Think for Yourself: Restoring Common Sense in an Age of Experts and Artificial Intelligence

Think for Yourself: Restoring Common Sense in an Age of Experts and Artificial Intelligence

by Vikram Mansharamani


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We've outsourced too much of our thinking. How do we get it back?

Have you ever followed your GPS device to a deserted parking lot? Or unquestioningly followed the advice of an expert—perhaps a doctor or financial adviser—only to learn later that your own thoughts and doubts were correct? And what about the stories we've all heard over the years about sick patients—whether infected with Ebola or COVID-19—who were sent home or allowed to travel because busy staff people were following a protocol to the letter rather than using common sense? Why and how do these kinds of things happen?

As Harvard lecturer and global trend watcher Vikram Mansharamani shows in this eye-opening and perspective-shifting book, our complex, data-flooded world has made us ever more reliant on experts, protocols, and technology. Too often, we've stopped thinking for ourselves. With stark and compelling examples drawn from business, sports, and everyday life, Mansharamani illustrates how in a very real sense we have outsourced our thinking to a troubling degree, relinquishing our autonomy.

Of course, experts, protocols, and computer-based systems are essential to helping us make informed decisions. What we need is a new approach for integrating these information sources more effectively, harnessing the value they provide without undermining our ability to think for ourselves. The author provides principles and techniques for doing just that, empowering readers with a more critical and nuanced approach to making decisions.

Think for Yourself is an indispensable guide for those looking to restore self-reliant thinking in a data-driven and technology-dependent yet overwhelmingly uncertain world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633699212
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: 06/16/2020
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 363,869
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Vikram Mansharamani is a lecturer at Harvard University and the author of Boombustology: Spotting Financial Bubbles Before They Burst. His ideas and writings have appeared in Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, and many other publications. Mansharamani also advises several Fortune 500 CEOs and their boards on how to navigate uncertainty in today's dynamic global business and regulatory environment. He holds a PhD and two master's degrees from MIT as well as a bachelor's degree from Yale University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

You can find Vikram Mansharamani at:

Table of Contents

Preface: Finding My Mind ix

Introduction: Autonomy Lost 1

Part 1 Losing Control

1 Data, Choice, and FOMO 13

2 Outsourced Thinking 37

Part 2 The Ramifications

3 The Promise and Perils of Focus 53

4 Unintended Blowback 69

5 Learned Dependence and Blind Obedience 89

Part 3 Reclaiming Autonomy

6 Mindfully Manage Focus 107

7 Be Mission-Oriented 127

8 Think for Yourself 143

9 Triangulate Perspectives 157

10 Keep Experts on Tap, Not on Top 175

Part 4 A Path Forward

11 Navigating Uncertainty 199

12 Self-Reliance in the Twenty-First Century 217

Conclusion: Restoring Common Sense 245

Acknowledgments 251

Notes 253

Index 277

About the Author 291

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