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Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know – by Adam Grant

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Warning: this book may cause some feelings of self-doubt! Ride them out and see where they go, though.

It was Socrates who famously (allegedly) said “ἓν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα”—”I know that I know nothing”.

Adam Grant wants us to take this philosophy and apply it usefully to modern life. How?

The main premise is that rethinking our plans, answers and decisions is a good thing… Not a weakness. In contrast, he says, a fixed mindset closes us to opportunities—and better alternatives.

He wants us to be sure that we don’t fall into the trap of the Dunning-Kruger Effect (overestimating our abilities because of being unaware of how little we know), but he also wants us to rethink whole strategies, too. For example:

Grant’s approach to interpersonal conflict is very remniscent of another book we might review sometime, “Aikido in Everyday Life“. The idea here is to not give in to our knee-jerk responses to simply retaliate in kind, but rather to sidestep, pivot, redirect. This is, admittedly, the kind of “rethinking” that one usually has to rethink in advance—it’s too late in the moment! Hence the value of a book.

Nor is the book unduly subjective. “Wishy-washiness” has a bad rep, but Grant gives us plenty in the way of data and examples of how we can, for example, avoid losses by not doubling down on a mistake.

What, then, of strongly-held core principles? Rethinking doesn’t mean we must change our mind—it simply means being open to the possibility in contexts where such makes sense.

Grant borrows, in effect, from:

❝Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better… do better!❞

~ Maya Angelou

So, not so much undercutting the principles we hold dear, and instead rather making sure they stand on firm foundations.

All in all, a thought-provokingly inspiring read!

Pick up a copy of “Think Again” on Amazon today!

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