Book – Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

Author – Adam M. Grant

Think Again is a book about the benefit of doubt, and about how we can get better at embracing the unknown and the joy of being wrong. Evidence has shown that creative geniuses are not attached to one identity, but constantly willing to rethink their stances and that leaders who admit they don’t know something and seek critical feedback lead more productive and innovative teams.

New evidence shows us that as a mindset and a skilllset, rethinking can be taught and Grant explains how to develop the necessary qualities to do it. Section 1 explores why we struggle to think again and how we can learn to do it as individuals, arguing that ‘grit’ alone can actually be counterproductive. Section 2 discusses how we can help others think again through learning about ‘argument literacy’. And the final section 3 looks at how schools, businesses and governments fall short in building cultures that encourage rethinking.

In the end, learning to rethink may be the secret skill to give you the edge in a world changing faster than ever.

– Goodreads Synopsis

The Power of Being Wrong

One of the most powerful things we can do is admit when we’re wrong. It’s a strength, not a weakness. When we’re wrong, we have the opportunity to learn and grow. We also build trust with others when we admit our mistakes. Grant gives the example of Warren Buffett, who is known for his incredible success as an investor. Buffett said that he made some of his best investments when he was most afraid of being wrong. Why? Because he was willing to doubt himself and change his mind in the face of new evidence.

“We laugh at people who still use Windows 95, yet we still cling to opinions that we formed in 1995.”

― Adam M. Grant, Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

The Joy of Challenging Yourself

We often equate thinking with getting the correct answer. But sometimes, the thinking process is more important than the answer itself. When we’re stuck on a problem, it can be helpful to think about it differently. By challenging ourselves to find new solutions, we can come up with innovative ideas that we would have never thought of if we had just stuck to conventional thinking.

“If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom.”

― Adam M. Grant, Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

Change Your Mind to Find New Answers

Sometimes, the key to finding new answers is changing your mind about what the question is in the first place. When we’re fixated on one way of looking at something, it can be hard to see other possibilities. But if we’re open-minded and willing to consider other points of view, we may find that there are other ways to look at the problem that can lead us to find new solutions. That’s what happened when Anne Wojcicki set out to create a DNA test that would give people information about their health risks. She initially thought that the test would be used by doctors to predict diseases before they happened. But after talking to customers and hearing their concerns, she realized that what they really wanted was information about their genetic makeup so they could make lifestyle choices accordingly. By changing her mind about what customers wanted, she was able to create a product that met their needs and ultimately led to her company’s success.

“We listen to views that make us feel good, instead of ideas that make us think hard.”

― Adam M. Grant, Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

Should I Read It?

In his new book, “Think Again,” Adam Grant overturns many long-held beliefs about thinking and urges us to re-evaluate our assumptions about what it means to be right or wrong. Through stories and research, Grant shows us how great thinkers across various disciplines have achieved their breakthroughs by changing their mindsets and embracing doubt instead of shying away. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking read that will challenge you to see things in a new light, I highly recommend picking up a copy of “Think Again.”

“The less intelligent we are in a particular domain, the more we seem to overestimate our actual intelligence in that domain.”

― Adam M. Grant, Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

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3 comments

  1. Einstein once said, “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge”. I haven’t read this book, but after reading your review I immediately thought of that.

    I work in the medical/science field and so I try my best to be aware of my own biases (we are all human after all). I have to, because I am working with lives, but I think a lot of people could benefit at integrating this mindset into their own lives. Even myself. Imagine all of the infinite possibilities?

    Side note: I went to a conference last weekend (that doesn’t matter) and there was this magician who uses perceptual psychology for his tricks. (Basically he’s a scientist and uses it to make magic) anyway, he was saying how before the internet people had the freedom to sit and wonder about things. Now, we don’t do that. We just google it and whatever information it spits out at us we take as fact. We need more people to wonder. To ask the questions and find out the answers. I thought that was interesting. And no, I’m not a magician, although some of my patients might think so. Haha.

    Like

    1. Yes, the wonder of wondering, instead of googling for an instant answer (which may or may not be correct). As the great bard had Hamlet point out: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio/ Than are dreamt of in your philosophy”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The right answer to most questions is: I don’t know.

    A corollary: don’t be forced into having an opinion on something you know nothing about. It’s a trap to think you need to profess agreement with popular opinions about things very few people understand, especially when they make no material difference to you. Why would anyone who isn’t a research biologist of some sort bother to even have an opinion about evolution? For example. It’s a complicated, messy theory that just doesn’t make any practical difference in the lives of 99% of everybody. Yet whether one “believes” in evolution is a touchstone for membership in the cool kids club. (for the record, I think the origin of species by means of natural selection is essentially correct in its broad sweep. But I’m kind of a geek.)

    Economics, science, technology, politics, international relations, and a dozen other fields- in general, most of us just don’t have any business even having an opinion. But we’ve been shamed into having one.

    Liked by 2 people

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