Product Development | Hardware | Outdoor Adventures

The Extended Mind – Path to Greater Intelligence

Extended Mind Summary

Author: Annie Murphy Paul

The Power of Thinking Outside the BrainGoodreads Link

🥦 Impressions

This book offered some incredible examples of how people use other tools and systems to improve their brain function. Even something as simple as gesturing can fire up more parts of your brain and engage more of your neurons.


The human brain gets in the way of clear thinking.
Luckily we can use our brains better with outside tools, from social interaction to writing things down to how we gesture.
The extraneural resources make it possible to accomplish far more than our minds could on their own.

💬 Top 3 Ideas

The Power of Awe

Views of vast majestic nature can act as a reset button in the human brain. It allows us to reimagine what’s possible and think in different ways.

While it might be possible to experience this through virtual reality, natural spaces do this most effectively.

Trips to nature can both recharge our attention span, as well as make us more reasonable or access to kindness.

Use gestures

Your brain can express your thoughts or feelings through your brain before you realize consciously what you’re thinking.

Letting gestures flow can help free those. And allows you to express more, particularly if there’s some physical thing or graphic to gesture at.

For managers – encourage your teammates to use their hands. And ask to show them on camera!

Shared Space for Productive Work

It helps to have a room or some large white sheet of paper with all the ideas written on it. When you move ideas and concepts into a physical place in the world it helps everyone to view things differently.

❇️ More Resources

Opinion | How to Think Outside Your Brain – The New York Times (Jun 2021)

Why You Should Think With Your Environment, Not Just Your Mind | GQ (Aug 2021)

🎙 Podcast Interviews

How to escape brainbound thinking and take advantage of your extended mind – You Are Not So Smart

Annie Murphy Paul | The Next Big Idea Worklife with Adam Grant