Think again: The power of knowing what you don't know

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  • Author(s): Grant, Adam
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Booklist Reviews 2021 February #1

Can greater knowledge come from rethinking and unlearning previously accepted information? Psychologist Grant (Give and Take, 2013) walks readers through various scenarios where common perceptions were rendered moot. His first example relates to maneuvers taken by fire jumpers engulfed by a spreading forest fire. The fire chief initiated another fire in order to snuff out the momentum of the forest fire. Only he and two others survived, while nine succumbed to the smoke in attempting to outrun the fire, a strategy based on preconceived knowledge. A failure to adapt thought processes led to the demise of the BlackBerry, as company founder Mike Lazaridis chose not to further develop the attributes of the device, leading to its defeat by the iPhone. Grant delves into the reasons people hesitate to evolve their thinking, from cognitive blind spots to impostor syndrome. An inability to evolve our thinking inhibits our growth both individually and as a society, Grant finds. Readers will find common ground in many of his compelling arguments (ideologies, sports rivals), making this a thought-provoking read. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2020 December

Grant (Wharton Sch.; Organizational Psychology; Give and Take) contends that people are often stuck in their own ideas. The problem is not that these ideas are wrong, but rather that we are unwilling to rethink them. In the first part of this title, he points to people who succeed in large part because they do question their own opinions. The Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman enjoys learning he is wrong, because this enables him to add to his knowledge. By contrast, victims of the Dunning-Krueger effect overestimate their knowledge of subjects about which they know little or nothing. Grant goes on to discuss ways of persuading others to change their beliefs. Here he stresses the ability to listen and ask questions. He concludes with a section on methods of teaching and communication. Rather than teaching by "laying down the law," it is more effective to learn together with one's students. VERDICT Readers with an interest in psychology, as well as the proverbial "general reader," will enjoy this fast-paced account by a leading authority on the psychology of thinking.—David Gordon, Ludwig von Mises Inst., Auburn, AL

Copyright 2020 Library Journal.