Top positive review
A profound, utterly original, lighthearted manifesto on a mental skill we could use more of
Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2021
The three hardest things to say in English are "I was wrong", "I'm sorry", and "Worcestershire sauce." Adam Grant can definitely help you with the first two. In a world changing at unprecedented speed, there's a new must-need skill on the block: "Intelligence is traditionally viewed as the ability to think and learn. Yet in a turbulent world, there's another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn."
If you think rethinking is hard, you think rightly. Our inner Preacher, Prosecutor and Politician stand ready to trip us up: "The risk is that we become so wrapped up in preaching that we’re right, prosecuting others who are wrong, and politicking for support that we don’t bother to rethink our own views."
So what should we do instead? This book helps you find your inner Scientist — infinitely curious, moderately confident, perennially skeptical. Then "you define your identity in terms of values, not opinions", and actively "seek out information that goes against your views."
With expert storytelling and a breezy yet earnest tone, Adam guides you through the perils and rewards of rethinking at the individual, interpersonal, and collective level. In the process, you'll meet a cast of fascinating folks who practice expert-level rethinking. There's Daryl Davis, the Black musician with the hobby of converting KKK members into friends. There's the vaccine whisperer who gets legions of anti-vax parents to vaccinate their kids, and Erin McCarthy who has her students re-write old history textbooks. And the other stories I'm not even mentioning lest I spoil your fun in reading Adam's deft plot twists and big reveals.
I particularly appreciate the plenitude of wisdom in this book, much of it counterintuitive. For example, assembling a "challenge network" of our most thoughtful critics (instead of a support network of yes-men) seems like a useful exercise against overconfidence. And it's heartening that a little bit of impostor syndrome actually renders us more credible. And now that Adam has highlighted the efficacy of motivational interviewing, I will use it much more in my coaching & behavioral change practice.
In addition to being supremely well-structured and instructive, "Think Again" is delightfully quirky. I read 160-180 nonfiction books a year, and it's safe to say I haven't read anything like this. There are a ton of cartoons, real and faux diagrams, and funny-yet-true flowcharts to illustrate points and elicit chuckles. Adam often inserts italicized musings and asides smack in the middle of a paragraph. The epilogue, which is kind of bonkers, embodies rethinking in physical form. And -- mayonnaise.
This is an utterly original book on a topic that not only bears directly upon our success, but also our long-term happiness: "It takes humility to reconsider our past commitments, doubt to question our present decisions, and curiosity to reimagine our future plans. What we discover along the way can free us from the shackles of our familiar surroundings and our former selves. Rethinking liberates us to do more than update our knowledge and opinions—it’s a tool for leading a more fulfilling life." That sounds pretty important to me, so I'll be re-reading rethinking regularly. Get the book for yourself and the other stubborn people you love who think they can pronounce "Worcestershire."
-- Ali Binazir, M.D., M.Phil., Chief Happiness Engineer and author of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible, the highest-rated dating book on Amazon, and Should I Go to Medical School?: An Irreverent Guide to the Pros and Cons of a Career in Medicine