Noise Book Summary - Noise Book explained in key points
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Noise summary

Joseph McCormack

Living and Leading When Nobody Can Focus

4.4 (125 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

Noise by Joseph McCormack is a timely book that reveals how the constant bombardment of noise in our lives can harm productivity and relationships. It provides actionable strategies for reducing noise and being more intentional in communication.

Table of Contents

    Noise
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Information overload is damaging our ability to think.

    These days, people disagree on many topics, often more fiercely than ever. Whether it concerns our elected representatives, pressing environmental issues, or even just celebrity spats, it seems that there are very few issues that we can all unite behind. 

    But what about the topic of information? The more information you consume, the smarter you are. And the smarter you are, the better. Right? Surely that isn’t controversial?

    Well, it might be time to reconsider. 

    The key message here is: Information overload is damaging our ability to think.

    You see, these days, we actually suffer from an excess of information. Whether it’s a stream of incoming messages or a frantic, never-ending newsfeed, most of us are inundated with irrelevant information from morning till night.

    Now, this is more than just a minor nuisance. When we subject our minds to this informational onslaught, we actually prevent them from working at full capacity.

    There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that your mind needs nutrition, just as your body does – so when you hop from one screen to another, skimming information and never really settling down, you actually undernourish your brain. 

    By keeping things superficial, you fail to consume anything of substance – and, like living on soda and popcorn, this can weaken your mind over time.

    The more you consume information in this manner, the more your brain starts to adapt to constant, novel information. Instead of being content to settle down and engage with a task properly, your mind learns to expect hit after hit of gratifying but ultimately superficial stimulation. 

    Tweets, emails, snaps, you name it – they all rewire your brain and train it to anticipate constant interruptions.

    You might think there is nothing inherently wrong with that. After all, you can multitask! Interruptions don’t really bother you – right? Well, not exactly. Glenn Wilson, a professor of psychology at Gresham College in London, estimates that multitasking depletes our IQ by 10 points. In fact, he’s argued that your cognitive skills take a sharper dip when you try to multitask than when you smoke marijuana.

    You probably wouldn’t want to make important life decisions and business deals while high on drugs. So why would you try to do it while fending off a barrage of attention-sapping information?

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    What is Noise about?

    Noise (2019) is an antidote to our distracted times. In an age of shrinking attention spans and divided focus, it shows us how to reclaim our natural powers of concentration.

    Noise Review

    Noise (2019) by Joseph McCormack is a book that explores the impact of excessive communication and information overload in our lives, and provides strategies to cut through the noise. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers practical solutions to manage and filter the overwhelming amount of information we are exposed to daily, helping us regain focus and improve productivity.
    • Backed by research and real-life examples, it provides a comprehensive understanding of the negative effects of noise on our mental well-being and relationships.
    • The book's engaging storytelling makes it a compelling read, shedding light on the importance of clear communication and the benefits of embracing silence.

    Best quote from Noise

    Our brains are being barraged, and it is seriously affecting a broad spectrum of society.

    —Joseph McCormack
    example alt text

    Who should read Noise?

    • Tech addicts trying to break their bad habits
    • Procrastinators who need to rediscover their ability to focus
    • Leaders interested in distraction-proof communication

    About the Author

    Joseph McCormack is an entrepreneur, author, and marketing executive. He runs the BRIEF Lab, which offers courses in effective communication. He also produces a podcast series called Just Saying and is the author of Brief (2014).

    ©Joseph McCormack: Noise copyright 2019, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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    Noise FAQs 

    What is the main message of Noise?

    The main message of Noise is the importance of cutting through information overload to focus on what truly matters.

    How long does it take to read Noise?

    The reading time for Noise varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Noise a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Noise is worth reading because it provides practical strategies for managing distractions and improving focus.

    Who is the author of Noise?

    Joseph McCormack is the author of Noise.

    What to read after Noise?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Noise, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Brief by Joseph McCormack
    • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
    • Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • The Mind Club by Daniel M. Wegner and Kurt Gray
    • Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
    • Perfectly Confident by Don A. Moore
    • Stillness Is the Key by Ryan Holiday
    • Mindsight by Daniel Siegel
    • Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven