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New: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change

3.12 of 5 stars 3.12  ·  rating details  ·  59 ratings  ·  11 reviews
An exploration of how humans respond to novelty from the New York Times bestselling author of Rapt

Why are we attuned to the latest headline, diet craze, smartphone, and fashion statement? Why do we relish a change of scene, eye attractive strangers, and develop new interests?

Follow a crawling baby around and you’ll see that right from the beginning, nothing excites us m
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published (first published December 29th 2011)
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As Homo Sapiens, we are hardwired to seek change and adapt. From our very first ancestors on the African continent, through the changes of the earth's and climate cycles, they adapted or faced obliteration. The Neanderthal, our cousins, had large brains and knew how to use tools. However, they were resistant to change and traveled little more than 15 kilometers during their lifetimes. When water dried up or the climate changed, they refused to change with it and died off. Meanwhile, our African ...more
Andrea McDowell
New is a lovely pop psychology read; not as good as Gallagher's Rapt, which remains one of my favourites, but good nonetheless. In it, Gallagher tackles three things. The first--why are humans obsessed with the new?--she brings back to our evolutionary period on the African Savannah, of course, and how having a constant eye open for threats and opportunities is a pretty good survival strategy. Her discussion here about why we differ in our preference for novelty and how those differences play ou ...more
Picked up "New" because I thoroughly enjoyed Gallagher's book, "Rapt," which remains a favorite on my non-fiction list. "New" is really a sidebar to the theme developed in "Rapt,” what was how to focus ones attention on the things that matter (and the science of why our brains resist doing so!). Aristotle said that "we are what we repeatedly do," and if "Rapt" is about how to ignore the distractions that keep us from doing what matters, "New" is about the distractions themselves.

Not just email,
meh...ironically, i didnt encounter any new insights fom this book.
Ryan Miller
My notes:

"New argues that our rewards will far outweigh our frustrations if we stay true to the evolutionary purpose of our neophilia, or affinity for novelty: to help us adapt to, learn about, or create the new things that matter, while dismissing the rest as distractions.

Alexander Pope's advice: "Be not the first by whom the new are tried, no yet the last to lay the old aside."

For example, the frequency of a certain gene that's linked to robust novelty seeking varies greatly around the globe.
This starts with an interesting example of how we relate to technology as neophiles or neophobes, and goes on to talk about that continuum. Given the push to embrace the Neat! New! Improved! tools that can assist with teaching in schools (note: some people actually think this can improve teaching, but these are only tools), I was particularly interested in this topic.

There are two problems with this book: the first is that he hammers points home, repeating and repeating and repeating so that the
Feb 15, 2012 Alexis rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I did not read the Kindle edition of this book, but that's the one that popped up first.

Anyway, I read about this book in the Globe and Mail and was fascinated. I thought I was a strong neophile (love of new), but I actually am a moderate with strong tendencies, which probably makes me more balanced. Neophilia is the fascination with the new or novel and it was necessary for human evolution and adaptation. However, it can also result in flighty or risk taking behaviour.

After talking about the ch
Kathy Nealen
Describes how our attraction to change has helped humanity survive and thrive throughout history. The author also illustrates how humanity's diverse reaction to change ranging from extremely "neophobic" to extremely "neophiliac" has benefited us by allowing us to "hedge our bets" as a species. Concludes with a discussion of how to adapt to our most recent change - our ever increasing flow of information.
Ruchi Chaube
The book is the sister half of "Rapt" from Winifred Gallagher. The book is very informative and to a greater extent inspiring! Would be good to read the two books in sequence. I loved the flow while reading, got me carried away and didn't realize when I reached the half and then the end! Awesome read!!
Considering it is a book on new, the fact that each chapter barely changed themes is kind of laughable. New chapter, same story as the last one. All in all, she lost me after chapter four.
Doesn't say anything revolutionary. Re-packing of others' ideas, and not in any especially interesting way too.
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