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Think Again
Cover of Think Again
Think Again
The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know
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#1 New York Times Bestseller “THIS. This is the right book for right now. Yes, learning requires focus. But, unlearning and relearning requires much more—it requires choosing courage...
#1 New York Times Bestseller “THIS. This is the right book for right now. Yes, learning requires focus. But, unlearning and relearning requires much more—it requires choosing courage...
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  • #1 New York Times Bestseller
     
    “THIS. This is the right book for right now. Yes, learning requires focus. But, unlearning and relearning requires much more—it requires choosing courage over comfort. In Think Again, Adam Grant weaves together research and storytelling to help us build the intellectual and emotional muscle we need to stay curious enough about the world to actually change it. I’ve never felt so hopeful about what I don’t know.”
    —Brené Brown, Ph.D., #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dare to Lead

    The bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals examines the critical art of rethinking: learning to question your opinions and open other people's minds, which can position you for excellence at work and wisdom in life


    Intelligence is usually seen as the ability to think and learn, but in a rapidly changing world, there's another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn. In our daily lives, too many of us favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt. We listen to opinions that make us feel good, instead of ideas that make us think hard. We see disagreement as a threat to our egos, rather than an opportunity to learn. We surround ourselves with people who agree with our conclusions, when we should be gravitating toward those who challenge our thought process. The result is that our beliefs get brittle long before our bones. We think too much like preachers defending our sacred beliefs, prosecutors proving the other side wrong, and politicians campaigning for approval—and too little like scientists searching for truth. Intelligence is no cure, and it can even be a curse: being good at thinking can make us worse at rethinking. The brighter we are, the blinder to our own limitations we can become.

    Organizational psychologist Adam Grant is an expert on opening other people's minds—and our own. As Wharton's top-rated professor and the bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take, he makes it one of his guiding principles to argue like he's right but listen like he's wrong. With bold ideas and rigorous evidence, he investigates how we can embrace the joy of being wrong, bring nuance to charged conversations, and build schools, workplaces, and communities of lifelong learners. You'll learn how an international debate champion wins arguments, a Black musician persuades white supremacists to abandon hate, a vaccine whisperer convinces concerned parents to immunize their children, and Adam has coaxed Yankees fans to root for the Red Sox. Think Again reveals that we don't have to believe everything we think or internalize everything we feel. It's an invitation to let go of views that are no longer serving us well and prize mental flexibility over foolish consistency. If knowledge is power, knowing what we don't know is wisdom.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    Chapter 1

    A Preacher, a Prosecutor, a Politician, and a Scientist Walk into Your Mind

     

    Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

    -George Bernard Shaw

     

    You probably don't recognize his name, but Mike Lazaridis has had a defining impact on your life. From an early age, it was clear that Mike was something of an electronics wizard. By the time he turned four, he was building his own record player out of Legos and rubber bands. In high school, when his teachers had broken TVs, they called Mike to fix them. In his spare time, he built a computer and designed a better buzzer for high school quiz-bowl teams, which ended up paying for his first year of college. Just months before finishing his electrical engineering degree, Mike did what so many great entrepreneurs of his era would do: he dropped out of college. It was time for this son of immigrants to make his mark on the world.

    Mike's first success came when he patented a device for reading the bar codes on movie film, which was so useful in Hollywood that it won an Emmy and an Oscar for technical achievement. That was small potatoes compared to his next big invention, which made his firm the fastest-growing company on the planet. Mike's flagship device quickly attracted a cult following, with loyal customers ranging from Bill Gates to Christina Aguilera. "It's literally changed my life," Oprah Winfrey gushed. "I cannot live without this." When he arrived at the White House, President Obama refused to relinquish his to the Secret Service.

    Mike Lazaridis dreamed up the idea for the BlackBerry as a wireless communication device for sending and receiving emails. As of the summer of 2009, it accounted for nearly half of the U.S. smartphone market. By 2014, its market share had plummeted to less than 1 percent.

    When a company takes a nosedive like that, we can never pinpoint a single cause of its downfall, so we tend to anthropomorphize it: BlackBerry failed to adapt. Yet adapting to a changing environment isn't something a company does-it's something people do in the multitude of decisions they make every day. As the cofounder, president, and co-CEO, Mike was in charge of all the technical and product decisions on the BlackBerry. Although his thinking may have been the spark that ignited the smartphone revolution, his struggles with rethinking ended up sucking the oxygen out of his company and virtually extinguishing his invention. Where did he go wrong?

    Most of us take pride in our knowledge and expertise, and in staying true to our beliefs and opinions. That makes sense in a stable world, where we get rewarded for having conviction in our ideas. The problem is that we live in a rapidly changing world, where we need to spend as much time rethinking as we do thinking.

    Rethinking is a skill set, but it's also a mindset. We already have many of the mental tools we need. We just have to remember to get them out of the shed and remove the rust.


    Second Thoughts

    With advances in access to information and technology, knowledge isn't just increasing. It's increasing at an increasing rate. In 2011, you consumed about five times as much information per day as you would have just a quarter century earlier. As of 1950, it took about fifty years for knowledge in medicine to double. By 1980, medical knowledge was doubling every seven years, and by 2010, it was doubling in half that time. The accelerating pace of change means that we need to question our beliefs more readily than ever before.

    This is not an easy task. As we sit with our beliefs, they...

About the Author-

  • Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist at Wharton, where he has been the top-rated professor for seven straight years. He is one of TED's most popular speakers, his books have sold millions of copies, his talks have been viewed more than 25 million times, and his podcast WorkLife with Adam Grant has topped the charts. His pioneering research has inspired people to rethink fundamental assumptions about motivation, generosity, and creativity. He has been recognized as one of the world's ten most influential management thinkers and Fortune's 40 Under 40, and has received distinguished scientific achievement awards from the American Psychological Association and the National Science Foundation. Adam received his B.A. from Harvard and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and he is a former Junior Olympic springboard diver. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and their three children.

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The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know
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