In “Look,” Christian Madsbjerg Celebrates the Slow, Patient Act of Observation
“All too often, we humans push papers, ideas, or money around at a monotonous pace with no time for rest and even less time to stay receptive to a glorious moment of insight,” writes Christian Madsbjerg in his astute new book, Look: How to Pay Attention in a Distracted World (Riverhead Books). The result of decades of research and time spent thinking and writing about the subject of observation, Look spans a vast range of theories—from philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s notion of embodied perception, to psychologist Max Wetherheimer’s gestaltism, to anthropologist Franz Boas’s abductive reasoning, to novelist Georges Perec’s “endotics,” to author J.A. Baker’s “systematic watching”—to arrive at several glorious, if sometimes seemingly obvious, moments of insight. Culling together centuries of innovative theory and thought, this is a book expertly tailored to our frazzled, media-saturated, iPhone-as-appendage age.