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Tinker Dabble Doodle Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  265 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Harness your mind's innate tendency to wander, stall, rest, and unfocus and become more productive--in the boardroom, living room, or classroom.

To finish tasks and achieve goals, most people believe that more focus is the solution. We rely on to-do lists, calendar reminders, noise-blocking headphones, and sometimes medication to help us concentrate--even though these tacti
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Published May 2nd 2017 by Books on Tape (first published 2017)
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Tom Donaghey
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
TINKER DABBLE DOODLE TRY by Srini Pillay, M.D., left me a bit puzzled. This book was intended for a target audience that obviously does not include me. I am so unfocused I find it difficult to write a review of this, or any other book. Yet I manage to do so on a regular basis. How you might wonder? Simple. I mastered the art of letting my mind drift off from the problem at hand, roam about my mental pastures, forests and rivers, and allow nature to take it's course. When I come back to the prob ...more
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
(I received this book as Goodreads give away.)

“Tinker Dabble Doodle Try” was a disaster. I feel as if Pillay could have written a useful book, or even a useful number of books, but instead he tries to cram too many disparate ideas into a single text. The result is something very disjointed and shallow. The book is part affirmational self help, part office-productivity self help, part overview of contemporary psychology, part introduction to cognition, part New Age squishiness, and part biographi
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was quite the book! Loved it on many levels starting with the fact, that I always don't have to be focused, and "on-task". This book shows you why it's absolutely fine to be in "productive" unfocused states. If you feel like you are getting no-where, one step forward and ten back towards your goals, and where you thought you'd be at in your life right now. This book sums it all up; extremely well written and easy to understand, even with some scientific jargon in there! Dr. Pillay definitel ...more
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I started out on this book thinking it was about tinkering, as in building stuff. I quickly figured out that wasn't the case, but became interested. The author is a neurobiologist and was backing up a lot of his ideas with science from his experience and research. There were even a few pretty interesting ideas. But by the middle of the book it was pretty much the same as The Power of Positive Thinking, and at times almost like The Secret. It slid from a rather lofty and interesting scientific po ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I got an advance copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I absolutely loved it.
Dr. Pillay's writing style is extremely approachable and the science is presented in easily understandable terms. Unlike some books on the subject, your eyes won't glaze over as you trudge through pages of data. The recommendations are easy to follow and very effective.
I HIGHLY recommend this book. Especially so if you've been struggling with focus and productivity.
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Ooo. Ok so the ending was very strange. He started off seeming scientific but by the end I was convinced he was a nutter. We move faster than evolution. What? I'm so confused that's like against the whole point. And also I got kinda bored towards the middle. But it had some interesting ideas and was really affirming to read. I mean who doesn't want to hear it's okay to be lazy you are just harnessing your unfocused mind.
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tinker Dabble Doodle Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind is a perfect book for me to improve my unfocused mind. I feel like I'm always struggling with productivity. I don't get the things done that I need to finish. This book open my mind on how to improve my focus and productivity.
I highly recommend.

Thank you to Net Galley for an ARC of this title.
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have even a passing interest in how the human mind works, this is an interesting book. If you are an adult with a job, a family, and an amorphous feeling of overwhelm or disconnect from your true creative self, it's an invaluable handbook. Dr Pillay offers strategies that are beneficial to everyone. I plan to get copies for both my grown children. Highly recommend!
Oct 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This is an interesting synthesis of focus, flow, and attention research that morphs into some handy tricks, but there's nothing really new.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My primary take-away line is that "Suppressing or repressing self-doubt is far inferior to replacing it with acceptance of mystery, possibility thinking, intuition, spontaneity, and operating from your psychological [center or balance point]." (p.201)

Echoing the review Debbie wrote: I too was looking for more explicit practical tips. The absence of deliberate shallow sleep by way of a nap surprised me; elsewhere I read about, Einstein I think, napping while holding an object so that the object f
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Read by the author, who has a pleasing voice and British accent, but the natural rise and fall of his voice is not suitable for narrating audiobooks as many of his sentence endings dropped below a mid-level volume. Very hard to listen to with ambient noise in the room.

The book itself is quite interesting. Pillay provides some food for thought and re-frames the mental visualization bandwagon for the modern tinkerer.

Favourite quotes:

"Taking breaks to allow thoughts to congeal is one of the most im
Charles Franklin
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book for challenging the current trend towards more "focus". This book's point is that we need to be comfortable with dynamic and adaptive learning. This is where my life has been pointing towards an almost-graduated college dropout trying to rebuild himself in this new world of work. I love the entire book.

The book has great research told in a highly accessible format and great suggestions for adding more "unfocus" in your life.

PS I like this book so much because I'm a tinker, d
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book on how to gain greater overall productivity by learning to "unfocus" more so that your focus becomes more intentional and intent. It highlights the importance of giving your brain a break and visualizing possible solutions instead of merely zoning in on a problem. Who we are is an iterative process and we have great control over who we become.

If you are looking for a good book on how the brain works, a healthy dose of psychology, and may ways to incorporate some sun
May 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Tinker Dabble Doodle Try by Srini Pillay is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late April.

Offering a decent amount of cognitive and neurological research along with self-help recommendations, the author's voice is bright and cheery while speaking of case studies, inspirational and mini-biographies, recommending the use of intuition, synchronizing sleep schedules, doodling as a creative outlet, and following the cycle of remembering-filtering-managing.

Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audible
Some really solid advice in this book, which I will apply to my own journey as a creative person who often gets stuck. I'd recommend it for sure with one caveat - a lot of scientific data and findings from studies, which I found a bit heavy. I tend to process info better from anecdotes, so I enjoyed the parts where the author told stories to emphasize his points rather than citing studies. That said, overall a good book. I listened on Audible.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work-books
This is a fantastic book for anyone looking to be more productive at learning and creativity. It debunks the whole idea of left brain / right brain thinking, and shows whole new research that proves anyone and everyone is creative. It gives you permission to play (dabble) and take breaks when studying because there is evidence you perform better doing those things. It is a fun read that informs and enlightens.
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy of this book, via Goodreads giveaways, in exchange for an honest review.

I am very scattered and unfocused. Mostly because I have ADHD. I've had issues functioning on a normal level, and being productive for my whole life. This book is amazing. I really feel like I'm going to implement a lot of the things in it and my life is gonna be a lot better for reading this.
Bob Gower
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very readable and enjoyable introduction to the power of unfocus. This is a great introduction to the science and techniques of being more creative. There were many "aha!" moments for me as I read this. It helped me understand why I do some of the things I already do and how to get better. Practical and fun!
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
DNF I was trying to listen to the audiobook which is read by the author. He made the mistake many authors do — thinking anyone can perform a book. His reading voice is so bland and monotonous that I can’t focus on it without falling asleep. Moreover, it sounded as if he was offering old news on this subject, as other reviewers have noted.

May try to read print version.
I hate to say I couldn’t finish the book. To be fair, if the info provided was the first time I had heard about it, I may have rated the book higher. With that said, if you want to unlock/restart/revamp your creativity, I recommend The Artist’s Way. Morning Pages will exercise HARD your unfocused mind... in a good way.
Haley Biggerstaff
This book has a great message but it took me SO LONG to read it. Most of it is quite repetitive...I feel like this could have been accomplished with a book half as long. I had high hopes that this book would be super inspiring but I just couldn’t wait for it to be over. I feel like I got the point in the second chapter. Good content, just way overdone.
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dont understand the weird reviews of this book. This is the best book!! Creative fun with good explanations of why to try these strategies. I figured out years ago that a few minutes with video games made it easier to focus when I return to tasking. Loved it..
Hom Sack
This is an interesting read full of anecdotal examples. But on the whole, I'm not convinced that what he proposes is all that useful.
Written for highly-focused, non-creative-leaning people who need to learn, through logic, rhythms of contract/expand (he calls it focus/unfocus).
Angie Lee
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a great book. I picked it up from the new release section at the library on a whim so I had no idea what to expect. I really enjoyed it
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book about the benefits of unfocus needed more focus! It seemed to be all over the place and tried to cover too much. I was looking for fewer scientific studies and more practical tips.
Sarah White
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I hoped I would like this book more than I did. It didn’t feel like much practical advice. But the reminder that we can tinker with our minds and should not rush to fill every moment is good.
Shannon Kauderer
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-improvement
Reasonable and interesting, but not easily set up in a way to follow for self improvement.
Karla Winick-Ford
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ironically I multitasked this book and would have to go back before going forward when I’d set it down

Not bad

Not a classic

But worth the time

Solid B+
Some good ideas but think I would like workbook form better.
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