Think Again - Adam Grant

2022, Jan 16

I am not a fan of audio books in general. Think Again by Adam Grant is an exception because I think it has been narrated well by the author himself. I listened the Audible audio book for a few minutes everyday. It captured my attention till the end.

In the book, the author talks about how we rarely re-think our decisions and beliefs, and the disadvantage of doing so. Well, one reader on GoodReads left a review saying, "most of us who do not come from a privileged background and are constantly second guessing themselves hardly have this problem, thank you very much". This made me laugh. 😆 Adam Grant has three parts in this book. The first part talks about how re-thinking is good for an individual. The second part talk about how influencers can get others to rethink and change their minds. The third part is about how a society rethinks collectively.

For me, the first part was the most interesting of the three and I'd like to share it with you.

According to Adam Grant, there are three modes of thought that hinders rethinking. He calls them preaching our own beliefs, prosecuting others' thoughts, and politicking for acceptance and validation. He says, when we lack the knowledge and skill to achieve excellence, we sometimes lack the skill and knowledge to judge excellence. We become blind to what we do not know. I think this is where we fallback onto herd mentality and find solace in group thinking.

The solution to this is to have confident humility. You should have confidence that you will achieve your goals but have humility to question whether you have the right tools at the present. That is the sweet spot of confidence between the two extremes of arrogrance and self-doubt.

Another thought in the book that captured my attention - The author says, we are entiteled to have our opinion. Yes, as long as they are inside our head. But if we decide to express it outside, then it is our responsibility to ground them in logic and facts, and change our minds when better evidence turns up.

So what happens when we express our thoughts and find them to be different from others? The author says that task conflicts are good. That is how we grow. However, relation conflicts are not. We should keep emotions out of our feedback or reaction. We should argue like scientists instead of resorting to name calling. We should concentrate on how something should work rather than why it should.

In the next part of the book, where the author talks about convincing other people to rethink, he describes the concept of motivational interview. In this method, the interviewer asks convincing questions and listens to the response with all the respect to the person in front of them instead of preaching. He says, one can be such a good listener that the opposite person feels an inverse charisma.

This book has been a good listen. I believe that it is as much responsibility of the book to hold my attention as much as it is my responsibility to read a book till the end. Think again is one one such well written and well narrated book according to me.