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The Art of Thinking Clearly
     

The Art of Thinking Clearly

5.0 3
by Rolf Dobelli
 

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Have you ever . . .

  • Invested time in something that, in hindsight, just wasn't worth it?
  • Paid too much in an eBay auction?
  • Continued to do something you knew was bad for you?
  • Sold stocks too late, or too early?
  • Taken credit for success, but blamed failure on external circumstances?
  • Backed the

Overview

Have you ever . . .

  • Invested time in something that, in hindsight, just wasn't worth it?
  • Paid too much in an eBay auction?
  • Continued to do something you knew was bad for you?
  • Sold stocks too late, or too early?
  • Taken credit for success, but blamed failure on external circumstances?
  • Backed the wrong horse?

These are examples of what the author calls cognitive biases, simple errors all of us make in day-to-day thinking. But by knowing what they are and how to identify them, we can avoid them and make better choices: whether in dealing with personal problems or business negotiations, trying to save money or earn profits, or merely working out what we really want in life—and strategizing the best way to get it.

Already an international bestseller, The Art of Thinking Clearly distills cutting-edge research from behavioral economics, psychology, and neuroscience into a clever, practical guide for anyone who's ever wanted to be wiser and make better decisions. A novelist, thinker, and entrepreneur, Rolf Dobelli deftly shows that in order to lead happier, more prosperous lives, we don't need extra cunning, new ideas, shiny gadgets, or more frantic hyperactivity—all we need is less irrationality.

Simple, clear, and always surprising, this indispensable book will change the way you think and transform your decision making—at work, at home, every day. From why you shouldn't accept a free drink to why you should walk out of a movie you don't like, from why it's so hard to predict the future to why you shouldn't watch the news, The Art of Thinking Clearly helps solve the puzzle of human reasoning.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062359803
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/06/2014
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
102,784
File size:
521 KB

Meet the Author

Rolf Dobelli is a bestselling writer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Zurich.Minds, a community of some of the world's most famed and distinguished thinkers, scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs, and a cofounder of getAbstract, the world's largest publisher of compressed knowledge. He lives in Lucerne, Switzerland.

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The Art of Thinking Clearly 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chapters are just a couple pages long. Tons of great insight into how we see and do things. Higly recommended for those that have any interest in human behavior and how to apply it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am enjoying this book. The format (short chapters) is perfect and it allows for reflection as well. The content is great. Some of it contains information that will be familiar to the reader, but the author provides different perspectives and insight. The reader will find himself/herself applying the suggestions to everyday life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago