Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th edition

It’s with great pleasure and a little pride that we announce Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th EDITION.

Reading Virtual Minds V1: Science and History, 4th edThat “4th EDITION” part is important. We know lots of people are waiting for Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation and it’s next in the queue.

But until then…

Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th EDITION is about 100 pages longer than the previous editions and about 10$US cheaper. Why? Because Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation is next in the queue.

Some Notes About This Book

I’m actually writing Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation right now. In the process of doing that, we realized we needed to add an index to this book. We also wanted to make a full color ebook version available to NextStage Members (it’s a download on the Member welcome page. And if you’re not already a member, what are you waiting for?)

In the process of making a full color version, we realized we’d misplaced some of the original slides and, of course, the charting software had changed since we originally published this volume (same information, different charting system). Also Susan and Jennifer “The Editress” Day wanted the images standardized as much as possible.

We included an Appendix B – Proofs (starting on page 187) for the curious and updated Appendix C – Further Readings (starting on page 236). We migrated a blog used for reference purposes so there may be more or less reference sources and modified some sections with more recent information.

So this edition has a few more pages and a few different pages. It may have an extra quote or two floating around.

You also need to know that Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History is a “Let’s explore the possibilities” book, not a “How to do it” book. As such, it deals with how NextStage did it (not to mention things that happened along the way). It does not explain how you can do it. This book’s purpose is to open a new territory to you and give you some basic tools for exploration.

There are no magic bullets, quick fixes, simple demonstrations, et cetera, that will turn you into jedis, gurus, kings, queens, samurai, rock stars, mavens, heroes, thought leaders, so on and so forth.

How to Do It starts with Volume II: Experience and Expectation and continues through future volumes in this series. We’ve included a Volume II: Experience and Expectation preview with a How to Do It example on page 302 so you can take a peek if that’s your interest.

That noted, I’m quite sure that you won’t get the full benefit of future volumes without reading this one because unless you’ve read this one you won’t understand the territory you’re exploring in those future volumes.

Reading Virtual Minds V1: Science and History, 4th edThat’s Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th EDITION. It’s so good and so good for you! Buy a copy or two today!


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Situational Awareness, Too Much Information Too Fast, and Voting v Voting with your Feet

Research is fascinating stuff for me and one of my joys is discovering that research NextStage has done either points to research done elsewhere or that research done elsewhere points to research Nextstage has done. It’s kind of a joyous serendipity type of thing.

Case in point, my posts about Voluntary Simplification, Email Bankruptcy and Happiness. These posts all deal with how people adapt to the amount of information coming at them in their lives.

It turns out — and many sources point to this — that the adage “Think Globally, Act Locally”, meaning “The more information you have the better you’re able to deal with a given situation” isn’t accurate at all. The more information people have about something the less they are able to act upon that information, it seems.

Knowing a lot about what’s going on is sometimes called “Situational Awareness” and that is something NextStage has researched greatly, specifically how to get the right amount of information to a decision maker formatted in the most easily digestible yet unbiased way so that the decision maker can quickly make an optimal decision. It’s not necessarily that there’s too much information, it’s often that the information isn’t formatted so that the individual can quickly determine its relevance. This is something my dad use to say as “When someone’s hanging onto a cliff by their fingernails, don’t ask them to play football.”

One strategy for dealing with information that I find fascinating is to move it from action to opinion. Let me give you an example.

Action based information is something like instructions for making my chicken soup. Opinion based information is what I think of my soup. I’m probably going to have a high opinion of my soup and a lesser opinion of your soup unless there’s non-action based reasons for me to favor your soup. Maybe you have something I want (your soup recipe, your business, your friendship, your children), maybe I’m afraid of you and don’t want to incur your wrath, maybe you’re a friend and I don’t want to offend you or hurt your feelings.

In all cases, opinion based information’s value is more political and social than it is actionable and doable. Opinion based information is one of the ways we recognize who is “like” us and who is “different” from us, as in Friend or Foe. Actionable and doable are the province of action based information.

Action based information can exist by itself. The instructions for making chicken soup are the instructions for making chicken soup. It doesn’t matter if you like chicken soup or not, the recipe is the recipe is the recipe.

Opinion based information, however, has trouble existing by itself. An opinion without a follow up action doesn’t serve the general good very well at all. It’s great to learn what someone thinks about something because it can serve as a whetstone for your own thoughts and beliefs…and actions. That’s the key. Opinion based information is “I think such and so” and is fine until someone asks, “What are you going to do about it?” That’s where opinion based information breaks down. Business meetings that don’t end in take-aways and action plans and ownership items don’t move businesses forward at all.

The strategy of moving information from action to opinion as a throttle on information overload is very simple; Opinion doesn’t require you to act. In fact, it’s quite easy to ignore. People may talk about opinion based information (“Did you hear what he said?” “Did you see what she was wearing?” “Did you see that tv show last night?”) and that’s pretty much all they can do.

But act upon it? There’s a world of difference between “I think such and so” and “I think such and so and am going to do this about it.”

The latter is something all Americans are familiar with as I write this. We’re in the middle of presidential campaigns. All we hear is what the candidates think about something and what they’re going to do about it. Doesn’t mean they can or will, only that they’re indicating they will. Why is this so important? Because now doing something is their responsibility, not ours. Our responsibility ends with voting. Once we vote we are again safe, only having to offer opinions and not having to act upon anything other than to nod or shake our heads when others share their opinions with us.

So here’s to that incredible strategy that helps people buffer themselves against the onslaught of information in their lives; All hail The Opinion.

And do let me know when you’d like to get something done.


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