Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Time to Think Again

Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal LifeSlightly over two years ago, I wrote this post on The Walkabout, about a most profound book. Aptly titled  Critical Thinking: Tools For Taking Charge Of Your Professional And Personal Life, the book is all about our thoughts, especially how they affect our development and ultimately, the quality of our lives. It then behooves us to channel and leverage our thinking such that we are in charge of our lives.

At the time, I even gave a few copies free to some of our readers.

This book is one of those you keep getting back to read, if only to refresh whatever you have so far gained from it. In this regard, it is worth noting that there is something new to gain every time I take another look at it's priceless insights.

You are What You Think
That's what the good people at say in introducing this book.
Everything you do in life is determined by the quality of your thinking. If you aren't thinking clearly, you're at the mercy of everyone else-from dishonest politicians to aggressive, stop-at-nothing ad agencies. Unfortunately, many people never give any thought to how they think. No wonder they're susceptible to the frustration, pain, ineffectiveness, and financial loss that result directly from poorly considered thinking. Critical Thinking is about becoming a better thinker in every aspect of your life-as a professional, as a consumer, citizen, friend, parent, and even as a lover.

Following is a snapshot of what you'll find inside this awesome book:

Acknowledgment Preface
Ch. 1:    Thinking in a World of Accelerating Change and Intensifying Danger
Ch. 2:    Becoming a Critic of Your Thinking
Ch. 3:    Becoming a Fair-Minded Thinker
Ch. 4:    Self-Understanding
Ch. 5:    The First Four Stages of Development: What Level Thinker are You?
Ch. 6:    The Parts of Thinking
Ch. 7:    The Standards for Thinking
Ch. 8:    Design Your Life
Ch. 9:    The Art of Making Intelligent Decisions
Ch. 10: Taking Charge of Your Irrational Tendencies
Ch. 11:  Monitoring Your Sociocentric Tendencies
Ch. 12:  Developing as an Ethical Reasoner
Ch. 13:  Analyzing and Evaluating Thinking in Corporate and Organizational Life
Ch. 14:  The Power and Limits of Professional Knowledge (And of the Disciplines that Underlie Them)
Ch. 15:  Strategic Thinking Part One
Ch. 16:  Strategic Thinking Part Two
Glossary: A Guide to Critical Thinking Terms and Concepts References

The Challenge
What kind of a thinker are you?
In writing Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life, Richard W. Paul and Linda Elder detail the six stages of thinking. These are:

  • Stage 1 The Unreflective Thinker (we are unaware of significant problems in our thinking)
  • Stage 2 The Challenged Thinker (we become aware of problems in our thinking)
  • Stage 3 The Beginning Thinker (we try to improve, but without regular practice)
  • Stage 4 The Practicing Thinker (we recognize the necessity of regular practice)
  • Stage 5 The Advanced Thinker (we advance in accordance with our practice)
  • Stage 6 The Master Thinker (skilled and insightful thinking becomes second nature)

I very strongly recommend that you get a copy of this book. "Why?" you ask. My answer: You are what you think. It is the quality of your thinking that determines all else.


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