Sep 21, 2021 • 1HR 22M

#65: Elizabeth Ricker on Personalizing Your Creative Process

Cognitive Revolution | How Elizabeth taps into the individuality of her own brain—and also everyone else's

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Cody Kommers
Welcome to the Meaning Lab podcast. In each episode, I talk to a scientist, author, or artist about their approach to meaning-making — from language, to productivity, to writing, to travel. It's all fair game, as long as it gets us closer to understanding how we make sense of the world and our place in it.
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This is Cognitive Revolution, my show about the personal side of the intellectual journey. Each week, I interview an eminent scientist, writer, or academic about the experiences that shaped their ideas. The show is available wherever you listen to podcasts.

I really enjoyed this conversation with Elizabeth Ricker; it was one of those conversations where I felt as though I'd found a kindred spirit, someone who goes about life in approximately the same way as myself. Elizabeth did her undergraduate in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT and her master's in Mind, Brain, and Education at Harvard. She is a creature of enthusiasm: she is driven by what strikes her as interesting, and she has no time for anything that doesn't. This made for a fun conversation. We covered a lot of ground: moving through her own story to uncover how she developed the ideas presented in her new book, Smarter Tomorrow. At first, I was a bit skeptical of her concept of "Neurohacking" — whether, as her book's subtitle claims, 15 minutes of neurohacking a day can help you work better, think faster, and get more done. But Elizabeth convinced me. Her work runs really deep. And at it's core it's driven by a philosophy of radical individualization: that what is most important in finding the "right" process is finding the process that works for you. This isn't something we fully appreciate in our productivity cultures, which often prescribes to everyone the approaches that have worked only for a few successful individuals. As Elizabeth presents it, neurohacking is all about finding the productivity niche that is idiosyncratically yours.


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