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A Review of Think Again by Adam Grant

A Review of Think Again by Adam Grant

"Confirmation bias is a result of how we're wired, not how we're flawed." - Adam Grant

Adam Grant’s book “Think Again” delves into the concept of cognitive dissonance and how it influences our decision-making. The author contends that we frequently fall victim to confirmation bias, which can lead to poor decisions. He uses research and examples to show how we can overcome these biases and become more open-minded and curious.

The book begins by describing how we tend to seek information that confirms our existing beliefs while ignoring information that contradicts them. This is known as confirmation bias, and it can result in a variety of issues such as poor decision-making, groupthink, and a lack of innovation.

"Cognitive dissonance occurs when our beliefs and actions are in conflict with each other." - Adam Grant

One of the most effective ways to overcome confirmation bias is to actively seek out information that contradicts our beliefs. This is referred to as disconfirmation bias, and it can assist us in becoming more open-minded and curious. Grant gives several examples, including the use of “devil’s advocates” and “red teams” to accomplish this.

Another method for dealing with confirmation bias is to question our assumptions. This can be accomplished by actively seeking evidence that contradicts our beliefs and considering alternative viewpoints. Grant provides several examples of how this can be done, including through the use of “premortems” and “outside-in thinking”.

"To think again is to challenge our assumptions and change our minds." - Adam Grant

The book also delves into the concept of “belief echoes,” which refers to how social networks can reinforce our beliefs. According to Grant, this can lead to a lack of diversity in thought and a lack of innovation. He gives several examples of how “challenger groups” and “cognitive diversity” can be used to overcome belief echoes.

Another key concept covered in the book is “first principles thinking,” which refers to the ability to deconstruct complex problems into their fundamental building blocks. This can help us think more critically and see the world in new ways. Grant provides several examples of how this can be done, including through the use of “inverted thinking” and “functional fixedness”.

"When we believe something to be true, we're more likely to see evidence that confirms it and ignore evidence that disconfirms it." - Adam Grant

The author also investigates the use of “pre-mortem” as a tool for overcoming confirmation bias. We can anticipate potential problems and develop strategies to avoid them by imagining that a project or decision has failed and then working backwards to identify potential causes.

Grant also talks about the significance of “perspective-taking” in decision-making. We can gain a more complete understanding of a situation and make better decisions by actively considering the perspectives of others. He provides several examples of how this can be done, including through the use of “role-playing” and “perspective-switching”.

"Belief echoes reinforce our opinions and discourage us from seeking out dissenting opinions." - Adam Grant

Grant illustrates his points throughout the book with a variety of examples ranging from personal anecdotes to historical events. He also offers practical strategies for dealing with cognitive dissonance and becoming more open-minded and curious. The book concludes by emphasising the importance of “thinking again” and encouraging readers to challenge their assumptions and be open to new ideas.

Overall, “Think Again” is an insightful and thought-provoking book that challenges readers to question their assumptions and think more critically about the world around them. It is written in an easy-to-read and engaging style, and it contains helpful tips and strategies for overcoming cognitive dissonance and making better decisions. It is highly recommended for anyone who wants to improve their critical thinking abilities and become more open-minded.

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