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I(Chris) have not read a non-fiction cover to cover for a long time (in fact, I can’t remember the last one). Recently, while I was in Boston, I toured the bookstores of MIT and Harvard (see earlier posts here and here). This book “Good Thinking” was displayed on the “staff’s pick” table in the MIT Press bookstore.

good thinking cover

The full title of the book is “Good Thinking – Seven powerful ideas that influence the way we think”. It was not hard to read the book because the conceptual topics are written in a way that is concise without sacrificing readability. And just the right amount of examples, including some mathematics are employed to illustrate the concepts. As I am impatient and cannot stand those books that are dominated by case studies or lengthy expositions, this author seems to have found a good balance for my taste.

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The book has 184 pages, averaging about 25 pages per idea –  not bad, given volumes have been written by many about these ideas. I will just briefly mention what those seven ideas are.

#1 – Rational choice: choosing what is most likely to give you what you want.

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#2 – Game theory: when you’re not the only one choosing.

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#3 – Moral decision-making: how we tell right from wrong.

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#4 – Logic: the search for truth through argumentation.

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#5 – Scientific reasoning: hypothesis testing: the search for truth by evaluating evidence and causal reasoning – explaining, predicting and preventing events.

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#6 – Problem solving: the search for solutions to an unwanted situation.

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#7 – Analogical thinking: the realm of insight, discovery and genius.

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Here are a few comments about the book from reviewers.

“…a quick and engaging tour of the landscape of human thinking…”

 and

“…an entertaining and accessible review of the classical theories of reasoning and decision making…”

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A recommendable read if you are in the mood of thinking about thinking.

In case you are wondering, the photos (except the book cover) were taken at home, in nearby towns, in Lyon, Barcelona and Bangkok.

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