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Book review - The art of thinking clearly
Saturday 28, February 2015   |   Post link
the-art-of-thinking-clearly.png "The Art of Thinking Clearly" is a typical book on human behavior. I am using the word 'typical' because a large part of the content is found in other books. This is understandable they are about the same topic. However even the format in which the content is presented is the same as others where a particular human behavior is covered by a single topic with the same set of facts like statistically what percentage of people are found to behave this way, how this behavior is irrational and what we can do to guard against it. What is refreshing is its honesty about what we can do about these behaviors - not a thing which is true. How many days have you truly turned a new leaf?

Some parts of the book got my attention more than others and I'll share some of these here.

Chapter 40: False Prophets

India to become a superpower by 2025. Year 2000 - The End of the World. Demise of the Dollar by 2050. We all have heard such predictions and will continue to hear them. The only reason they surface is because they grab our attention and the media and by the media I mean the advertisers love it. Once the prediction is proved false everyone forgets about it until the next prediction. A research was conducted which compared the accuracy of predictions made by professionals in a particular field over a ten month period versus predictions made about the same subject by a random prediction generator. It was observed that the experts' predictions were only marginally better than the random generator.

Chapter 46: Be Careful What You Wish For

We do what we do for happiness but most of us have no idea what will make us happy and more importantly keep us happy and for how long. For example, living in a so-so apartment close to office might actually result in greater happiness than living in a luxurious apartment thirty miles from work, however we often don't take these factors into consideration when making a decision. This chapter argues that avoiding negatives is more important than acquiring positives. This is something I have found to be true. Only short term happiness can be gained from material things such as cars, houses, bonuses and prizes. It's much better to aim for more autonomy and free-time rather than more things.

Chapter 48: Why Experience Can Damage Our Judgment

The chapter starts off with an example of Kevin who wore the same green polka-dot boxer shorts and nailed three deals. Does it mean that he cannot make a successful deal if he wears something else? I used to have this fallacy; my lucky exam pen.

Chapter 53: Decide Better Decide Less

It seems people make better decisions in the morning say around 10 am. This is because we are fresh, have enough sugar in the blood from breakfast and can therefore analyze and make better decisions. But do we factor this in when deciding the time for a meeting? We are blissfully unaware about our own abilities. We just assume people will perform the same at any time of the day. This is the reason I hate seeing people made to work late.

Chapter 57: If You Have Nothing To Say, Say Nothing

How often have you heard speeches made by politicians, CEOs and maybe even your own manager. Do they ever really say anything at all? The final meaning remains shrouded in mystery even from their own selves. It's sometimes better to accept that the world is complicated and cannot be understood. In such instances it's better to say nothing at all. Now I'd really like senior management to try this.

There are many more but it's more fun to read it the way the author Rolf Dobelli writes it.

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