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Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know Hardcover – 1 January 1900
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--Brené Brown, Ph.D., #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dare to Lead The bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals examines the critical art of rethinking: learning to question your opinions and open other people's minds, which can position you for excellence at work and wisdom in life Intelligence is usually seen as the ability to think and learn, but in a rapidly changing world, there's another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn. In our daily lives, too many of us favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt. We listen to opinions that make us feel good, instead of ideas that make us think hard. We see disagreement as a threat to our egos, rather than an opportunity to learn. We surround ourselves with people who agree with our conclusions, when we should be gravitating toward those who challenge our thought process. The result is that our beliefs get brittle long before our bones. We think too much like preachers defending our sacred beliefs, prosecutors proving the other side wrong, and politicians campaigning for approval--and too little like scientists searching for truth. Intelligence is no cure, and it can even be a curse: being good at thinking can make us worse at rethinking. The brighter we are, the blinder to our own limitations we can become. Organizational psychologist Adam Grant is an expert on opening other people's minds--and our own. As Wharton's top-rated professor and the bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take, he makes it one of his guiding principles to argue like he's right but listen like he's wrong. With bold ideas and rigorous evidence, he investigates how we can embrace the joy of being wrong, bring nuance to charged conversations, and build schools, workplaces, and communities of lifelong learners. You'll learn how an international debate champion wins arguments, a Black musician persuades white supremacists to abandon hate, a vaccine whisperer convinces concerned parents to immunize their children, and Adam has coaxed Yankees fans to root for the Red Sox. Think Again reveals that we don't have to believe everything we think or internalize everything we feel. It's an invitation to let go of views that are no longer serving us well and prize mental flexibility over foolish consistency. If knowledge is power, knowing what we don't know is wisdom.
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--Newsweek, Our 21 Favorite Books of 2021 "In a world of aggressive certitude, Adam Grant's latest book is a refreshing mandate for humble open-mindedness. Think Again offers a particularly powerful case for rethinking what we already know . . . that is not just a useful lesson; it could be a vital one."
--Financial Times "In his latest book, Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know, [Grant] is in vintage form."
--The Wall Street Journal
"Think Again delivers smart advice on unlearning assumptions and opening ourselves up to curiosity and humility."
--The Washington Post "Adam Grant's latest book pushes us to reconsider, rethink, reevaluate and reimagine our beliefs, thoughts, and identities and get to the core of why we believe what we do, why it is so important to us, and why we are steadfast to hold on to those ideas and beliefs. . . . It teaches us to stop digging our heels and doubling down and consider other people's points of view so that we may grow our own. Once again, Adam Grant succeeded in turning our very way of thinking upside down as he pushes us to examine the obvious."
--Forbes This book blends psychology and self-help to prove how doubt, failing, and rethinking are instrumental to improving ourselves and our world. . . . In three sections, he outlines why we struggle to embrace feedback, how we can help others rethink effectively, and how our communities can shift to encourage rethinking.
--Business Insider "Grant is a born communicator--engaging and impossibly articulate. . . . Think Again . . . digs into the synaptic weirdness of why we think how we do and how we know what (we think) we know. The bottom line: In a world that's constantly changing, we could all benefit from deliberately reassessing our cherished opinions."
--Goodreads user "Adam Grant believes that keeping an open mind is a teachable skill. And no one could teach this hugely valuable skill better than he does in this wonderful read. The striking insights of this brilliant book are guaranteed to make you rethink your opinions and your most important decisions."
--Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner in economics and #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thinking, Fast and Slow "THIS. This is the right book for right now. Yes, learning requires focus. But, unlearning and relearning requires much more - it requires choosing courage over comfort. In Think Again, Adam Grant weaves together research and storytelling to help us build the intellectual and emotional muscle we need to stay curious enough about the world to actually change it. I've never felt so hopeful about what I don't know."
--Brené Brown, Ph.D., #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dare to Lead "Adam Grant makes a captivating argument that if we have the humility and curiosity to reconsider our beliefs, we can always reinvent ourselves. Think Again helped me learn about how great thinkers and achievers don't let expertise or experience stand in the way of being perpetual students."
--M. Night Shyamalan, director of The Sixth Sense and Split "Readers will find common ground in many of his compelling arguments (ideologies, sports rivals), making this a thought-provoking read."
--Booklist "[A] fast-paced account by a leading authority on the psychology of thinking."
--Library Journal, (starred review)
"For anyone who wants to create a culture of learning and exploration at home, work or school, Grant distills complex research into a compelling case for why each of us should continually question old assumptions and embrace new ideas and perspectives."
--Entrepreneur "It's the idea of flexibility and how to achieve it that I found most compelling in Think Again. As I read the book, I couldn't help but reflect on the times I'd clung to an opinion past its expiration date or imagine what I might have learned from a debate, had I asked a question instead of hurling a rebuttal."
About the Author
- Publisher : Viking (1 January 1900)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1984878107
- ISBN-13 : 978-1984878106
- Dimensions : 23.8 x 3.1 x 16.3 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 45,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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I've now recommended this book to several people in my life. I consider it a must read. 5/5!
“The power of knowing what you don’t know” is an apt summary of the contents. I have not encountered a book on an abstract topic that is such a captivating read.
The author strides through the different types of thinking in various contexts, such as individual, interpersonal, and collective thinking. He effectively guides the reader to consider the possibility of “thinking about how we think”. By removing impulsive responses, rethinking our position, then considering alternative views, and, when appropriate, refining our perspective will improve outcomes and enhance relationships.
Adopting various approaches to interactions, such as a preacher or prosecutor mode, is likely to alienate our position; however, adopting a curious and scientific approach to proposals from others will increase collaboration and the prospects of consensus.
Adam Grant underscores this standpoint with constructive observations on the remarkable success of teams, with individuals who are comfortable with a high degree of divergence in opinion. They have an ability to gain unanimity by a scientific approach of questioning, considering all proposed alternatives then agreeing on the optimal solutions. This contrasts with current norms where teams often have a dominant individual whose ideas are adopted as the group falls in line, ceding to position power. The ability to fully utilise the diversity of knowledge and opinion is compelling.
Adam Grant has exciting insights on education for parents, highlighting the advantages of delivering an environment filled with continuous review and improvement processes. The mundane delivery of facts via lectures is removed with future generations collaborating and reviewing ideas within a team setting. The focus on process rather than the individual will serve them and society far more effectively.
Rethinking how we interact has the power to open up paths that accumulate, distil and distribute the collective greatness of individuals and teams and offers a viable alternative to the extreme polarization of the modern world.
In the must-read category – a few times and then share with those around you!
This book talked about rethinking things we'd been preconditioned with, not only by family, friends and society, but also by ourselves (self-taught). It wasn't a new concept per se, but I agree that it's still not done often enough.
Productivity trains us, humans, to automate things we do repetitively and push them to our subconscious mind so that our active brain doesn't get overwhelmed by every single thing it processes and can focus on the select few, important things. While this makes us operate efficiently, the danger with auto-piloting is that we might get trapped into doing things the same way all the time because 'that's just how they have always been done'. Unlearning and rethinking things then become beneficial to break us off from this pattern. This is what Adam Grant covered in the book.
The topic of 'rethinking' in the book covered many aspects; it ranged from unlearning things, putting us off auto pilot, reviewing the so-called 'best practices', to challenging status quo. None of this was new to me personally, because these were all pretty much the trendy concepts that took popularity in Technology industry circa 3-5 years ago, marketed under the term of 'Digital Disruption'.
I like that this book used a lot of real person/world examples to illustrate certain ideas. I personally would prefer seeing a lot of examples within work/corporate environments because they would be more relatable to me, but I understand that Grant used examples he was most exposed to, which was mostly within the student/university environments. Having said that, there was an inclusion of Melinda Gates (and Microsoft) as a variation, so there was that.
Just like any good social science book, this was written in a great storytelling style. Concepts and examples flowed from one to the next, and circled back to the original topic as relevant.
One topic that hit me the most was in terms of 'influencing'; Grant described that people would have a better success at influencing others to agree on their ideas when they didn't present the subject as a polarising concept/duality (eg. right vs. wrong, right vs. left), but rather as a range of grey area. This was a great takeaway for me. I cheekily also wondered why this wasn't applied to the book itself - rather than just presenting the topic of 'rethinking' as a duality (auto-pilot vs. rethinking) with extensive coverage on the benefits of 'rethinking', wouldn't it be nice for the book to also cover the downside of it, such as losing productivity, overwhelming mind, etc? But of course, that might make the book a lot thicker, potentially rambly, and not as interesting!
Top reviews from other countries
Some of you may recall the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003, when the Space Shuttle Columbia (OV-102) disintegrated as it reentered the atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. Without going into the some of the detail technical details, some of the tiles on the outside of the shuttle fell off when it took off. But this had happened before and so people thought "so what? they have fallen off before, why does it matter?" In this case the result of the tiles falling off was fatal.
Adam also talks about the Dunning–Kruger effect which is a cognitive bias where people will overestimate their ability. Adam goes onto say "If we're certain that we know something, we have no reason to look for gaps and flaws in our knowledge - let alone fill or correct them.”
Adam also talks about research where rival American Football teams worked together to try and create a level of co-operation after generations of ingrained rivalry and aggression.
Certainly worth a read.
If you think rethinking is hard, you think rightly. Our inner Preacher, Prosecutor and Politician stand ready to trip us up: "The risk is that we become so wrapped up in preaching that we’re right, prosecuting others who are wrong, and politicking for support that we don’t bother to rethink our own views."
So what should we do instead? This book helps you find your inner Scientist — infinitely curious, moderately confident, perennially skeptical. Then "you define your identity in terms of values, not opinions", and actively "seek out information that goes against your views."
With expert storytelling and a breezy yet earnest tone, Adam guides you through the perils and rewards of rethinking at the individual, interpersonal, and collective level. In the process, you'll meet a cast of fascinating folks who practice expert-level rethinking. There's Daryl Davis, the Black musician with the hobby of converting KKK members into friends. There's the vaccine whisperer who gets legions of anti-vax parents to vaccinate their kids, and Erin McCarthy who has her students re-write old history textbooks. And the other stories I'm not even mentioning lest I spoil your fun in reading Adam's deft plot twists and big reveals.
I particularly appreciate the plenitude of wisdom in this book, much of it counterintuitive. For example, assembling a "challenge network" of our most thoughtful critics (instead of a support network of yes-men) seems like a useful exercise against overconfidence. And it's heartening that a little bit of impostor syndrome actually renders us more credible. And now that Adam has highlighted the efficacy of motivational interviewing, I will use it much more in my coaching & behavioral change practice.
In addition to being supremely well-structured and instructive, "Think Again" is delightfully quirky. I read 160-180 nonfiction books a year, and it's safe to say I haven't read anything like this. There are a ton of cartoons, real and faux diagrams, and funny-yet-true flowcharts to illustrate points and elicit chuckles. Adam often inserts italicized musings and asides smack in the middle of a paragraph. The epilogue, which is kind of bonkers, embodies rethinking in physical form. And -- mayonnaise.
This is an utterly original book on a topic that not only bears directly upon our success, but also our long-term happiness: "It takes humility to reconsider our past commitments, doubt to question our present decisions, and curiosity to reimagine our future plans. What we discover along the way can free us from the shackles of our familiar surroundings and our former selves. Rethinking liberates us to do more than update our knowledge and opinions—it’s a tool for leading a more fulfilling life." That sounds pretty important to me, so I'll be re-reading rethinking regularly. Get the book for yourself and the other stubborn people you love who think they can pronounce "Worcestershire."
-- Ali Binazir, M.D., M.Phil., Chief Happiness Engineer and author of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible , the highest-rated dating book on Amazon, and Should I Go to Medical School?: An Irreverent Guide to the Pros and Cons of a Career in Medicine
It also REMINDS me of certain biases, habits, and fallacies that one fall for, if not being made conscious from time to time.
Consider the following:
1. Do you want your opinions and knowledge to be made right, or wish (hence claim) that they are right?
2. Do you wear an advocate and politician or scientist hat when looking at a situation?
3. Being competent and being confident are dependent or independent variables? If there is a causal relation, than what is the direction?
4. Asking HOW helps reveal to the overconfident, his depth/shallowness of knowledge and need to know more?
5. Only the secure identity harness the benefit of doubt, Can you?
6. Is your opinion being proven wrong a question about hurt self-identity or joyous occasion of less wrong in future?
7. Is the team encountering relationship conflicts or tasks conflict?
8. Are you able to keep with the challengers because they care, and weed out insecure criticizers?
9. Are your disagreements leading to debate or dispute?
10. The more important the matter, do you rely on presenting more arguments in favour of your side, or few important ones, but explained at length?
11. To solicit feedback, do u use the rating scale to peg response and seek ways to improve the score?
12. Do u assume or ask what kind of evidence will allow others to open their position for a rethink?
13. Stereotypes are rarely questioned by giving counter-evidence but often by asking how do you know? And what would it take to verify?
14. Do u motivate someone to change or nudge someone to think of their own reason to change?
15. Do u base your motivational speech on assumptions, or actually listen through motivational interviewing?
16. Attending lectures are enjoyable to experience, but does that translate into effective learning? Would active learning help you get better grades?
17. How often do u present material that is open to iteration, refinement, and multiple feedbacks to come to better shape? Do u teach the patience to invite suggestions or embrace criticism?
18. How do u marry psychological safety with accountability for results?
19. Psychological safe teams make more errors or reveal more errors?
20. How can u differentiate perseverance vs stubbornness in your stand?
You may be sure of the response to some of them, but in the spirit of think again, do validate with your critiques or take the easy route of checking with Adam!