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Ellen J. Langer

Retail Price: $15.95
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Format: Paperback, 234pp.
ISBN: 9780201523416
Publisher: Perseus Books Group
Pub. Date: March 1990

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Item No: 9780201523416

Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

"A landmark work of social psychology" (Booklist) now in paperback at a popular price." . . . Harvard psychology professor Langer seeks to dramatize the rigid conditions and mindsets that often produce a pervasive state of automatized stupidity . . . (and) proposes a life-enhancing alternative."--Kirkus Reviews.


“Stretches our minds in startling new directions.”
—Howard Gardner

“Ellen Langer has succeeded in writing a book that, in one bite, manages to be scientifically interesting, immensely practical, and dramatically absorbing. It is about the mindsets that lead human beings—even the smartest of them—to become stupid and ‘mindless.’ Its power as drama in demonstrating that mindlessness leads not only to the banality of dullness, but to a giving up of life itself. In a series of fascinating research studies, Dr. Langer demonstrates that the young can be made more creative, the man in charge made more effective, and the elderly kept from giving in to and dying of their age.”
—Jerome Bruner, author of Actual Minds, Possible Worlds

“One simply can’t finish this book and not see the world in the same way.”
—Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School

“A landmark work of social psychology.”

"Langer. . . .has shown us the power of mindfulness."
—Psychology Today

readers index
Reader's Index 
Send us your favorite quotes or passages from this book.

• "When we blindly follow routines or unwittingly carry out senseless orders, we are acting like automatons, with potentially grave consequences for ourselves and others." Pg. 4

• "Mindlessness sets in when we rely too ridgly on categories and distinctions created in the past." Pg. 11


About the Author

Ellen J. Langer, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Harvard University, is the author of Personal Politics (with Carol Dweck), The Psychology of Control, and Mindfulness, which has been published in ten countries. She is also coeditor of Higher Stages of Development and Beliefs, Attitudes and Decision Making. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and numerous awards including the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest of the American Psychological Association.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Mindlessness
2When the Light’s on and Nobody’s Home9
3The Roots of Mindlessness19
4The Costs of Mindlessness43

Part 2: Mindfulness
5The Nature of Mindfulness61
6Mindful Aging81
7Creative Uncertainty115
8Mindfulness of the Job133
9Decreasing Prejudice by Increasing Discrimination153
10Minding Matters: Mindfulness and Health171

Epilogue: Beyond Mindfulness


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