He publishes a weekly podcast called Just Saying that helps people master the elusive skills of focus and brevity. He lives in Pinehurst, NC, and suburban Chicago, IL.