Neuroscientist, Musician, and Bestselling Author of This Is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs
“…will leave you awestruck”—The New York Times
“Daniel Levitin’s field guide is a critical thinking primer for our shrill, data-drenched age. It’s an essential tool for really understanding the texts, posts, tweets, magazines, newspapers, podcasts, op-eds, interviews and speeches that bombard us every day. From the way averages befuddle to the logical fallacies that sneak by us, every page is enlightening.”—Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit and Smarter, Faster, Better
Daniel Levitin is a renowned neuroscientist, award-winning musician, esteemed professor, and author of three consecutive #1 NYT bestsellers. He is an expert in the study of the human brain, the science of creativity, and how highly successful leaders and artists think and create. He is the author of This Is Your Brain On Music, which spent more than a year on The New York Times bestseller list. His second book, The World in Six Songs, hit the bestseller lists in its first week, and his latest is the #1 bestseller The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload. This September sees the release of his next book, A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age.
His writing has been translated in more than 20 languages. Levitin has also published more than 100 scientific articles on music and the brain, in journals including Science, Nature, PNAS, and Neuron, and over 200 articles on popular music. His research has been featured in The London Times, Scientific American, and Rolling Stone, among many others, and has been featured in 17 articles in The New York Times and in over 350 Wikipedia articles.
As a musician, he has performed with Mel Tormé, David Byrne, Rosanne Cash, Sting, Bobby McFerrin, Victor Wooten, Carlos Reyes, Rodney Crowell, Blue Öyster Cult and members of the Steve Miller Band. Levitin helped build 415/Columbia Records, later sold to Sony Music, before running a production company whose clients included every major American record label and many film companies. He has produced and consulted on albums by artists including Stevie Wonder and Steely Dan, and on the films Good Will Hunting and Pulp Fiction. For his contributions to the recording industry, Levitin has been awarded 14 gold and platinum records.
He is the Dean of Social Sciences at the Minerva Schools at the Keck Graduate Institute in San Francisco, and James McGill Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at McGill University, where he holds numerous associate appointments, runs the cutting-edge Laboratory for Music Cognition, Perception, and Expertise, and received the Principal’s Teaching Prize in 2006, the University’s highest teaching honour. Levitin earned his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology with a Ph.D. minor in Music Technology from the University of Oregon and completed post-doctoral training at Stanford University Medical School and UC Berkeley. He has been a Visiting Professor at Stanford University and a visiting professor in Psychology at UC Berkeley and Dartmouth.
Truth and Lies: A Field Guide to Critical Thinking in the Information Age
Today, and often every day, we’re bombarded with more information than our brains can handle. Information is available everywhere, instantaneously (especially during an election!), but this makes it extremely difficult to spot the real from the fake. What to do with such a deluge of misinformation, pseudo-facts, and outright lies? How do we spot the truth amid such widespread falsehood?
In this transformative keynote, New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin shows us how to recognize and avoid distortions. With Levitin’s insights, based on his upcoming book A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age, you’ll learn more efficient ways to separate the wheat from the (digital) chaff. You’ll see how science is the bedrock of critical thinking, and you’ll re-learn the importance of online information literacy. You’ll investigate plausibility and reason, and you’ll avoid both passive gullibility and cynical rejection alike. After all, there are definite financial, ethical, and reputational imperatives to thinking more critically. For those reasons, Levitin can easily adapt this talk to address different audiences—not-for-profits, legal teams, medical professionals, journalists, academics, corporations large and small, and much more—as each encounters a different form of bias, fallacy, and distortion. Don’t be a victim of data manipulation! Instead, fight back with this entertaining and accessible guide to clear thinking—and catch the liars in their tracks!
The Organized Mind: The New Brain Science Behind Productivity, Leadership, and Success
Cluttered desks. Misplaced keys. Bursting kitchen drawers. Unanswered emails overloading our inboxes. In a constant flow of data and news, staying on top of to-do lists can often overwhelm even the most organized of us. Between family and work, friends and school, it’s becoming ever more difficult to find enough time to begin and finish projects and focus on the things we really want to do.
It’s time for some spring cleaning for our overworked brains. With cutting-edge neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and practical advice from his own experience consulting for AT&T, Wells Fargo, the US Navy, and Apple, Daniel Levitin helps us find ways to improve our focus, decision-making skills, and well-being. In this helpful and inspiring talk, Levitin—author of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload—shares deep insights about how the human mind actually works, and surprising ways we can manage our busy lives. He also explains how leaders can be more effective by taking charge of their memory systems and attention and using their brains’ natural adaptability. Levitin shows that there is so much we can learn from successful leaders who’ve become masters at workflow management, time maximization, and attention channeling.
By demonstrating how we can use the brain’s natural operations and adaptability to create working systems, Levitin will help you organize your mind for a more successful and satisfying life.
Two-Part Harmony: An Evening with Daniel Levitin and a Special Musical Guest
Join Daniel Levitin and a world-famous musician for an illuminating and entertaining discussion about music, inspiration, the brain, and the science of creativity, interspersed with live performances by Levitin and his special guest.
From his storied career in the industry (he’s the recipient of 14 gold and platinum records!), Levitin has forged some amazing relationships with some of the most celebrated musicians of all time. Combining charming chemistry, captivating performances, insights into the way songs are written, produced, and sold, and some revealing discussions of the history of contemporary pop, folk, jazz, funk, rock, country, and more, this is an intimate chance to see two incredible storytellers engage with and perform the songs they love.
Past and potential celebrity guests include stars such as David Byrne, Rosanne Cash, Paul Simon, Ben Folds, Bobby McFerrin, Rodney Crowell, Victor Wooten, Graham Nash, and other musicians who need no introduction.
Re-Imagining Education in the Digital Age
Even in 2015, many classrooms around the world still adhere to the methods and structures of 18th-century schoolhouses. Why do we continue to teach—and learn—in the past? With the rising costs of post-secondary education and the increasing demands of a globalized job market, our educational institutions need an update.
As Dean of the College of Arts & Humanities of The Minerva Schools, Daniel Levitin is instigating a radical shift in education. Based on the cognitive science of learning, and by placing critical and flexible thinking over lectures and seminars, Levitin is activating the classroom, inspiring conversation, debate, curiosity, and new ways of thinking.
In this keynote, Levitin offers new, integrated approaches to science, art, and the humanities. His insights will change the way we look at education at all levels, from kindergarten to university. Using leading techniques as well as conventional models, Levitin is re-imagining what class time should be and helping us engage students in active learning. It’s time to go beyond the MOOCs and invest in the global leaders of the future.
The Brain on Music
Based on Daniel Levitin’s bestselling books This Is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs, this is a totally customizable keynote that caters to your particular areas of interests. Simply choose three topics from the list below, and Levitin can compose a speech—backed by an audio-visual component—that’s directly relevant to your needs:
• Music and the brain and the neuro-anatomy of music (what goes on in the brain when we listen, compose, or play music)
• The importance of music for children—how a musical education helps in many other areas of life
• The development of musical expertise
• Musical preferences—why we like what we like
• Music and health outcomes—evidence for music as medicine
• The future of music, downloading, and Internet radio
• Music and Williams Syndrome
• Measuring musical emotion
Whether speaking on musical stimulation, composition, performance, pleasure, or its role in shaping human cultures, Levitin’s observations and reflections on music are second to none.
The Importance of a Liberal Education
As the world increasingly relies on digital technology, the humanities are more important than ever before. The liberal arts offer students a different perspective on the world; they teach us to think, critically and creatively; they connect us to myriad varieties of human experience; and, crucially, they help us learn from past mistakes. The value of writing and communication extends far beyond the classroom—we find the benefits in all dimensions of a successful, productive, and ethical life.
Our most profound problems—poverty, unequal distribution of resources, racial intolerance, climate change, and more—require solutions that draw upon several divergent disciplines. To Daniel Levitin, the arts and humanities help us contextualize such problems. They help us view other people differently, and empathize with other cultures and backgrounds. They do not teach us to agree with everyone and everything, but they help us better understand how different people develop their beliefs—helping us learn more about our own in the process.
Art and the humanities allow us a space in which to hone our ideas, articulate them with precision, and discover creative links between them. A liberal education is the key to success in a complex world, making the unsolvable solvable. And in this powerful speech, Daniel Levitin shows us how.
Independent Educational Consultants Association
On behalf of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, I would like to thank you for joining us as our keynote speaker at our Spring Conference in Boston. We enjoyed your takeâ€”and the research behind itâ€”of how the brain can best be helped to process information ... Everyone loved those suggestions! Your presentation was extremely relevant to our audience and as one participant summed up, â€œDaniel Levitin was excellent. Thank you for inviting him.â€ Thank you for taking the time to meet with attendees after your presentation and making it an unforgettable experience.
The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
“Smart, important, and, as always, exquisitely written.”—Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness
Readers of Daniel J. Levitin’s two previous New York Times bestsellers have come to know and trust his unique ability to translate cutting edge neuroscience into an informative and entertaining narrative. Now Levitin turns his attention to an issue that affects everyone in the digital age: organization. It’s the reason that some people are more adept than others at managing today’s hyper flow of data. The Organized Mind explains the science behind their success and—with chapters targeted specifically to business readers—shows how all of us can make small but crucial changes to regain mastery over our lives.
The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature
Daniel J. Levitin’s astounding debut bestseller, This Is Your Brain on Music, enthralled and delighted readers as it transformed our understanding of how music gets in our heads and stays there. Now in his second New York Times bestseller, his genius for combining science and art reveals how music shaped humanity across cultures and throughout history.
Dr. Levitin identifies six fundamental song functions or types-friendship, joy, comfort, religion, knowledge, and love-then shows how each in its own way has enabled the social bonding necessary for human culture and society to evolve. He shows, in effect, how these “six songs” work in our brains to preserve the emotional history of our lives and species.
Dr. Levitin combines cutting-edge scientific research from his music cognition lab at McGill University and work in an array of related fields; his own sometimes hilarious experiences in the music business; and illuminating interviews with musicians such as Sting and David Byrne, as well as conductors, anthropologists, and evolutionary biologists. The World in Six Songs is, ultimately, a revolution in our understanding of how human nature evolved-right up to the iPod.
This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession
What can music teach us about the brain? What can the brain teach us about music? And what can both teach us about ourselves?
In this groundbreaking union of art and science, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explores the connection between music—its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it—and the human brain. Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, Levitin reveals:
How composers produce some of the most pleasurable effects of listening to music by exploiting the way our brains make sense of the world ...
Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre ...
That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise ...
How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our head.
Taking on prominent thinkers who argue that music is nothing more than an evolutionary accident, Levitin poses that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language. A Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, This Is Your Brain on Music will attract readers of Oliver Sacks and David Byrne, as it is an unprecedented, eye-opening investigation into an obsession at the heart of human nature.
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