20 September 2022
On Adam Grant’s Think Again
This was an excellent book, but I must admit I did a little bit of Brian-style surface reading with it at times. The first section on personal rethinking was pretty critical information, but as it moved into interpersonal rethinking (convincing others to rethink) and then organizational rethinking (convincing organizations and groups to rethink), I sort of backed off…there is little need to learn the art of organizational rethinking in my current roles. That said, I know now where to find the guidance (in the third part of this book), and can revisit in the future as needed.
In the book's first section, the overarching concept has Buddhist roots – it preaches non-attachment to our own ideas. This is not a new or critically difficult concept for me, although I admit that I often fail in its execution. The idea is that we must be open to change and we must be humble about errors in our own beliefs.
The second section, devoted to changing other peoples’ minds so that they may rethink their own beliefs, proposes that the single most important factor in buying others to your viewpoint (or to entertain a new viewpoint) is to simply ask them questions. Not leading questions. Not pointed questions. But curious, nonjudgmental questions. By asking questions, we can encourage them to think more critically about their preconceived notions; this is how we can show them the errors in their logic – the gaps in their beliefs. It cannot be forced from the outside; it must be invited from within themselves. What a great notion!
This is an excellent book for the standard public audience, but it’s even more practical for those immersed in occupational organizations resistant to change. Worth the read!