How Often Do You Think Again?

The title comes from one of the quizzes available on Adam Grant’s website.

Who is Adam Grant you may ask?

Here’s a brief bio from his website:

Adam Grant has been Wharton’s (the business school at the University of Pennsylvania) top-rated professor for 7 straight years. As an organizational psychologist, he is a leading expert on how we can find motivation and meaning, and live more generous and creative lives. He has been recognized as one of the world’s 10 most influential management thinkers and Fortune’s 40 under 40.

​He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 5 books that have sold millions of copies and been translated into 35 languages: Think Again, Give and Take, Originals, Option B, and Power Moves. His books have been named among the year’s best by Amazon, Apple, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal. His New York Times article on languishing is one of the most-shared articles of 2021.

Adam hosts WorkLife, a chart-topping TED original podcast. His TED talks on original thinkers and givers and takers have been viewed more than 30 million times. He received a standing ovation at TED in 2016 and was voted the audience’s favorite speaker at The Nantucket Project. His speaking and consulting clients include Google, the NBA, Bridgewater, and the Gates Foundation. He writes on work and psychology for the New York Times, has served on the Defense Innovation Board at the Pentagon, and has been honored as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He has more than 5 million followers on social media and features new insights in his free monthly newsletter, GRANTED.

Not too shabby. By comparison; here is my bio:

Jim Borden has taught at the Villanova School of Business for 35 years.

Anyway, I have read all of Adam’s books, except for his latest, Think Again.

Here is a brief description of the book:

Intelligence is usually seen as the ability to think and learn, but in a rapidly changing world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn. In our daily lives, too many of us favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt. We listen to opinions that make us feel good, instead of ideas that make us think hard. We see disagreement as a threat to our egos, rather than an opportunity to learn. We surround ourselves with people who agree with our conclusions, when we should be gravitating toward those who challenge our thought process. The result is that our beliefs get brittle long before our bones. Intelligence is no cure, and it can even be a curse: there’s evidence that being good at thinking can make us worse at rethinking. The brighter we are, the blinder to our own limitations we can become.

It is on my reading list, but in the meantime, I figured I’d take the quiz to see “how often I think again”. The quiz has 10 questions and takes about five minutes.

Here was the feedback I received:

In our daily lives, we often think like preachers, prosecutors, politicians, and scientists. Psychologists find that we enter preacher mode when we’re defending a sacred value, prosecutor mode when we’re trying to win an argument, politician mode when we’re campaigning for the approval of an audience, and scientist mode when we’re searching for the truth. These mental modes affect our will to question our own opinions and our skill to open other people’s minds.

Here are your scores:

Preacher: 20%
Prosecutor: 0%
Politician: 0%
Scientist: 80%
Other: 0%

Preaching and prosecuting can be effective approaches to opening minds when people don’t hold strong opinions and don’t care deeply about an issue. However, they run the risk of alienating people with deep-seated convictions on topics that matter to them. These modes can also leave us so determined to prove ourselves right and others wrong that we fail to do much rethinking ourselves.

When we’re in politician mode, we’re more focused on building support and more willing to revise our beliefs. The danger is that we come across as hypocrites and change our minds at the wrong times for the wrong reasons.

It’s in scientist mode that we gain mental flexibility. We search for reasons why we might be wrong (not just reasons why we must be right) and revise our opinions based on what we learn. That puts us in a better position to help others learn too.

I like to think that I am open to hearing opinions different than my own, but there have certainly been times when I was a little overzealous in defending my viewpoints, which is perhaps where the preacher score comes from.

Even if the quiz is not too accurate, it does give me pause to think about the value of listening to others with opinions different than my own and rethinking my own beliefs, so that I can get closer to that ever-elusive thing known as the truth…

*image from ThoughtCo

67 thoughts on “How Often Do You Think Again?

  1. Basically, he seems to be advising that we keep an open mind and consider all the possibilities life has to offer. Which I strongly advocate, and stand ready and willing to prove, to anyone who disagrees. And, uh, wait a second . . . Well, I’m sure glad I didn’t take that quiz.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. More than 5 million followers, you are almost there, right?
    My son has more followers than me. LOL! Like many more! But anyway….. interesting. I think it is very good to have an open mind, for we can always learn new things. I think we need to have strong convictions as well. Ones that aren’t just going to blow however the wind blows. The secret is not looking down on someone for their convictions, even when they don’t agree with yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, this is so interesting. I took the quiz, secretly hoping to be mostly scientist or at least the mysterious “other”. Well, my results are a little more preacher than I’d like. But 0% politician. So I can live with that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like a great philosophy of life. Perhaps it would be helpful if we all could share times where we changed our opinions on a topic when we became more educated or enlightened.

    So much of social media, particularly Facebook, seems to be looking for people who share our opinions rather than trying to understand someone else’s point of view.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Here are your scores:
    -Preacher: 50%
    -Prosecutor: 0%
    -Politician: 20%
    -Scientist: 30%
    -Other: 0%

    here I am, and didn’t realize I had a bit of politician or a lot of preacher going on, luckily, there’s a bit of scientist thrown in there to help balance me out, but it sounds like I may need to think again more often. as for your resume, you often have us thinking again -)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I think you left out quite a few published articles and papers from your bio, but you have always been humble about your work. I love the concept of understanding how we think and how to change it in a way that benefits our understanding. Interesting and educational post, Jim!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That was interesting and fun! Although I was tempted with the default humorous answers… I ended up more a scientist than a preacher and not a politician.
    I think being open, aware and questioning our beliefs is key these days!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m guessng we all have a little bit of each style in us. It may depend on which toic we are discussing, since it may be harder to be a scientis with a subject that is near and dear to us, one that we are emotionally attached to…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. As I read his biography, I thought that Adam sounded a real smart arse. But to be fair I followed his line and I thought again. I am now absolutely sure that he’s a smart arse. For fun, though, I did try the quiz, and this is what it gave me:

    Preacher: 40%
    -Prosecutor: 20%
    -Politician: 10%
    -Scientist: 30%
    -Other: 0%

    On what see as the accuracy of that, I have thought again, again, and my final thought on this is: don’t buy books by smart arses who are just out to make a quick buck from you 😊

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m either well-rounded or indecisive and mixed up! I thought it only fair to give him a chance, but I still think he’s a smartarse 😊

        Like

  9. That was a fun quiz. Here are my results:
    -Preacher: 10%
    -Prosecutor: 0%
    -Politician: 10%
    -Scientist: 70%
    -Other: 10%
    I can definitely be a bit preachy sometimes but I was a lot worse before university. I think beign a history major really helped me understand the importance of looking at all aspects of an argument before picking a side.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. you seem pretty balanced; I wonder what the “Other” category represents. Did you choose any of the silly answers, just for fun?

      and I can see how a history major can be valuable for such purposes…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting summary! Though I am now retired, I still need to push myself to think again . . . again . . . and again (then repeat). Thank goodness I can drop in here and realize that Jim will do the thinking for me . . . higher level blathering skills!

    Liked by 1 person

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