Practical Intelligence: The Art and Science of Common Sense / Edition 1

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Karl Albrecht's bestselling book Social Intelligence showed ushow dealing with people and social situations can determine successboth at work and in life. Now, in this groundbreaking bookPractical Intelligence, Albrecht takes the next step and explainshow practical intelligence (PI) qualifies as one of the key lifeskills and offers a conceptual structure for defining anddescribing common sense.

Throughout Practical Intelligence, Albrecht shows how peoplewith practical intelligence can employ language skills, make betterdecisions, think in terms of options and possibilities, embraceambiguity and complexity, articulate problems clearly and workthrough to solutions, have original ideas, and influence the ideasof others. Albrecht shows that everyone's PI skills can be improvedwith proper education and training and challenges all ofus—from parents and teachers to executives andmanagers—to upgrade our own skills and help others developtheir own PI abilities.

In his highly readable and thought-provoking style, KarlAlbrecht describes the actual structure of common sense. Heoutlines the four key mental habits that can unlock mentalcapacity: developing mental flexibility; affirmative thinking;adopting language habits that are semantically sane; and valuingideas. Then he shows us, step-by-step, how to develop the fourintegrative "mega-skills" of Bivergent Thinking, HelicopterThinking, Intulogical Thinking, and Viscerational Thinking.Albrecht shares plenty of examples, illustrations, stories, andexercises to guide us to ever higher levels of practicalintelligence.

Albrecht explains the scientific aspects of practicalintelligence and brings it down-to-earth with concrete examples,stories, cases, and practical exercises. Practical Intelligence isthe perfect companion of anyone who wants to learn how to thinkmore clearly and effectively.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Albrecht’s practical intelligence builds on the ideas of multiple intelligence, outlining a series of guidelines and exercises to promote better approaches to problem solving" (Financial Times, Thursday 19th July 2007)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787995652
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/15/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 1,050,610
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Karl Albrecht is a management consultant, executive advisor, futurist, speaker, and author. As Chairman of Karl Albrecht International, he oversees the practical application of his ideas through consulting, seminars, and publishing. He is a prolific writer and the author of the bestselling Service America!, The Northbound Train, Brain Power, The Power of Minds At Work, and Social Intelligence.

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Table of Contents


1. A Problem and an Opportunity.

Accidental Intelligence: The Terminal Assumption.

The Widening "Smart Gap".

The Dumbing of America and the Culture of Amusement.

Knows and Know-Nots: The New Social Divide.

Who Cares? Who Needs to Care?

2. Multiple Intelligences: The Possible Human.

IQ Doesn't Tell the Whole Story.

There Are at Least Six Kinds of "Smart".

Building Out: Applying Theory to Everyday Life.

Build-Out 1: Emotional Intelligence.

Build-Out 2: Social Intelligence.

The Next Build-Out: Practical Intelligence.

3. What Is Practical Intelligence?

Thinking Is a Bodily Function.

Meet Your Biocomputer.

Brain Cycles, Brainwaves, Brain States, and the DailyTrance.

Mind-Modules: You Have Many "Minds".

Mind-Models: Your Portable Reality.

Four Habits That Unlock Your Mental Capacity.

Four Dimensions of PI: Your Mega-Skills.

Getting Started: Upgrading Your Mental "Software".

4. Mental Software Upgrade 1: Developing MentalFlexibility.

Are You a Finished Product?

Dynamic Thinking and Archaic Thinking.

You Might Be a Mental Redneck . . .

The Creative Paradox.

The "Beginner's Mind&": Innocence and Humility.

The "Plexity" Scale.

There Is No Truth—Only Your Truth, His Truth, Her Truth, TheirTruth . . .

How I Learned to Stop Arguing with People.

A New Way to Think About Opinions.

Three Phrases That Can Keep Your Mind Open.

5. Mental Software Upgrade 2: Adopting AffirmativeThinking.

Cleaning Out the Attic: Mental Decontamination.

"Sensorship": Choosing What You Will Allow into Your Mind.

Resistance to Enculturation, a.k.a. "Crap Detecting".

Cleanse Your Mind with a "Media Fast".

Re-Engineering Your Attitudes.

The Attitude of Gratitude.

The Attitude of Abundance.

Practical Altruism.

Meditation, Mindmovies, and Affirmations.

6. Mental Software Upgrade 3: Adopting Sane LanguageHabits.

Language as Mental Software: What You Say Is What You Think.

The "Cookie Cutter" Effect of Language.

Jumping to Confusions: Inferential Thinking.

"Clean" and "Dirty" Language: Strategies for SemanticSanity.

Expressions You Can Remove from Your Vocabulary.

The Self-Conversation: Cleaning Up Your Internal Dialog.

Snappy Comebacks: The Language of Funny.

7. Mental Software Upgrade 4: Valuing Ideas.

Do You Have Lots of Good Ideas? (Almost Everyone Does).

"It Slipped My Mind . . ." (Almost Everything Does).

The Greatest Thinking Tool Ever Invented.

Thinking in Pictures.

Are You a Yes-Person or a No-Person?

The P.I.N. Formula: Protecting Ideas.

Using Your Magical Incubator.

"Metaboxical" Thinking: Breaking the Boundaries.

8. Mega-Skill 1: "Bivergent" Thinking.

The Divergent-Convergent Polarity: The D-C Axis.

Process Consciousness: Managing the "Pivot Point".

Groupthink: The Collusion to Fail.

Brainstorming: More Often Talked About Than Done.

Systematic Creativity: The Balancing Act.

9. Mega-Skill 2: "Helicopter" Thinking.

The Abstract-Concrete Polarity: The A-C Axis.

Visionaries and Actionaries: We Need Both.

Connecting the Dots: You Have to See Them to Connect Them.

Painting the Big Picture: Mindmapping.

Explaining the Big Picture: Using the Language of Ideas.

10. Mega-Skill 3: "Intulogical" Thinking.

The Logical-Intuitive Polarity: The L-I Axis.

Thinking Styles: Yours and Others?

Sequential Thinking: Re-Owning Your Logical Abilities.

Trusting Your Hunches: Re-Owning Your Intuitive Abilities.

The "Zen Mind": Flow and Mindfulness.

11. Mega-Skill 4: "Viscerational" Thinking.

The Rational-Emotive Polarity: The R-E Axis.

First We Decide—Then We Justify: Irrational ThinkingExplained.

We'e All Neurotic, and That's OK.

The Five Primal Fears We Live By: The Psychology of Risk.

Signal Reactions: Disconnecting Your Hot Buttons.

Emotions and Health: If It's on Your Mind, It's on YourBody.

Can You Motivate Yourself? The "Popeye Point".

12. How to Become an Expert Problem Solver.

Forget Those "Five Steps" They Taught You.

Using Heuristic (a.k.a. Natural) Problem Solving.

Your Five Key Mindzones.

The High-Speed Problem-Solving Process.

13. Success Programming: Causing the Outcomes YouWant.

Using What We've Learned.

Mindmovies: Who's Producing Your Life's Story?

Alpha Programming: Making the Movies You Want.

Your Life Wheel: Taking Stock, Setting Priorities, and MakingChanges.


A. Answers to Thinking Exercises.

B. Fifty Tips for Better Thinking.

C. A Vocabulary for Practical Intelligence.

D. A Code of Intelligent Discourse.

E. Learn to Meditate in "One" Lesson: The Harvard Mantra.


About the Author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2007

    A reviewer

    Everyone knows a few super-smart people who continually do super-stupid things. Sure, they can finish a Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in less than 10 minutes, play and win three simultaneous chess games handily and multiply seven digit numbers faster than a calculator. But they also can¿t hold a job, are given to fulminating about bizarre pet causes (¿Restore the Carolingian Dynasty now!¿) and can¿t shut up about their ¿brilliant¿ ideas (¿You mean you didn¿t read my 427-page proof of Goldbach¿s conjecture yet?¿). What¿s going on? Well, if Karl Albrecht¿s ideas are right, IQ isn¿t the whole story of human intelligence. And it may not even be most of the story. Perhaps more important than raw IQ, particularly in today¿s world, is practical intelligence: the ability to use common-sense reasoning in a structured way to solve relevant problems. Fortunately, practical intelligence, like other mental skills, is not fixed at birth. How can you develop it? Start with this sensible book, which we recommend to anyone who wants to be not only smart but also effective.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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