First Draft of On Deciding Better Manuscript Complete

I surprised myself this morning by writing what seemed to be the final words in my first draft of the book I call “On Deciding . . . Better: The New Ecology of Mind and Brain”.

This version of the book started with an outline in Google Docs on May 19, 2020 and took about a year to turn into a very rough first draft. As I’ve talked about before, the process of creating what Scribe Writing calls a “vomit draft” got me unstuck from all of my previous attempts.

The manuscript as it stands is pretty close to how I outlined it, which may not surprising given that this is a project I’ve been mulling over for a long time. More than 20 years if you start counting when I starting this blog in late 1999. The central ideas in the book were mostly present in the earliest posts I made here, but I’ve made some progress and had wanted to create something coherent from all of the work.

I’ve struggled with the problem expressing the ideas contained in the book as short posts in a blog. It’s clear that a manuscript provides the space to build the  concepts that can guide a reader through this journey out of simple enlightenment rationality. So I tried to document the journey I’ve made from the rational theories of decision theory to the ways we really make decisions which are based in ecology and evolution.

The book is a bit over 60,000 words which they tel me is a 300 or so page published book. Now comes editing, which I’m guessing will both remove a good bit of text but identify some gaps that need some more material, so net-net this seems about right.

For the edit, I hope I can focus on coherency and finding those gaps so that I can have a manuscript I trust someone could read and understand the general flow and arguments I’m making. It’s only at that point I can imagine anyone else reading it. I’d like to get it into some final form eventually and move on to another long term project to explore this ever facinating area of what it means to be human. It will be fun to get back into an exploratory mode rather than the grind of 250 to 500 words a day, aimed at filling in an outline of what I’ve learned.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the ODB book once its done. At this point I don’t have much interest in all of the book promotion activity that goes along with publishing these days and I doubt a major publisher would be interested in this niche of neuroscientific philosophy book on decision making. On the other hand, I would like it to reach as large an audience as possible, so I guess that means releasing it on some platform or other and doing some promotion.

So on to editing!

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