The Art of Thinking Clearly

The Art of Thinking Clearly

5.0 3
by Rolf Dobelli
     
 

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The Art of Thinking Clearly by world-class thinker and entrepreneur Rolf Dobelli is an eye-opening look at human psychology and reasoning — essential reading for anyone who wants to avoid “cognitive errors” and make better choices in all aspects of their lives.

Have you ever: Invested time in something that, with hindsight, just

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Overview

The Art of Thinking Clearly by world-class thinker and entrepreneur Rolf Dobelli is an eye-opening look at human psychology and reasoning — essential reading for anyone who wants to avoid “cognitive errors” and make better choices in all aspects of their lives.

Have you ever: Invested time in something that, with hindsight, just wasn’t worth it? Or continued doing something you knew was bad for you? These are examples of cognitive biases, simple errors we all make in our day-to-day thinking. But by knowing what they are and how to spot them, we can avoid them and make better decisions.

Simple, clear, and always surprising, this indispensable book will change the way you think and transform your decision-making—work, at home, every day. It reveals, in 99 short chapters, the most common errors of judgment, and how to avoid them.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In an age saturated by unprecedented levels of stimuli, it’s harder than ever to do what David Foster Wallace termed “decidering”—that is, figuring out what to ignore, and what to focus on. “Thinking more clearly and acting more shrewdly” requires an enormous amount of effort. But Swiss thinker Dobelli, founder of the ZURICH.MINDS think tank, maintains that mastering this “art” is the key to avoiding “systematic cognitive errors” and achieving success. He maps out these blunders and how to avoid them in brief, pointed chapters, and while each is interesting in its own right, together they are overwhelming: 300 or so pages are minced into 99 chapters. Their format is also wearying—each section consists of a concept (e.g., Paradox of Choice, Fundamental Attribution Error, etc.) wrapped in a tight anecdote that ends too often with a blunt “In conclusion….” As evinced by the epilogue, wherein Dobelli discusses the via negativa, or the path of exclusion, this is mostly about figuring out how to shuck off the unnecessary or the obfuscating. There’s little in the way of advice regarding what to pay attention to, and while this makes Dobelli’s wisdom widely applicable, readers will likely walk away with a much clearer sense of just how foggy the notion of clarity is. Agent: John Brockman, Brockman Inc. (May 14)
Booklist (starred review)
“…a serious examination of the faulty reasoning that leads to repeated mistakes by individuals, businesses, and nations…In this fascinating book, Dobelli does not offer a recipe for happiness but a well-considered treatise on avoiding ‘self-induced unhappiness.’”
Robert Cialdini
“Dobelli examines our most common decision-making failings with engaging eloquence and describes how to counter them with instructive good sense.”
Booklist
"…a serious examination of the faulty reasoning that leads to repeated mistakes by individuals, businesses, and nations…In this fascinating book, Dobelli does not offer a recipe for happiness but a well-considered treatise on avoiding ‘self-induced unhappiness.’"
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
“Rolf Dobelli is endowed with both imagination and realism, a combination hard to find since the 16th century Renaissance.”
Iris Bohnet
“A fireworks show of insights into how our minds work. If you want to avoid tripping on cognitive errors, read this book.”
Financial Times
“…easy-going prose…what [Dobelli] does is pinpoint exactly the assumptions, bias and illusions that shape our thinking and decision-making processes in both business and personal relationships that can cost us dearly as individuals and as a society.”
Kirkus Reviews
A waggish, cautionary compilation of pitfalls associated with systematic cognitive errors, from novelist Dobelli. To be human is to err, routinely and with bias. We exercise deviation from logic, writes the author, as much as, and possibly more than, we display optimal reasoning. In an effort to bring awareness to this sorry state of affairs, he has gathered here--in three-page, anecdotally saturated squibs--nearly 100 examples of muddied thinking. Many will ring familiar to readers (Dobelli's illustrations are not startlingly original, but observant)--e.g., herd instinct and groupthink, hindsight, overconfidence, the lack of an intuitive grasp of probability or statistical reality. Others, if not new, are smartly encapsulated: social loafing, the hourly rate trap, decision fatigue, carrying on with a lost cause (the sunk-cost fallacy). Most of his points stick home: the deformation of professional thinking, of which Mark Twain said, "If your only tool is a hammer, all your problems will be nails"; multitasking is the illusion of attention with potentially dire results if you are eating a sloppy sandwich while driving on a busy street. In his quest for clarity, Dobelli mostly brings shrewdness, skepticism and wariness to bear, but he can also be opaque--e.g., shaping the details of history "into a consistent story...we speak about ‘understanding,' but these things cannot be understood in the traditional sense. We simply build the meaning into them afterward." Well, yes. And if we are to be wary of stories, what are we to make of his many telling anecdotes when he counsels, "Anecdotes are a particularly tricky sort of cherry picking....To rebuff an anecdote is difficult because it is a mini-story, and we know how vulnerable our brains are to those"? Hiccups aside, a mostly valuable compendium of irrational thinking, with a handful of blanket corrective maneuvers.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062359803
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/06/2014
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
79,400
File size:
1 MB

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