Adam Grants book, “Think Again: The power of knowing what you don’t know” is a very good and helpful book. Especially for the current times. As James Lovelock exclaimed,
“We live at a time when emotions and feelings count more than the truth and there is a vast ignorance of science.”James Lovelock (in Revenge of the Gaia)
For some reason, I did not think I wanted to read Grants book, however, I am now glad was able to “think again”and read it. As we all aware, sometimes we become stuck in our beliefs and are hesitant to rethink because we are afraid it can make us look bad.
The book helped me learn to embrace confusion and to be excited when I found contradictory information. It also helped me rethink about “Rethinking” and it enabled me to realize that when I discover thoughts could be better, it was a good to change my thoughts. This was one of the best things I got from the book.
The ideas in this book also resonated with me because I remember I had heard about how one of my hero’s, the management guru Dr. W. Edwards Deming would regularly “think again” about his successful ideas. Even though he was highly successful, he never wavered from rethinking his ideas and update them so was able to continually improve.
The podcast,“I Make No Apologies for Learning” by Ron Moen and Cliff Norman for the Deming Institute document and demonstrate how Deming would continually think again about his work. The podcast is based on the response he would provide when people noticed his message had changed and evolved after he would “Think again” and learn. He wanted all to yearn to learn so they could think better. I encourage you to listen to this podcast.
In the podcast they explained that Deming was not always easily accepted because he challenged peoples core beliefs and inspired them to think again. However, as they explained, thinking again took a lot of effort and many were not willing to make that effort. For me, it has been significantly beneficial to “think again”.
While it is impossible to list all the wonderful ways Grant inspired me to rethink with this book, I will mention a few that were helpful to me, please see if any may help you:
- Doubt is helpful because you question your methods
- Task conflict helps find better ways, no conflict means apathy
- Question how, rather than why which also makes it less controversial
- When not able to entertain different ideas, “What evidence would change your mind?”
- To many facts will dilute their impact and audience gets defensive
- Ask, can we debate about the ideas, not emotions
- Acknowledge common ground in any debates, it can invite rethinking
- As facts change, change your opinions
- Challenging core beliefs causes emotional reactions
- Confidence is the result of progress, not just its cause
- Work to IMPROVE, not prove oneself
- Seek to evolve ideas rather than confirm tehm
- We need to rethink because of the accelerating pace of change in the world
- A debate is not a war but a dance where you don’t always lead
- Use curiosity and ask questions
- Asking questions helps people rethink
- Uncertainty signals confident humility and can increase your credibility
- Contested views leave people with blurred vision and guards to be set
- The act of resistance fortifies our psychologic defense system
- Good communicators make their audience, not themselves feel smart
- Acknowledging complexity disrupts overconfidence and spurs rethinking
- Our beliefs are shaped by our motivations and desires of what we want to believe
- Skeptics are scientific and can entertain new ideas
- Deniers are dismissive and often twist facts to fit beliefs
- Limitations are holes in the research but portals to future discoveries
- Emotion should be in conversations, restricting them stymies rethinking
- Inspiring messages are scrutinized less and often forgotten, need to invite rethinking
- Respond to confusion with curiosity and interest
- Confusion is a cue that there is new territory to explore
- Happiness is more about frequency of emotions than its intensity
- Meaning is healthier than happiness
- Often people overemphasize pleasure at the expense of purpose
- Enjoyment wanes, meaning tends to last
- Passions are developed more so than discovered
- Happiness depends on what we do, not where we are
- Interest doesn’t always lead to effort and skill, sometimes it follows
- Aiming at something or someone else to improve often leads to happiness as a side effect
- Questions to ask ourselves about our ideas:What leads to that assumption?
- Why do you think that is correct?
- What might happen if it is wrong?
- What are the uncertainties in your analysis?
- What are the advantages to the idea?
- What are the disadvantages to the idea?
Thinking again can help us generate comprehensive improvements through the creation of net-positive, pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or by practicing paneugenesis. I look forward to hearing about the how you thought again and were able to generate benefits for everyone and everything.
Please share what you learned when you thought again so we all can benefit! Thank you.
Please share your thoughts and questions below.
Contact me: BeWellr@gmail.com