Let’s start here, inside the dustjacket of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know:
Intelligence is usually seen as the ability to think and learn, but in a rapidly changing world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn. In our daily lives, too many of us favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt. We listen to the opinions that make us feel good, instead of ideas that make us think hard … Intelligence is no cure, and it can even be a curse: being good at thinking can make us worse at rethinking. The brighter we are, the blinder to our own limitations we can become.
The book is divided into three parts: Individual Rethinking (updating our own views), Interpersonal Rethinking (opening other people’s minds), and Collective Rethinking (creating communities of lifelong learners).
And there’s a wealth of practical help here. In the section about individual rethinking, I was especially drawn in by Grant’s thoughts on how to question and critique yourself, and the difference between judging yourself and judging your work. In the “Finding the Sweet Spot of Confidence” section of Chapter Two, Grant explores how humility and doubt play a role in success, and how an individual’s perceived intelligence often does not reflect their actual intelligence. (Thought-provoking, isn’t it? Reader, if this concept intrigues you, too, I’d love to talk about it with you!)
In the section on interpersonal rethinking, Grant suggests that “putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes” can never be truly effective, because whatever we assume about the other person will always be flawed.
Instead, Grant suggests that the answer to understanding others is in an attitude of humility and curiosity, which leaves little room for assumption and invites a more collaborative approach.
And then there’s the kicker, section three on collective rethinking. Grant suggests we strategically surround ourselves with disagreeable people. (Yes, you read that right!) Grant argues that agreeable people aren’t going to challenge our thinking. They will simply affirm our conclusions. Disagreeable people, however, can give the critical feedback we might not want to hear, but need to hear, and they can even help us become more comfortable arguing. Grant goes on to offer guidelines for making the most of a team designed for challenging each other.
In addition to the big concepts, there are a lot of little nuggets in this book, too. For instance, why do we insist on asking children we’ve just met what they want to be when they grow up? Grant suggests that by doing so we’re setting them up for tunnel vision, an expectation that identity is tied up in work, and dedication to a career path that might not be a good fit. (Whoa. And we thought that comment was just a fun conversation starter!)
If you don’t feel like reading the entire book, the Actions for Impact chapter at the end is a concise summary of the major points, with practical takeaways.
Reader, I’d love to know what you think about Think Again! (Especially if it makes me think again!)
Here with you,