Top critical review
Not a new concept, but still an important one!
Reviewed in Australia on 24 December 2021
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!