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:–
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