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Think again by adam grant book review

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Details of Think again Book: The power of knowing what you don't know

  • Book Name: Think again: The power of knowing what you don't know
  • Authors:   Adam Grant 
  • Pages: 320
  • Publish Date: 02/02/2021
  • Language: English
  • Genre: Self-Help Book

Book Review:

Think Again by Adam Grant, it is very well written, it flows smoothly from part one which is individual rethinking to part two interpersonal rethinking to part three collective rethinking. 

In the book, adam writes "when I write a book I like to enlist my own challenge network I recruit a group of people who are my most thoughtful critics and that I ask them to tear each chapter apart". it is evident that adam did that with this book.

 the acknowledgement section shows that many people were consulted to improve the book. this book is a labour of love for sure. this book is for anyone who wants to rethink on an individual level or at a collective level or help others to rethink. 

It will be especially appealing for you if you are an analytical person like me, who likes to think about thinking, and rethinking, and rethink about rethinking! it has ideas that can help entrepreneurs, managers, leaders, parents and mostly just anyone with an open mind. 

I should mention that although I have read more than 100 self-help books, this is the first book that I have read on the topic of rethinking. many concepts are explained using graphs and being a person with a scientific background, I love graphs! I think graphs are super cool! 

It has lots of great stories including two stories from NASA. stories involving astronauts and space stations are always fun for me. at the end there is a section called actions for impact where he has summarized all the practical takeaways for you in just a few pages. 

I am all about the practical application of self-help books. if a book just makes you feel good or motivated in the short term, what's the point? I think that it would be a good idea to revisit these practical actions at the end of the book if you don't have time to reread the whole book. 

The only thing that I wasn't a fan of was the weird way he wrote the epilogue at the end. but that is so so minor that I would still give this book five stars. 


This book is an invitation to let go of the knowledge and opinions that are no longer serving you well, and also to anchor yourself in a sense of flexibility rather than consistency. 

Most of us including myself 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. 

But 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 is also a mindset. we often prefer the ease of hanging on to old views over the difficulty of grappling with new ones.

We favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt. we laugh at people who still use Windows 95 yet we still cling to the opinions that we formed in 1995. 

we listen to views that make us feel good instead of ideas that make us think hard. questioning ourselves makes the world more unpredictable. it requires us to admit that the facts may have changed and that what was once right may now be wrong. 

Reconsidering something we believe deeply, can threaten our identities, making it feel as if we're losing a part of ourselves. Adam says that as we think and talk, we often slip into the mindset of a preacher, a prosecutor or a politician. 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. 

Instead of taking on the role of a preacher, prosecutor or politician, adam encourages us to consider acting as a scientist. if you're a scientist by trade, rethinking is fundamental to your profession. you are paid to be constantly aware of the limits of your understanding. 

You're expected to doubt what you know, be curious about what you don't know and update your views based on new data. but being a scientist is not just a profession, it's a frame of mind, a mode of thinking that differs from preaching, prosecuting and politicking. 

Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist. so I learned lots of interesting things about psychology from this book. for example, the dunning-Kruger effect, which says that it's when we lack competence that we're most likely to be brimming with overconfidence.

I definitely know a few people like that! Dunning quips, "the first rule of Dunning Kruger club is that you don't know that you're a member of that club". another concept of psychology that I learned and found fascinating is called motivational interviewing or persuasive listening, which is a technique to help change someone's mind. 

when we're trying to open other people's minds, we can frequently accomplish more by listening than by talking. how can you show any interest in helping people crystallize their own views and uncover their own reasons for the change? 

A good way to start is to increase your question to statement ratio. motivational interviewing starts with an attitude of humility and curiosity. we don't know what might motivate someone else to change but we're genuinely eager to find out. 

The goal isn't to tell people what to do, it is to help them break out of overconfidence cycles and see new possibilities. our role is to hold up a mirror so they can themselves see more clearly, and then empower them to examine their beliefs and behaviours. 

That can activate a rethinking cycle in which people approach their own views more scientifically. but be careful not to use this technique manipulatively. psychologists have found that when people detect an attempt at influence, it can backfire. 

Motivational interviewing requires a genuine desire to help people reach their goals. 

I love the story of the vaccine whisperer where a motivational interviewer was able to change a mom's mind in favour of vaccinating her kids for measles. this woman came from a village of anti-vaxxers and was very adamant about her beliefs. 

The vaccine whisperer changed her mind not by giving her any logic or facts or arguments, but mostly by listening and being curious about her reasons against vaccination. a key turning point for the woman was "when the vaccine whisperer" and this is her own words "told me that whether I choose to vaccinate or not he respected my decision as someone who wanted the best for my kids. just that sentence to me was worth all the gold in the world" said the woman. 

A big practical takeaway for me as a parent is never to ask your kids what they want to be when they grow up. they don't have to define themselves in terms of a career. a single identity can close the door to alternatives. instead of trying to narrow down their options, help them broaden their possibilities. They don't have to be one thing. they can do many things.

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