January 2020 Nonficton New Year New You Backlist

Scatterbrain: How the mind’s mistakes make humans creative, innovative and successful Henning Beck


Paperback | Oct 2019 | NewSouth | 9781742236650 | 336pp | 234x153mm | GEN | AUD$29.99, NZD$34.99

In this mind-bending book, award-winning neuroscientist Henning Beck explains why perfectionism is pointless ­­­– and argues that mistakes, missteps and flaws are the keys to success.

Remember that time you messed up simple maths or forgot the name of your favourite song? What if someone told you that our brain freezes are actually secret weapons, proof of our superiority to computers and AI? In Scatterbrain, we learn that boredom awakens the muse, distractions spark creativity and misjudging time creates valuable memories, among the many other benefits of our faulty minds. Combining cutting-edge science with brain-boosting advice and rivetting real-life stories, Henning Beck takes us on a fascinating adventure through human memory (one that we’ll all remember differently!).

‘The brain is a messy, faulty wonder, and if we could all agree that perfection is not the mind’s ultimate goal, we would be much better off. Henning Beck shows us how to appreciate our imperfect brains – and is fine with readers straying from the page from time to time!’ — Ylva Østby, author of Diving for Seahorses

'At last, a user’s guide for your brain, with plenty of fresh science and lots of surprises.’ — Robyn Williams, presenter of The Science Show

‘An instructive celebration of the flawed, chaotic wonder that is the human brain.’Bianca Nogrady, Science Journalist and Editor of The Best Australian Science Writing 2019

‘Illuminating, and a joy to read, this offers, in comparison to other recent neuroscience titles, a refreshingly accessible and relatable take on the brain’s inner workings that should appeal to both science buffs and casual readers.’ — Publisher's Weekly, starred review

‘Being scatterbrained has long been seen as a disadvantage, but as a neuroscientist, Henning Beck knows better. His engaging book will convince you that forgetting helps you remember and distractions can make you more creative.’ — Adam Grant, New York Times best-selling author of Originals and Give and Take, and host of the TED podcast Worklife

‘Scatterbrain is a brilliant and engaging user’s guide to the brain, masterfully transforming discoveries from neuroscience into practical personal insights and disruptive corporate practice.’ Donald Hoffman, Professor of Cognitive Sciences at the University of California, and author of The Case Against Reality

‘For anyone who has ever momentarily blanked on a name, choked under pressure, or kicked themselves for making a “careless” mistake, you may now forgive yourself. With this insightful and accessible book, Beck humorously sledgehammers the notion that our brains are infallible and omniscient, guiding the reader through the myriad ways our nervous system can betray us and how to avoid the costliest miscues. All the while, Beck will leave you more in awe of the brain than ever before.’ — Zach Schonbrun, author of The Performance Cortex

‘In an era of continuous self-optimization, Scatterbrain by German neuroscientist Dr Henning Beck offers novel insights on our often self-defeating pursuit of perfection, and provides a roadmap to more creative thinking and better decision-making to realise one’s full potential. A must-read!’ — Sandra Navidi, Founder and CEO of BeyondGlobal and best-selling author of $uperHubs