Think Again is about the mental flexibility to rethink and question people and opinions you don’t agree with.
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• 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.
• Arrogance is ignorance plus conviction.
• One of the Latin roots of humility means “from the earth.” It’s about being grounded—recognizing that we’re flawed and fallible.
• To unlock the joy of being wrong, we need to detach. Two kinds of detachment are especially useful: detaching your present from your past and detaching your opinion from your identity.
• How do you know? It’s a question we need to ask more often, both of ourselves and of others. It’s nonjudgemental—a straightforward expression of doubt and curiosity that doesn’t put people on the defensive.
• On average, students scored half a letter grade worse under traditional lecturing than through active learning—and students were 1.55 times more likely to fail in classes with traditional lecturing.
• When we dedicate ourselves to a plan and it isn’t going as we hoped, our first instinct isn’t usually to rethink it. Instead, we tend to double down and sink more resources in the plan. This pattern is called escalation of commitment.
• Experiments show that gritty people are more likely to overplay their hands in roulette and more willing to stay the course in tasks at which they’re failing and success is impossible.
• Psychologist find that the more people value happiness, the less happy they often become with their lives.
• If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom.
• It’s a sign of wisdom to avoid believing every thought that enters your mind. It’s a mark of emotional intelligence to avoid internalizing every feeling that enters your heart.
• “Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” -George Bernard Shaw
• If we approach an argument as a war, there will be winners and losers. If we see it more as a dance, we can begin to choreograph a way forward.
• Ask “What evidence would change your mind?” You can’t bully someone into agreeing with you. If the answer is “nothing,” then there’s no point in continuing the debate. It’s often more effective to inquire about what would open their minds, and then see if you can convince them on their own terms.
• Listening is a way of offering others our scarcest, most precious gift: our attention. Once we’ve demonstrated that we care about them and their goals, they’re more willing to listen to us.
• Define your identity in terms of values, not opinions.
• Psychologists find that passions are often developed, not discovered. In a study of entrepreneurs, the more effort they put into their startups, the more their enthusiasm about their business climbed each week. Their passion grew as they gain momentum and mastery. Interest doesn’t always lead to effort and skill; sometimes it follows them.