Book Description

Teaches managers and leaders to cut through the static and hone their focusing skills 

In the current digital age, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to stay focused. Smartphones, tablets, smart watches, and other devices constantly vie for our attention. In both business and life, we are constantly bombarded with tweets, likes, mentions, and a constant stream of information. The inability to pay attention impacts learning, parenting, prioritizing, and leading. Not surprisingly, attention spans have gotten shorter. Already being pulled in a dozen directions every minute, managers and business leaders often struggle to address important issues and focus on everything that needs attention.

Noise: Living and Leading When Nobody Can Focus teaches managers and leaders how to help themselves and others sharpen their focusing skills. In this follow-up to his first book Brief—the proven, step-by-step approach to clear, concise, and effective communication—author Joseph McCormack helps readers cut through the static and devote their attention to what is important. This engaging, informative book will help you:

  • Apply effective, real-world techniques to hone your focus and reduce interference
  • Learn the lessons taught to organizations such as Harley-Davidson, BMO Harris Bank, MasterCard, and the US Army
  • Understand how modern technology can actually strengthen your focus if used correctly
  • Avoid becoming a casualty of “weapons of mass distraction”

Noise: Living and Leading When Nobody Can Focus is a valuable resource for leaders and managers seeking to develop laser-sharp focus and apply it to everything you do.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Foreword
    1. Addendum
  3. Preface
  4. Acknowledgments
  5. Part One Weapons of Mass Distraction
    1. Chapter 1 Noise, Noise, So Much Noise
      1. Kenny Chesney Gets It Right
      2. Hearing Decline and the Loss of Focus
      3. Access to Information Will Only Increase
      4. Attention Spans Will Remain Elusive
      5. Our Minds Will Become Anemic and Impenetrable
      6. Note
    2. Chapter 2 Huh? We’re Going Collectively Deaf
      1. So, Why Do We Tune Out? A Variety of Reasons
      2. The Impact of the “Elusive 600” on Our Listening
      3. How Words Become Worthless—and Triggers for a Tune-Out
      4. My Mom Thought I Had a Hearing Problem
      5. Notes
    3. Chapter 3 Brain Basics: Are Your Penguins Falling Off the Iceberg?
      1. Our Brains Are Changing
      2. Working Memory in Decline
      3. Brains Are Like Computers
      4. We’re Losing Impulse Control
      5. Our Brains Get Hooked
      6. How Often Do We Check Our Smartphones?
      7. Notes
    4. Chapter 4 Living in an Info Junkie Crack House
      1. Training and Education Will Be the Gateway Drug
      2. Impending Health Impacts?
      3. A Potential Threat to Consider
      4. Who Can Stop This?
      5. More Brain Celery
      6. Notes
  6. Part Two The Big Tune-Out Is Coming (Imagining the Unthinkable—Six Short Stories to Wake You Up)
    1. Chapter 5 Always Stuck at School
      1. Serious Triggers
      2. New Protective Behaviors
      3. Terrified Parents
      4. Disturbing Statistics
      5. Our Children in Isolation
      6. Is It Addiction?
      7. Notes
    2. Chapter 6 A Misleading Leader
      1. Streaming Information
      2. Losing Momentum
      3. Powerful Monologue
      4. All Talk, No Action
    3. Chapter 7 The Loss of Civil Discourse
      1. Her Civic Duty
      2. Uninformed and Confused
      3. No Respect
      4. Tower of Babel
      5. Catching Her Attention
      6. Note
    4. Chapter 8 Mind-Filled Momentum at Work
      1. Connected While Exercising
      2. Last-Minute Briefing
      3. Driving Connected
      4. Yet More Tasks and E-mails
      5. Diving Right into the Weeds
      6. Trying to Salvage Success
      7. Notes
    5. Chapter 9 2050: A Parenting Odyssey
      1. Technology Was Only a Mild Interrupter for Them
      2. A Carefree Time
      3. Deep Loss of Daily Contact
      4. Struggle to Disconnect
      5. Technology Is with You Everywhere You Go
      6. It’s Just Living for Them
      7. Why Did We Worry So Much?
      8. Parenting without a Voice
      9. Fighting a Force
    6. Chapter 10 Safety Briefing with Near-Tragic Results
      1. Note
  7. Part Three Time for You to Tune In: Awareness Management (AM 101)
    1. Chapter 11 Awareness Management 101
      1. Lighting the Path Before Us
      2. Lives Can Become a Blur
      3. Missing the Moment Entirely
      4. Our Minds Are Spinning Beach Balls
      5. The Elusive 600: Your Enemy or Your Friend?
      6. Runaway Thoughts
      7. Waking Your Mind from Mindlessness to Mindfulness
      8. Directed, Undirected, and Misdirected
      9. Commit to “Awareness Management”
      10. What If We Don’t Manage Our Awareness?
      11. AM Pre-set Buttons
      12. Notes
    2. Chapter 12 Take Aim: Set Your Sights on What Matters Most
      1. Essentialists versus Non-essentialists
      2. No More Deafening Noise
      3. Pointless Routines
      4. A Minimalist Decision: Keep It Simple
      5. Aim Small, Miss Small—Tips to Direct Your Focus
      6. Post It: Simplicity Isn’t Complicated
      7. To Simplify Is a Deliberate Decision
      8. Notes
    3. Chapter 13 Saying No to Noise
      1. Just Say No
      2. The Power of Self-Mastery
      3. Overcoming FOMO
      4. No, Here’s How You Do It
      5. Addictions Weaken Willpower
      6. Running to Yes on the Road Toward No
      7. Self-Control Is a Personal Way to Stop the Noise
      8. Impulse Management: A Few Daily Distractions
      9. Feel the Peace of Singlemindedness
      10. Five Small Steps to Make That Little Word a Big Part of Your Life
      11. Note
    4. Chapter 14 Quiet Time: Restoring and Recharging Your Mind
      1. Dimly Lit Dinnertime: Our Brains Barraged and Batteries Drained
      2. The Extrovert Ideal and the Allure of Open Spaces
      3. Why Be Quiet? (I’ve Got Something to Say About That)
      4. Risky Isolation
      5. Rewarding Isolation
      6. Steps Toward Quiet
      7. Contemplatives in the Middle of the World
      8. Notes
    5. Chapter 15 Present Listening: A Gift Worth Giving Now
      1. Why Is It So Exhausting to Listen?
      2. Professional Listeners: It Pays to Be Interested, Not Interesting
      3. Becoming a Present Listener—Seven Critical Considerations
      4. A Special Reward for Special Forces
      5. Selling Yourself Short with Others
      6. The Payoff of Present Listening
  8. Part Four Getting Others to Dial In: Focus Management (FM 101)
    1. Chapter 16 Focus Management 101
      1. Changing an Environment That Doesn’t Want to Be Changed
      2. Putting Fun Back into a Party
      3. The Role of a Focus Manager
      4. A Program Manager for a Life Filled with Simplicity and Clarity
      5. FM Pre-set Buttons
      6. Note
    2. Chapter 17 Wanted: BRIEF Communicators
      1. When So Many Words Become Worthless
      2. Losing the Meaning
      3. You Can Change It
      4. Message Lost in Translation
      5. Winston Churchill’s Brevity Memorandum
      6. Concise Communication: A Necessary Curriculum Requirement
      7. BRIEF Basics
      8. Clarity Is Your Number 1 Priority
      9. Notes
    3. Chapter 18 Communicate Like a Magician
      1. Brain Science Behind Sleight of Hand
      2. The Power to Make the Restless Rest
      3. A Baker’s Dozen of Communication Techniques, Tips, and Tricks
      4. Notes
    4. Chapter 19 Preparing the Environment for Noise Abatement
      1. The Failure of Open Floor Plans
      2. Screens Everywhere at Work
      3. Home Rooms Unplugged
      4. Old-School Schools
      5. Remaking Healthy Environments to Filter Noise Naturally
      6. Notes
    5. Chapter 20 Herding Cats: Facilitating to Focus More, Fidget Less
      1. The Joy of a Canceled Meeting
      2. Teaching Students to Tune Out
      3. Need Some Help Leading at Home?
      4. Fundamentals of Facilitation: At Work, School, or Home
      5. Making It Easy for Everyone to Work, Learn, and Live Together
      6. Note
  9. Part Five Pre-sets: Simple Programming for Noise Reduction
    1. Chapter 21 Personalizing Your Pre-sets
      1. Personal Pre-set Programming: Customize Your Settings to Manage the Noise
      2. “The Lineup”: Playing to Win by Keeping Score
    2. Chapter 22 That Sounds Wonderful
  10. Recommended Reading
  11. References
  12. About the Author
  13. About The Brief Lab
  14. Index
  15. End User License Agreement