Who doesn’t feel distracted these days? With the vast resources of the Internet in the palms of our hands via our smartphones, it’s so convenient to tune out the real world and tune in to the latest trending topic. What are we missing when our ability to focus becomes compromised?

Daniel Goleman asks that question in his new book Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. He writes, “Life today seems ruled to a troubling degree by impulse; a flood of ads drives us, bottom-up, to desire a sea of goods and spend today without regard to how we will pay tomorrow.” However, he avoids a simple lecture in favor of an explanation of focus itself.

In lively prose, Goleman explores the circuitry of our brains, what happens to us physically when we concentrate and when we become distracted. He investigates the evolutionary roots of focus and asks if we are less focused now than we were decades ago. He also explains how the ability to focus helps us sense our own values, understand and empathize with others, find peace through meditation and even perceive threats. In later chapters, he expands the scope of his discussion to the topic of leadership. How do the best leaders among us pay attention, and what do they see? How do they help their organizations avoid distractions?

Goleman’s book is both an explanation of focus as well as a tool for improving it in our daily lives, unleashing creativity, living mindfully and leading strategically.

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