I read “This Idea Is Brilliant: Lost, Overlooked, and Underappreciated Scientific Concepts Everyone Should Know” by John Brockman.

I got this book at a book store heading out on vacation over the summer because I loved how the author took ideas and tied them to scientific concepts. They whole book is enlightening and I read about things that I never really thought about before. Here are the 2 concepts I read about:

1) Decentering: decentering is the activity of taking the perspective of another person. When we look into the past, we try to explain or understand why the person behaved the way they did. When we look into the future, we try to anticipate what the person is likely to do.

To me, this is being able to get out of your own perspective and see (and feel) things from someone else’s perspective. In skilled decentered, it’s beyond just trying to feel what someone else is feeling, it’s about imagining what might be going on in their mind. It’s really trying to experience what they might be experiencing. This is helpful in ALL types of situations with personal relationships whether it’s at home or work.

Decentering can also be with technology or with innate objects. I loved the example that he gave in the book that you might be following a GPS and when it tells you to go left you instinctively know you should go right. But you can determine that the GPS probably gave you the direction it did for a reason…traffic the other direction, less distance, etc. You can decenter and figure out why it did that. We can do that with people. It’s like the saying goes, “Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.” But instead, it’s trying to be inside their mind for a minute.

2) Transfer Learning
I loved this one because it’s simple and easy. I think it’s related to the compound effect. You transfer knowledge you have in one area to help you with another. For example, they say that you don’t fully understand one language until you learn a second one. Because the information you learned about the second language helps to deepen your understanding of what you already know about the first language. I like this concept because I think we can use it not only in knowledge but also in personal relationships. When we can understand one person in a deep way, it can help us understand others in a deeper way.

This book is gold.