• In total there is 1 user online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 1 guest (based on users active over the past 10 minutes)
    Most users ever online was 786 on Sun May 10, 2020 1:56 am

Ch. 2: Think Again by Adam Grant

#177: Aug. - Oct. 2021 (Non-Fiction)
Post Reply
User avatar
Chris OConnor
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
Posts: 16581
Joined: Sun May 05, 2002 2:43 pm
19
Location: Florida
Gender:
Contact:
United States of America

Ch. 2: Think Again by Adam Grant

Ch. 2: Think Again by Adam Grant

Please use this thread to discuss the above chapter.
User avatar
Cattleman
critical of books shorter than 1000 pages
Posts: 1140
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:19 pm
9
Location: Texas

Q

I have just finished "reading" Chapter 2 of Mr. Grant's book, and continue to be impressed by his clear writing style (He is also very easy to listen to) :) I have also discovered a major flaw in using audio books for serious reading (thanks, Robert Tulip); it is impossible to cite a page number. :lol: His armchair quarterbaCK (A.K.A. Monday Morning Quarterback) was quite apt), but his Imposter syndrome took a completely different turn than I was not expecting. I amy post a further comment on this chapter later.
Love what you do, and do what you love. Don't listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. -Ray Bradbury

Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it. -Robert A. Heinlein
User avatar
Mr. P
Has Plan to Save Books During Fire
Posts: 3807
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:16 am
17
Location: NJ
Gender:
United States of America

Re: Ch. 2: Think Again by Adam Grant

I now have audio books as part of my routine. I listen for 1 hour a day driving back and forth to work. Keeps me sane and from stressing about traffic. And gets a few more books a year in.

I have grown to enjoy it.
When you refuse to learn, you become a disease.
User avatar
Mr. P
Has Plan to Save Books During Fire
Posts: 3807
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:16 am
17
Location: NJ
Gender:
United States of America

Re: Ch. 2: Think Again by Adam Grant

The start of chapter 2 tells the story of Ursula Mercz. She was having symptoms of headaches, dizziness, and back pain. She had trouble navigating through space, had trouble locating objects, and started banging into things while walking around.

She was losing her sight, but she would not accept this as an answer to her troubles, even after she went totally blind. Her doctor wrote that "she was mentally blind to her blindness."

Half a century later 6 similar cases were identified. People would proffer any excuse but the reality of their situation: room was too dark, forgot my glasses, my vision isn't good... But i can see.

This phenomenon was identified and first described by Seneca, the Roman philosopher. Now called Antons syndrome, it is know to be caused by damage to the occipital lobe of the brain. Grant seems to believe that we are all susceptible to a version of this malady in our everyday thinking. I can agree. This is making me think... Which I guess is the point!!

Fascinating.
When you refuse to learn, you become a disease.
User avatar
Mr. P
Has Plan to Save Books During Fire
Posts: 3807
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:16 am
17
Location: NJ
Gender:
United States of America

Re: Ch. 2: Think Again by Adam Grant

Too hot? Too cold? Just right. That's what we tend to strive for according to Grant in Ch 2 - What Goldilocks Got Wrong. It also just might be the wrong approach.

Instead, we should reach for the "confidence sweet spot," where we attain confident humility: having faith in our abilities while understanding that we may not be right about our perceptions and means to achieve a goal. This allows us to reexamine.

I am going through this now. I see so much opportunity to improve the company I recently started at. They recently lost their entire staff. Their processes and procedures are...not.

The leader is a self made entrepreneur, and while he is an overall good person, he does have the standard God complex. His second in command (a yes man) has all the knowledge he needs after 3 years in the business and probably his second or third job. He wants nothing to change and has said this out loud...preferring the way they have "always done things."

However...I have earned the bosses ear and he seems to trust me so far. I have been given some rope. And while I am sure of the success of my goals, I am not. I know what I am proposing will work to improve workflows and develop processes (none exist now...so how can any focus hurt) but I am feeling a bit lacking in the confidence to make the changes. I have to rethink and find ways to convince people who are kinda set in their ways and very sceptical about change that change is good.

Most of the staff around me are in my boat just KNOWING something needs to change...or we will eventually have another full staff turnover. So I feel supported. But my brain is now hesitant to push forward. What if I fail?

So this section already hit home and I have only read the first two parts.
When you refuse to learn, you become a disease.
User avatar
Mr. P
Has Plan to Save Books During Fire
Posts: 3807
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:16 am
17
Location: NJ
Gender:
United States of America

Re: Ch. 2: Think Again by Adam Grant

So...I just had a dividend paid regarding my efforts to bring about a change of mindset in my office. A young associate has been studying to become licensed in out trade. There was a reluctance to go through the proper path of pre-licensing study and testing. Seems another state allowed you to bypass this and they had an option to go through that state to obtain a license by just taking the state final test.

Long story short, instead of resorting to preaching about the benefits of going through the study program, I simply offered my assistance with study topics (as a resource to go over the content) and to just be there for any needs while the associate was studying the material for the test. I was hoping to at least have them really study the material and not just take the test until they passed (which is an option unfortunately.) I also was always very positive and encouraging and sought to empower the associate and build confidence.

Turns out the associate passed the first attempt. And late Friday night I got a message thanking me for my help and encouragement and that it was a big part of the result.

Made me feel very good. That, to me, is better than a boss telling me I did well or even a raise. My goal is to always try to lift people up and get them to achieve more than they think they can (believe it or not.)
When you refuse to learn, you become a disease.
User avatar
Robert Tulip
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
Posts: 6223
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 9:16 pm
16
Location: Canberra
Contact:
Australia

Re: Ch. 2: Think Again by Adam Grant

Chapter Two provides an interesting contrast from Iceland. The previous Prime Minister, David Oddsson, is presented as a prime exhibit of the Dunning-Kruger effect, the tendency of incompetent people to believe they are competent. He was personally responsible for Iceland suffering extreme economic damage from the global economic crisis in 2008, due to supremely incompetent decisions made in opposition to the views of experts. Somehow he had been appointed head of the central bank with no relevant qualifications. After being kicked out for incompetence, he later had the effrontery to run for office again. I’m sure many Americans can think of examples of similar overconfidence.

Grant contrasts the arrogant stupidity of Oddsson to another Icelander, Halla Tomasdottir, who felt far too humble to run for office, despite widespread urging that she should. When she eventually did run, she came second, amidst wide disdain for her prospects. Her lack of confidence had made her doubt her ability, in what is known as imposter syndrome

The point Grant takes from this contrast is that imposter syndrome can actually be a good thing, and that data bears this out. People who doubt their own ability tend to perform better than those who are smugly confident.

The subtitle of this book "The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know" is a paradox, rather like the paradox of doubting your ability when you are actually highly competent. Pedantically speaking, we can’t actually know what we don’t know, but we can know that we don’t know it.
User avatar
Harry Marks
Authors are MY fans!
Posts: 1832
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 10:42 am
10

Re: Ch. 2: Think Again by Adam Grant

Robert Tulip wrote:Chapter Two provides an interesting contrast from Iceland. The previous Prime Minister, David Oddsson, is presented as a prime exhibit of the Dunning-Kruger effect, the tendency of incompetent people to believe they are competent. He was personally responsible for Iceland suffering extreme economic damage from the global economic crisis in 2008, due to supremely incompetent decisions made in opposition to the views of experts. Somehow he had been appointed head of the central bank with no relevant qualifications. After being kicked out for incompetence, he later had the effrontery to run for office again. I’m sure many Americans can think of examples of similar overconfidence.
It's an interesting case, though perhaps a little oversold. Iceland is a small country. Everyone in their small elite knows everyone else. This partly means that Oddsson would have probably been someone they could "settle for" as having had some basic familiarity with the kinds of decisions being discussed. It also means he is probably not a good example of Dunning-Kruger. If there was such a contrast between his own belief in himself and the estimate of those around, he would not have been appointed head of the Central Bank. As you allude, Trump is such an example of overconfidence, but his backing for political reasons by the forces of ignorance would never result in him being appointed to any responsible bureaucratic position (nor would he want one - he prefers blaming others to taking responsibility)

There was a nice re-cap of the Icelandic experience at the beginning of the film "Inside Job", which painted the problem partly as an unwillingness to listen to critical voices, but largely as a result of the impressive power of incredibly well-financed outsiders to marshall arguments and offer jobs to dissenters, bringing them on board. A bubble generates massive momentum to feed the mechanism, and massive resources get behind it. And the momentum in the City of London and on Wall Street was far beyond anything Iceland had the resources to resist. When a small economy gets targeted by the gorillas, it is likely to go down.
Robert Tulip wrote:Grant contrasts the arrogant stupidity of Oddsson to another Icelander, Halla Tomasdottir, who felt far too humble to run for office, despite widespread urging that she should. When she eventually did run, she came second, amidst wide disdain for her prospects. Her lack of confidence had made her doubt her ability, in what is known as imposter syndrome

The point Grant takes from this contrast is that imposter syndrome can actually be a good thing, and that data bears this out. People who doubt their own ability tend to perform better than those who are smugly confident.
Yes, I think what I have seen of the data bear this out, that on balance it is a good thing. But for some it can create social barriers to normal skill acquisition, and lead to a downward spiral of failure and shame. As normally happens with these pop analyses, (like Malcolm Gladwell, a master of the genre) the author is willing to draw selectively from the evidence. Not really a fault in this case, but worth keeping alert to.
User avatar
Robert Tulip
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
Posts: 6223
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 9:16 pm
16
Location: Canberra
Contact:
Australia

Re: Ch. 2: Think Again by Adam Grant

Harry Marks wrote:It's an interesting case, though perhaps a little oversold. Iceland is a small country. Everyone in their small elite knows everyone else. This partly means that Oddsson would have probably been someone they could "settle for" as having had some basic familiarity with the kinds of decisions being discussed. It also means he is probably not a good example of Dunning-Kruger. If there was such a contrast between his own belief in himself and the estimate of those around, he would not have been appointed head of the Central Bank.
My brother Peter was on secondment from the Fed to the OECD in Paris before the 2008 global financial crisis, and led an OECD country review of Iceland. But unfortunately he did not predict the rather wayward collapse they suffered as discussed in this example. Oddsson has a long Wikipedia entry, explaining the information Grant skipped over about his previous positions over more than twenty years of national leadership as Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Mayor of the capital city. As my comments were based solely on reading the information in Think Again, this glossing over such essential context seems distorted.
Harry Marks wrote: As you allude, Trump is such an example of overconfidence, but his backing for political reasons by the forces of ignorance would never result in him being appointed to any responsible bureaucratic position (nor would he want one - he prefers blaming others to taking responsibility)
An interesting Salon article discussing the pervasive presence of Dunning Kruger syndrome in right wing politics is at https://www.salon.com/2014/11/29/why_ar ... ing_brain/ quite fascinatingly putting the clash between persuasion and rationality into the context of mythos and logos, and proving that David Dunning is very much a real psychology professor and not just an imaginary name of an effect.
Harry Marks wrote:
There was a nice re-cap of the Icelandic experience at the beginning of the film "Inside Job", which painted the problem partly as an unwillingness to listen to critical voices, but largely as a result of the impressive power of incredibly well-financed outsiders to marshall arguments and offer jobs to dissenters, bringing them on board. A bubble generates massive momentum to feed the mechanism, and massive resources get behind it. And the momentum in the City of London and on Wall Street was far beyond anything Iceland had the resources to resist. When a small economy gets targeted by the gorillas, it is likely to go down.
What I don't get, if as Grant implies libertarian economics is just stupid, is why Iceland has bounced back with such stunning success after its finance system meltdown, with sixth highest GDP per capita in the world.
Harry Marks wrote:As normally happens with these pop analyses, (like Malcolm Gladwell, a master of the genre) the author is willing to draw selectively from the evidence. Not really a fault in this case, but worth keeping alert to.
It looks like Grant has been highly selective and ideological in this hitjob against Oddsson.
Post Reply