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A Book a Week- 7

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A Book a Week- 7
By   Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan

Adam Grant is an American organizational psychologist and a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Born on August 13, 1981, in Michigan, he has made significant contributions to the fields of organizational behavior, work motivation, and leadership.

Grant has written several best-selling books, including “Give and Take,” “Originals,” and “Option B” (co-authored with Sheryl Sandberg). These books explore topics such as generosity, creativity, and resilience, providing insights into how individuals can thrive in their personal and professional lives.

“Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know “ by Adam Grant is a well-written and thought-provoking book that challenges readers to think more critically and open-mindedly. Grant, a professor of organizational psychology at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, provides a wealth of evidence and anecdotes to support his argument that the ability to think again is essential for success in today’s world.

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The book is divided into three parts: “The Anatomy of Not Knowing,” “The Power of Rethinking,” and “The Science of Persuasion.” In the first part, Grant discusses the different ways in which our thinking can be biased, and how these biases can lead us to make poor decisions. He also introduces the concept of “challenge networks,” which are groups of people who can help us to see things from different perspectives.

In the second part of the book, Grant focuses on the benefits of rethinking. He argues that rethinking can help us to learn from our mistakes, to make better decisions, and to be more creative. He also provides tips on how to overcome our biases and to become more open to new ideas.

In the third part of the book, Grant discusses the science of persuasion. He argues that persuasion is more likely to be successful when we appeal to people’s emotions, rather than their logic. He also provides tips on how to frame our arguments in a way that is more persuasive.

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Organizational Psychology seems so esoteric. As if couched in academia beyond the ordinary you and me. But Adam Grant is talking about ‘Think’, ‘Think Again’, ‘Procrastination’ and more. All faculties we are aware of. And authors these days have understood the art of telling what they set out to say with stories. And the message reaches the reader with ease.

Grant tells the story of two surgeons who were both highly skilled but had very different approaches to surgery. The first surgeon was very confident in his own abilities and rarely questioned his decisions. The second surgeon was more humble and open to feedback, and he was constantly learning from his mistakes. The book argues that the second surgeon was more likely to be successful because he was willing to think again.

Grant discusses the “curse of knowledge,” which is a cognitive bias that occurs when we know something that others don’t. This can make it difficult for us to communicate effectively with others, because we assume that they know what we know. The book provides tips on how to overcome the curse of knowledge and become more open to new perspectives.

Grant tells the story of how Google Flu Trends, a project that used search data to predict flu outbreaks, made a series of inaccurate predictions. The book argues that the project failed because it was based on the assumption that people who search for flu symptoms are representative of the general population. However, this assumption was wrong, and as a result, Google Flu Trends was unable to accurately predict flu outbreaks.

Grant discusses the concept of a “challenge network,” which is a group of people who challenge our thinking and help us to see things from different perspectives. The book argues that challenge networks are essential for learning and growth, and it provides tips on how to build one.

Think Again is a valuable book for anyone who wants to improve their critical thinking skills and become more open-minded. It is full of insights and practical advice that can help us to make better decisions, to be more creative, and to be more persuasive.

“Think Again” is fine. For that, we need to ‘think’ first. Do we?

(Author of multiple books- is practicing advocate in the Madras High Court)


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