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When you understand how the mind works, you can think smarter—and act smarter. Based on the precepts of cognitive science and drawing on a half century of interdisciplinary studies, Smart Thinking is the first book to reveal a three-part formula that distinguishes Smart Thinking from innate intelligence and shows how memory works, how to learn effectively, and how to use When you understand how the mind works, you can think smarter—and act smarter. Based on the precepts of cognitive science and drawing on a half century of interdisciplinary studies, Smart Thinking is the first book to reveal a three-part formula that distinguishes Smart Thinking from innate intelligence and shows how memory works, how to learn effectively, and how to use knowledge when you need to get things done. Beginning with defining the difference between Smart Thinking and innate or raw intelligence, cognitive psychologist Art Markman demonstrates how it is possible to learn Smart Thinking that you can apply to the real world. This engaging and practical book introduces a three-part formula for Smart Thinking, which demonstrates how anyone can: � Develop Smart Habits � Acquire High-Quality Knowledge � Use High-Quality Knowledge when needed Smart Thinking explores each part of the Smart Thinking formula and provides: � An understanding of how the mind works and the means to replace self-limiting habits with those that foster Smart Thinking � Insights into how memory functions and how to improve the quality of what you learn � Ways to present new information effectively � Specific techniques for improving your understanding of how the world works � The ability to define and solve problems by finding the relevant knowledge from any area of expertise and applying it effectively Drawing on multiple research disciplines, including psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, neuroscience, learning sciences, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, and education, Markman provides insights into the functioning of the mind and synthesizes this understanding into practical tools and exercises that develop new skills and achieve personal goals. The book culminates in tips for creating a Culture of Smart to make everyone in an organization more effective.


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When you understand how the mind works, you can think smarter—and act smarter. Based on the precepts of cognitive science and drawing on a half century of interdisciplinary studies, Smart Thinking is the first book to reveal a three-part formula that distinguishes Smart Thinking from innate intelligence and shows how memory works, how to learn effectively, and how to use When you understand how the mind works, you can think smarter—and act smarter. Based on the precepts of cognitive science and drawing on a half century of interdisciplinary studies, Smart Thinking is the first book to reveal a three-part formula that distinguishes Smart Thinking from innate intelligence and shows how memory works, how to learn effectively, and how to use knowledge when you need to get things done. Beginning with defining the difference between Smart Thinking and innate or raw intelligence, cognitive psychologist Art Markman demonstrates how it is possible to learn Smart Thinking that you can apply to the real world. This engaging and practical book introduces a three-part formula for Smart Thinking, which demonstrates how anyone can: � Develop Smart Habits � Acquire High-Quality Knowledge � Use High-Quality Knowledge when needed Smart Thinking explores each part of the Smart Thinking formula and provides: � An understanding of how the mind works and the means to replace self-limiting habits with those that foster Smart Thinking � Insights into how memory functions and how to improve the quality of what you learn � Ways to present new information effectively � Specific techniques for improving your understanding of how the world works � The ability to define and solve problems by finding the relevant knowledge from any area of expertise and applying it effectively Drawing on multiple research disciplines, including psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, neuroscience, learning sciences, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, and education, Markman provides insights into the functioning of the mind and synthesizes this understanding into practical tools and exercises that develop new skills and achieve personal goals. The book culminates in tips for creating a Culture of Smart to make everyone in an organization more effective.

30 review for Smart Thinking: Three Essential Keys to Solve Problems, Innovate, and Get Things Done

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sue Smith

    Welllllll. I can pretty much sum up this book in a few points - using the rule of '3' as this oh-so-helpful book suggests. Let's see ... Reason's for Wanting to Read this Book. 1. Looking for clever ways to help yourself become a better _______ (fill in whatever here - astronaut, scientist, zombie). 2. Looking for smart ways to get past annoying,self depreciating behaviors (in 3 easy steps). 3. Looking for clear and concise ways of defining said problems, and solving them in an intelligent fashion. W Welllllll. I can pretty much sum up this book in a few points - using the rule of '3' as this oh-so-helpful book suggests. Let's see ... Reason's for Wanting to Read this Book. 1. Looking for clever ways to help yourself become a better _______ (fill in whatever here - astronaut, scientist, zombie). 2. Looking for smart ways to get past annoying,self depreciating behaviors (in 3 easy steps). 3. Looking for clear and concise ways of defining said problems, and solving them in an intelligent fashion. What You Will Find in this Book. 1. Lots of fancy lingo 2. Lots of examples of other really smart people and their smart thinking 3. One chapter - that equates to 23 pages - with any added value. And that's pushing it. What I Got Out of this Book. 1. Very little - other than a sense of wonder that Art Markman, Phd has made money on this. 2. The sad feeling that I was duped. It doesn't feel smart. Although I'm wonderously thankful that I borrowed this from the library. 3. I am much smarter than this book makes me feel. What I Can Give to You as Smart Advice 1. Don't read this book. 2. Don't let anyone else read this book. 3. Use this book as a paperweight. On all your smart stuff.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Doc Opp

    Because this book is marketed as a self help book, potential readers might overlook the fact that this is an excellent treatise on cognitive psychology. In fact, Markman is one of the best in the business at synthesizing and communicating what cognitive psychologists have learned about how the mind works, and that's on display here. While there was little 'new' content-wise for me here, as I teach cognitive psychology for a living, I nonetheless appreciated just how cleverly and clearly Markman Because this book is marketed as a self help book, potential readers might overlook the fact that this is an excellent treatise on cognitive psychology. In fact, Markman is one of the best in the business at synthesizing and communicating what cognitive psychologists have learned about how the mind works, and that's on display here. While there was little 'new' content-wise for me here, as I teach cognitive psychology for a living, I nonetheless appreciated just how cleverly and clearly Markman explains and applies various concepts. I found myself thinking that many of his examples, and the logic with which he lays out various principles were better ways of doing it than I've done in some of my lectures, and as such expect that having read the book will make me more effective at teaching Cognition. For folks who aren't as versed in the Cognitive Science literature, this will be a groundbreaking read, and folks like me who are already expert will still find much of value. I was particularly enamored by his point that the nation's high school science curriculum (biology, chemistry, and physics) was set before Cognitive Science even existed. Because of inertia in curriculum, those same basic sciences continue to be taught, and cognitive science has never been added to the canon despite being really important for educated adults to know. This book makes nice strides towards filling that gap, and is an all around engaging and informative read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I listened to this book while driving to a business meeting (that never happened) and then back home. There's some very useful stuff in here, it's just that, unfortunately, this book doesn't really lend itself well to audio format. I say that not because the reader was bad (he wasn't), but more because this book is one that requires you to participate, and audio is a passive medium. There are a lot of little activities and quizzes in this book, meant to gauge how you think about problems, that a I listened to this book while driving to a business meeting (that never happened) and then back home. There's some very useful stuff in here, it's just that, unfortunately, this book doesn't really lend itself well to audio format. I say that not because the reader was bad (he wasn't), but more because this book is one that requires you to participate, and audio is a passive medium. There are a lot of little activities and quizzes in this book, meant to gauge how you think about problems, that are next to impossible to do if you're listening to this, unless you have a lightning fast pause finger. Which I don't. My process: Wake up phone, unlock, access app, press pause... press pause again when the stupid touchscreen doesn't react -- GRRRR! This takes anywhere between 5-20 seconds depending on how sullen my phone is being at any given time. Not exactly conducive to participating in activities the book tells me to do. My phone is a jerk that doesn't want me to learn! Anyway... There is a lot of good stuff in here, regarding tips for being more focused on learning new things, recapping them to yourself, taking overview notes, teaching yourself what you're learning, and learning to think abstractly and analogously about problems, all of which I found useful and will work into my life in varying degrees based on how relevant they are to me. On the other hand, much of the 'causal knowledge' stuff doesn't really seem practical in everyday life. Now, I'm all for learning and having a broad knowledge-base, but my brain doesn't always cooperate with me, and most of the time it feels like new info coming in pushes other info out. Do I need to know how a toilet works? I'm sure it's useful if I need to fix one, but in my day-job, it's not going to help me. I don't frequently (or… ever, to my knowledge) run into problems that would be solved by knowing how a toilet works. Or a lightbulb. Or a grain mill. And there's the crux of the major issue that I had with this book. It doesn't really advocate learning relevant or comparative info or skills based on what you're trying to do. In fact, this book clearly goes to lengths to show how someone trying to solve problem A is going to be much better able to do so by having specific knowledge of completely unrelated item/process/workings of thing B, and the ability to see the connection and relationship between the two. For example, one of the quizzes given in the back half of the book describes a problem (paraphrasing here): A man has a tumor which is most likely malignant, but due to the location of the tumor in his stomach, surgery is impossible. The only option is radiation therapy to kill the tumor, but the same radiation will kill healthy cells around it. How you do treat the man? The answer is to use a low level radiation beam specifically aimed at the tumor, which is apparently the same kind of solution used to fix light bulb filaments. The book then gloats that only 1 out of 10 people would get this solution on their own, but that most people would get it if the lightbulb filamet fix situation was fresh in someone's mind - in this case the tumor test was in chapter 8 (I think) while the filament thing was in chapter 4. If you're wondering, I actually did think of aiming radiation treatments specifically at the tumor, but NOT because of the filament thing, but because that seems like the most common sense thing to do. So, what this book seems to be getting at is: You never know what you may need to know in the future to form a mental analogy between completely unrelated problems. So know all the things. That's not gonna happen. Not for me, anyway. I have enough trouble remembering the 8 million different tools, systems, processes, and concepts I may need in the course of my workday without trying to tack on how jet engines work in case I need to redesign a bidet in 10 years. Still there are some good takeaways, and some things I already (sorta) do without realizing it, so for that, 3 stars. I think I probably would recommend this (if the reader doesn't mind a bit of repetitiveness), but I'd suggest the print version over the audio.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lance

    I found this tome in the bookstore, and I truly believe that I was led to this book the same way I have been led to other books that I have needed. I was looking for some help in devising an integrated system so that I can get more out of what I read. Reading is great, and if you are reading this you likely agree. I don't know many people with a Goodreads account who don't like to read. But I wanted to get more out of what I read, and I have for years. The system I developed had worked sufficient I found this tome in the bookstore, and I truly believe that I was led to this book the same way I have been led to other books that I have needed. I was looking for some help in devising an integrated system so that I can get more out of what I read. Reading is great, and if you are reading this you likely agree. I don't know many people with a Goodreads account who don't like to read. But I wanted to get more out of what I read, and I have for years. The system I developed had worked sufficiently, but I wondered if I could make it more effective or even efficient. To do that I would need to learn more about learning and how the mind works. That's where this book comes in, and it didn't disappoint. Dr. Markman is clearly an expert in his field, but he doesn't flash a bunch of data in a way that leaves the reader befuddled and confused. He writes in a way that seemingly complex concepts are easy to understand. And the ideas he presents explain pretty clearly how the mind works. What I love is the way he boils it all down into about 3 ideas in each chapter. He does this because his own research shows that this practice aids learning retention. How much better would our own presentations be if we all followed Markman's Rule of 3? The whole book is just like that, filled with practical ideas that we can all use and tat are based on sound scientific research. This book was an absolute joy to read, and I am so fascinated with it that I will be combing over it again in greater detail to learn more about the way my mind works and to incorporate as many of the ideas presented into my own system for getting more out of what I read. If you are looking to understand more about the way the mind works, you can't go wrong with this tome. I highly recommend it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Something between self-improvement and a primer on cognitive psychology. I liked it and will listen again and read a paper version. There was an interval in the audio book when the narrator/reader mispronounced causal as casual, which should have been caught by a proof listener and corrected before release. I recommend this book as informational reading for educators and engineers. Those who have read more than a few books on cognitive psychology are not likely to find anything new, but may appre Something between self-improvement and a primer on cognitive psychology. I liked it and will listen again and read a paper version. There was an interval in the audio book when the narrator/reader mispronounced causal as casual, which should have been caught by a proof listener and corrected before release. I recommend this book as informational reading for educators and engineers. Those who have read more than a few books on cognitive psychology are not likely to find anything new, but may appreciate the author's approach.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Max Read

    “A snoozer of a composition” “Smart Thinking” was composed by Art Markman, PHD and claims to reach into the underlying ability to think, reason, make decisions, communicate, and take action all based in leading-edge science with news you can use. The composition never rises to the occasion. It rehashes innate intuitive human ability in a recipe type of layout as though the things that make people different are simply a matter of learning a new skill. Markman implies that with a bit of training an “A snoozer of a composition” “Smart Thinking” was composed by Art Markman, PHD and claims to reach into the underlying ability to think, reason, make decisions, communicate, and take action all based in leading-edge science with news you can use. The composition never rises to the occasion. It rehashes innate intuitive human ability in a recipe type of layout as though the things that make people different are simply a matter of learning a new skill. Markman implies that with a bit of training anyone can invent a ‘Dyson Vacuum”; hardly! It is after all, a plainly decisive matter that some people are “thinkers” and others are not. If it weren’t so, the world would be overburdened with vacuum cleaners, or swim suits or other ingenious devices. The problem lies in the fact that, whether you are capable of learning thinking traits, putting them to use requires something altogether different. I have known many a superior thinker, who quite capably explained the blueprints of a spectacular idea, only to acknowledge he had no further idea of what to do with it. Reverse engineering the success of someone like James Dyson generally yields a plethora of would be traits that subtly suggest that such success can be learned; and it may well be, but learned by someone without the imagination to create something it will fall helplessly on a dunce. In short, I found nothing profound about Markman’s work; no light bulb flashed on and I took away nothing from the recitation of traits that were intuitively clear to begin with. I thought that possibly, the book would have been better had it tried to discern what made Dyson different; not how to emulate what Markman thinks motivated Dyson in the first place for that belongs solely to Dyson. In the end, I didn’t find anything remarkable about the information that Markman tries to instill in his narrative. It was after all, well, boring and in my opinion, useless; as it failed to even recognize that imagination, the motor of intelligence, is derived from substance that is rarely duplicated by training. All and all I didn’t think that the composition was useful and was probably not going to be of value to anyone in changing anything that defines their motivation or imagination; certainly not their success. I highly recommend that you spend your money elsewhere as this work will be a disappointment.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Burke Ruder

    Would not recommend this book. Main ideas are made and then you are dragged on for another 25 pages. Read the chapter titles and main tips directly under the chapter title and send Markman 3 bucks. Save 12.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susan Visser

    I seem to be on a trend of reading books about how the mind works! This one was the lightest weight of the books I've read, but it gave many very practical ways to simplify life by understanding how the brain works and to work with it, rather than against. The brain has evolved to off-load as much work as possible from the conscious part to the amygdala. Think of the amygdala as the part of the brain that automates much of what you do everyday: breathe, blink, even drive to work. To simpilify you I seem to be on a trend of reading books about how the mind works! This one was the lightest weight of the books I've read, but it gave many very practical ways to simplify life by understanding how the brain works and to work with it, rather than against. The brain has evolved to off-load as much work as possible from the conscious part to the amygdala. Think of the amygdala as the part of the brain that automates much of what you do everyday: breathe, blink, even drive to work. To simpilify your life, you should follow routines and smart habits to free up the higher functioning part of the brain. An example that was covered in the book explains it well: most mornings you get up and follow routines to wash up, get dressed, and get to work. You may even forget the details, but it all gets done, easily. Contrast this to the times you are traveling and staying in a hotel. You can no longer go into automatic mode when you get up in the morning... you need to find what you need to wash up, look for light switches, and drive a car that is unfamilar to you to a location that is not part of your normal routine. Your brain will need to work much harder to deal with all these decisions that must be made and you may become mentally exhausted by the effort. Make life easier for yourself and incorporate as many routines and smart habits into your life as possible. Keep your brain power for more important decisions. Your brain has also evolved to group things into categories and to create assumptions about the characteristics of the things that belong in the group. This makes sense if you consider our ancestors had many dangers in their world and they needed to make instant decisions in order to survive. So, if they encountered a bear or other similar large animal, they'd know how to deal with it instantly. Such categories are useful but they can lead to discrimination and stereotyping in our current world. Use this knowledge of how your brain works to challenge your beliefs when making a decision to ensure that you are not letting confirmation biases cloud your judgement. These are just some of the examples of what you'll learn in the book. It is one that I'll listen to again to make sure I pick up all the great tips offered in the book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Frank Spencer

    I'm impressed. There are many hints for becoming a better thinker, which can be used. Some areas covered are writing summaries after reading or being in a meeting, using the role of 3 (derive the 3 main points from anything), how to make connections and see similarities, improving your memory, using habits effectively, using your feelings or intuition when making decisions, and helping those around you to be better thinkers. Using proverbs is mentioned, as is knowing whether you decide too quick I'm impressed. There are many hints for becoming a better thinker, which can be used. Some areas covered are writing summaries after reading or being in a meeting, using the role of 3 (derive the 3 main points from anything), how to make connections and see similarities, improving your memory, using habits effectively, using your feelings or intuition when making decisions, and helping those around you to be better thinkers. Using proverbs is mentioned, as is knowing whether you decide too quickly or slowly. I listened to this one on Audible, and was able to get quite a lot out of it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Deejay Nicke

    This book is written by a PhD who has spent more than 20 years studying cognitive science. He isn't telling us what to think, but rather HOW to think, and think smarter! Good health requires learning about the body, eating right, and exercising. Mental health requires learning about the mind, feeding your mind with quality knowledge, and forming smart habits that make you more effective. Reading this book will set you on the path to Smart Thinking! This book is written by a PhD who has spent more than 20 years studying cognitive science. He isn't telling us what to think, but rather HOW to think, and think smarter! Good health requires learning about the body, eating right, and exercising. Mental health requires learning about the mind, feeding your mind with quality knowledge, and forming smart habits that make you more effective. Reading this book will set you on the path to Smart Thinking!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I reviewed this book for Psych Central -- it's a great book! here's the review. I reviewed this book for Psych Central -- it's a great book! here's the review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pierre

    This book came up on my Amazon account as a book that I would potentially like. I must compliment Amazon's algorithm as it turned out to be a great read and good match for me. Overall, it's a crisp and clear book that gives actionable recommendations (behaviors and thinking habits) to achieve a high standard of problem solving ability. This book came up on my Amazon account as a book that I would potentially like. I must compliment Amazon's algorithm as it turned out to be a great read and good match for me. Overall, it's a crisp and clear book that gives actionable recommendations (behaviors and thinking habits) to achieve a high standard of problem solving ability.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Igor Putina

    Great stuff, easy to put into good use.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dee

    I found this book easy to digest and written interesting enough to keep turning the pages. The book also follows it's own rules mentioned in the words itself, making the whole seem like one rehearsed lecture or presentation. Which isn't bad. Most key points mentioned is repeated in slightly different ways, following the 'three times to remember things' concept. It is an enjoyable and informative book, however, I feel as a whole it is long-winded suggestion to write notes and concise everything to I found this book easy to digest and written interesting enough to keep turning the pages. The book also follows it's own rules mentioned in the words itself, making the whole seem like one rehearsed lecture or presentation. Which isn't bad. Most key points mentioned is repeated in slightly different ways, following the 'three times to remember things' concept. It is an enjoyable and informative book, however, I feel as a whole it is long-winded suggestion to write notes and concise everything to memorable chunks, literally something I learned in AP English class in High School, it's not groundbreaking. But might help someone else.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Olivier Gourment

    Wow. It’s been 4 years since I ordered and devoured the book. I now have the audiobook, the kindle book and the print edition. I find myself still going back to it, even though it’s extremely well organized and contains very few key ideas. But those few ideas are profound and very well explained. This book is a gem. One of the best book I’ve read on the topic of thinking, together with, maybe, David Rock’s Your Brain At Work and Succeed by Heidi Grant Halvorson. Thank you, Dr Markman!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Omar Said

    One of the best books i've ever read. Give me a good glimps about how our mind and memory works One of the best books i've ever read. Give me a good glimps about how our mind and memory works

  17. 4 out of 5

    Achmad Wasil

    Pretty good book of problem solving 101

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mahmoud Ghoz

    The book is very week and almost didn't provide new information. The title and the book brief highly raise my expectations but nothing new The book is very week and almost didn't provide new information. The title and the book brief highly raise my expectations but nothing new

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sal Coraccio

    While the big bang for the buck for this book will be through the print version, and following along and performing the exercises as they appear - it makes a good showing though the audio version. If you chose the latter vehicle, it is best to limit distractions and mentally, at least, stop and perform the exercises as they come up. It is about a 7 hour listen. One of the early points in this book is that raw intelligence is merely an indicator of potential. Truly smart people can access that inte While the big bang for the buck for this book will be through the print version, and following along and performing the exercises as they appear - it makes a good showing though the audio version. If you chose the latter vehicle, it is best to limit distractions and mentally, at least, stop and perform the exercises as they come up. It is about a 7 hour listen. One of the early points in this book is that raw intelligence is merely an indicator of potential. Truly smart people can access that intelligence more readily and - the critical difference - act on it. The author uses plenty of examples for this, and other points similarly throughout. It is a how-to book and covers the creation of smart habits; leveraging studies on how the mind is actually designed and how, for example, that bad habits can only be replaced with other, hopefully, "good" habits. It shows the value of consistent mapping and repetition. The machinery in our mind has evolutionary limitations and it is helpful to know them. One take-away here is that memory isn't designed for recall or recitation - its purpose is protection; to help keep us from making the same mistake twice. Our ability to recall events is hugely inaccurate and is influenced by many things. Even our ability to judge the effectiveness of our event recall is flawed - turn to science for the evidence of this. The book covers, at length, advantages of, and techniques of how to, make self-explanations; to verify knowledge retention (writing reviews like this, btw, is one technique). There is much made of making comparisons; reusing past experiences, and making analogies to interpret and package new experiences. Lots of good here, and it would be really helpful to society in general if more people understood these basic principles of how the mind works. For starters, that memory doesn't do what one think it does- and that cognitive biases run havoc with our decision making processes. Lastly, the book covers how to do exactly that; to help introduce a "culture of smart" within an organization. Quite a worthwhile trade of about seven hours.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    I had to fight my way through this one. While there were some interesting nuggets of information I didn’t find the content engaging enough to be memorable. Glad I’m finished and now moving on

  21. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    To replace bad habits with good habits you have to have a replacement behavior; keep a habit diary to see what triggers your habit you want to change; just list the info then at the end of the week look for patterns; Rule of 3-we can only hold on to 3 items; Use advance organizers to activate background knowledge; always end with a summary; Acquiring knowledge requires WORK-there is no such thing as the Mozart Effect; To really learn we need DESIRABLE DIFFICULTIES; Develop a diagram for a proble To replace bad habits with good habits you have to have a replacement behavior; keep a habit diary to see what triggers your habit you want to change; just list the info then at the end of the week look for patterns; Rule of 3-we can only hold on to 3 items; Use advance organizers to activate background knowledge; always end with a summary; Acquiring knowledge requires WORK-there is no such thing as the Mozart Effect; To really learn we need DESIRABLE DIFFICULTIES; Develop a diagram for a problem you are trying to solve; Keep a notebook and write a summary of 3 things after each experience, meeting, article you read, etc.; Write out a statement of the problem to be solved; Be specific; What is your IMPLEMENTATION INTENTION?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Lynn

    This book explains a great deal about your mind and how it operates. Did you know that you are draining your energy on things that should be small and insignificant aspects of your life? Me neither! It also explains the formation of habits, and outlines how to break from the negative ones. It all sounds like common sense but there is a great deal to be gained from reading it, trust me!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nadinastiti

    This book will help you reduce unnecessary load from your life by making Smart Habits, maximizing your intelligence by acquiring High-Quality Knowledge, and help you Apply Your Knowledge by making comparisons from your own experience. P. S. The words with capital letters are the key words of this book. P. P. S. This book discourages multitasking.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anant Kanndpal

    Repetitive - waste of time and money. The author stresses the importance of stories / examples for "smart thinking" yet he uses only a few himself which are repeated throughout the book. The book is filled with vague allusions & one wouldn't get nothing concrete out of it. Neither an interesting read nor a useful book. Repetitive - waste of time and money. The author stresses the importance of stories / examples for "smart thinking" yet he uses only a few himself which are repeated throughout the book. The book is filled with vague allusions & one wouldn't get nothing concrete out of it. Neither an interesting read nor a useful book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ramesh Naidu

    1 )Write down 3 ideas from the book in one sentence each and also write down how they connect to other examples / situations 2)Create smart habits using repetition and consistent mapping between environment/ time and desired action 3) there is a direct relationship between quality learning and understanding how things work so stoke your curiosity

  26. 4 out of 5

    Omar

    This book is horrible. It just gives you examples of other smart people and pointless tips that the majority of people already know like sleeping better but who doesn't know that? Long, boring and useless. The title should be renamed to "Examples of people who think smartly". This book is horrible. It just gives you examples of other smart people and pointless tips that the majority of people already know like sleeping better but who doesn't know that? Long, boring and useless. The title should be renamed to "Examples of people who think smartly".

  27. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    No new or exciting or actionable ideas... Going to be in the did not finish category

  28. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    Quite the book for anyone chasing abstract thought. ;)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Russell Romney

    Eh. Seemed floofy, redundant, and not really based in believable research. Floofy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    This was an enjoyable book. He came and spoke to us at work and I wanted to make sure that I got all out of the session by reading Smart Thinking as well. I got different things out of the presentation and the book, so both were useful. To a degree my rating is probably a combination of his presentations and the book - it's hard to fully dissociate the two for me. One idea that was great was the importance of causal knowledge. It’s not just knowing that things work, but how things work. This is i This was an enjoyable book. He came and spoke to us at work and I wanted to make sure that I got all out of the session by reading Smart Thinking as well. I got different things out of the presentation and the book, so both were useful. To a degree my rating is probably a combination of his presentations and the book - it's hard to fully dissociate the two for me. One idea that was great was the importance of causal knowledge. It’s not just knowing that things work, but how things work. This is important because it allows you to apply logic and relationships from one area to another. The example he uses is applying knowledge of sawmills to Dyson vacuums. “Because Dyson knew about the way a lot of things work, he had what psychologists call causal knowledge. He also understood that it is possible to apply causal knowledge from one area to another area.” (9) A big theme of the book is creating links between pieces of knowledge so you can readily access them. “It is crucial to have High-Quality Knowledge and to find that knowledge when you need it. My son reached an impasse because he could not find any knowledge that he had that was related to the problem.” (14) Digesting information and contextualizing it is an important step so you can later quickly access it and apply it to another situation. He also spoke about the benefits of habits – talking about system 1 (thinking fast) vs. system 2 (slow, deliberate thinking). “Smart Thinking requires developing smart habits to acquire high-quality knowledge and to apply your knowledge to achieve your goals. “ (16) Habits are mostly good because they allow us to do things without having to spend too much energy on them. “You don’t want to think about all of the details about hot to go about your daily life. When you are forced to think about these details (say, when you are traveling to a new place or have moved to a new home) it is stressful and tiring. Life is better when you don’t have to think specifically about how to do the most trivial and repetitive tasks. Smart Habits enable you to perform desirable behaviors automatically.” (31) While many habits are good, we all certainly have bad habits. He discusses some ways to stop bad habits. Habits usually exist in a certain context – we act one way at home but another way at our parents’ house. This contextual nature of habits can be used if you have an undesirable one that you want to rid yourself of. “A second way to block habitual actions is to disrupt the specific actions that make up the habit. Earlier in this chapter I described the difficulty of waking up in an unfamiliar hotel room. This disruption, which is so frustrating when you are traveling, can be put to your advantage when trying to change habits. Move your dishes around the kitchen…Because you are in position to think about these behaviors, you are engaging the systems in the frontal lobes of your brain that can also be used to stop you from carrying out your habit.” (49) He also discusses the importance of digesting information and trying to fully understand it. He is a proponent of taking a few moments to review what you’ve done, and explore the idea for any gaps in logic or knowledge. We often do not understand things as well as we think we do. “The central finding of this research was that there were many devices that people believed they understood but really did not. They expressed confidence in their ability to explain the way it worked, but when they actually had to produce that explanation, they failed. Rosenblit and Keil call this difference between people’s belief about the quality of their causal knowledge and their actual ability to formulate an explanation the illusion of explanatory depth.” (106) When looking at the differences between ideas or objects, it can be easier for us to have a point of reference and see small differences between items. “Each of these differences involves finding a point of commonality between the pair and then noticing that there is some difference related to this commonality…Because these differences depend on the way your knowledge about the concepts is matched up (what psychological theories call alignment), these differences are called alignable differences.” (127) Markman also discusses our memories a bit. One thing I thought was interesting was that it’s not always necessary to remember things exactly how they happened for a memory to be useful, but sometimes an amalgam of events into a single memory can still serve a useful purpose, even if there are some artistic liberties. “A lot of times when people discuss memory for life events, they are interested in the accuracy of those memories. The information you recall about a birthday party from when you are a child could be an accurate memory of your experience. But it also might be a mixture of a few different parties you attended as a child. It might even have elements of things that you saw in home movies or videos of the party when you were older. For the purpose of Smart Thinking, though, it doesn’t really matter how accurately your memories reflect a particular event of your life.” (158) The part that I liked the most was how to digest and remember things better. One big part was doing more contemplative learning. I sometimes have a tendency to zoom through a book without taking many breaks for contemplation. Markman advises against this. He notes that it is good to spread out learning of a topic out over time and locations so ideas are not all associated with a single time and place. “If you spread your studying out over a longer period of time, the knowledge becomes associated with many different context. When you learn material over several days or weeks, there will be many sights and sounds and smells and emotions across the many different times that you encounter the information you are learning…As a result, there are many different kinds of contexts that may help you remember that information again in the future.” (168) It’s also important to fully digest the information. Instead of just reading it and moving on, it’s important to note what the major takeaways are from your learning, and how they relate to other things. “To ensure that you develop your knowledge, organize your summaries around three elements: object (people), events, and causal understanding…These summaries also provide you with opportunities to identify potential shortfalls in the quality of your causal understanding of situations.” (190) He is big on the rule of 3 – trying to list 3 things that you learned, or whatever, but it seems useful as long as you take the time to digest it. As a person who writes down a few notes after completing a book, I am certainly buying in to that. “To increase the quality of your knowledge, take a productive pause at the end of meetings, lectures, events, and books. Write a summary. Examine your summaries for evidence of gaps in your knowledge and terms whose meanings are not clear. Although you will have to think carefully about these summaries at first, eventually you will create Smart Habits to give good explanations of things to yourself.” (205) He didn’t touch on it as much as he could have, but I also enjoyed his discussion of working as a group. There are so many things that can be done poorly when working with others, and so many man-hours are being used, that it’s vital to use the time spent in meetings wisely. He noted that it’s important to not come up with an idea and decide to do it in the same meeting. There is a certain thrill to coming up with an idea, and it can be important to give some time for that excitement to pass so you can make a more emotion-free decision. “At the end of a session, groups often want closure. They want to leave the meeting feeling as if they had adopted a new direction. As tempting as it is to be able to say that you have adopted a course of action, it is important to realize that the excitement of the group problem-solving setting creates a positive mood that will make you feel rosier about the potential solution. Rather than seeking closure after working hard on a problem and having an insight, rank order the potential solutions…you should revisit the solutions again after several days have gone by.” (202) He also notes the benefits of leveraging a group and not relying entirely on your own abilities. “Smart Thinking ultimately involves good thinking by individuals and by groups. Doing your part to create a Culture of Smart is a way of helping maximize your own success by improving the thinking abilities of the people around you. Ultimately, their Smart Thinking will also feed back to you. Even the flawed ideas of your colleagues can spur you to think about issues in a new way.” (229) Overall, I like Art Markman – he has a good balance between research and practical suggestions. I wish he had a bigger set of case studies and more examples. If the example he had didn’t resonate with you, it was unfortunate because there weren’t all that many examples. I think business books that do the best job of conveying ideas have many, many examples/case studies. It’s a bit more pure psychology centric than many of the other books that I’ve read (which makes sense because he’s a Psychology professor), which was a useful and interesting change of pace. It’s a pretty quick and enjoyable read, and I definitely recommend it.

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