Literature of Leadership - Think Again


In Think Again, Adam Grant, an American psychologist, bestselling author and professor of organizational psychology at the Wharton Business School, posits that “[C]omplex problems like pandemics, climate change, and political polarization call on us to stay mentally flexible” (p. 250). Grant argues that when involved in discussions on complex issues with others who have polarized points of view, often we can become so wrapped up in “preaching” that we are right, “prosecuting others” to prove they are wrong, and “politicking for support of our own case”, that we don’t bother to “rethink and unlearn” our own outlook. Rather, he argues, we should appreciate the complexity of the issue-at-hand, maintain an open mind by responding with curiosity and interest, and let go of opinions and beliefs that are no longer serving us well.

In this book, Grant draws on research-based concepts and stories from the field to explore how rethinking happens in oneself, in others, and in creating communities. Specifically, in section one, the focus is on how to open our own minds. Grant explores the value of a scientific mind, the importance of learning to recognize our cognitive blind spots, the joy of being wrong, and the psychology of constructive conflict.

In section two, he shifts the focus to how to encourage others to think again. Grant offers proven techniques for opening other people’s minds and influencing people, for diminishing prejudice and destabilizing stereotypes, and illustrates the utility of “motivational interviewing” as a tool for guiding others to self-discovery and new ways of thinking.

In section three, the focus then turns to how to create communities of lifelong learners. Grant addresses how to depolarize divided discussions, teach students to question knowledge, and build cultures of learning.

In the final section, Grant discusses how to avoid tunnel vision and uncover possibilities in life and careers. The book concludes with the author’s top 30 practical takeaways for improving one’s rethinking skills. According to Grant, we can all benefit from, and improve at, thinking again. What do you think?

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