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Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

#177: Aug. - Oct. 2021 (Non-Fiction)
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Chris OConnor
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Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

Please use this thread to discuss the above chapter.
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LanDroid
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Re: Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

The book starts off with titanium cojones, but switches immediately to academic psychology. It quickly returns to cojones titania so I think this will be a good read.
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Mr. P
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Re: Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

Ooh. I will start shortly.
When you refuse to learn, you become a disease.
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Robert Tulip
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Re: Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

Page 1. A team of smoke jumpers in Montana parachute in to put out a fire, but get trapped by thirty foot flames and have to work out how they can escape in a situation of life or death choice.
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Cattleman
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Re: Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

I have the opportunity to obtain this book in audio format at no cost to me (important for someone on a fixed income). Do you think I could understand it enough to join the forum? It sounds really interesting, and I would like to participate.
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
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Robert Tulip
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Re: Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

Cattleman wrote:I have the opportunity to obtain this book in audio format at no cost to me (important for someone on a fixed income). Do you think I could understand it enough to join the forum? It sounds really interesting, and I would like to participate.
Yes please. Adam Grant writes very clearly, conveying new ideas quite simply.
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Chris OConnor
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Re: Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

I just listened to the summary of the book on Blinkest.com and will order the book. I liked the part about "binary bias" an how everything isn't black and white.
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Re: Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

Page 2 introduces the concept of ‘mental fitness’, defined in terms of ability to rethink and unlearn, rather than just intelligence. After the team got trapped by the fire, the leader lit a small grass fire and lay on the ground on the burnt ground with a wet handkerchief over his mouth. His team thought he had gone crazy and just kept running. The big fire burnt around him. He survived while most of the others were burnt to death. His mental agility enabled him to innovate to survive.
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Re: Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

Robert Tulip wrote:Page 2 introduces the concept of ‘mental fitness’, defined in terms of ability to rethink and unlearn, rather than just intelligence. After the team got trapped by the fire, the leader lit a small grass fire and lay on the ground on the burnt ground with a wet handkerchief over his mouth. His team thought he had gone crazy and just kept running. The big fire burnt around him. He survived while most of the others were burnt to death. His mental agility enabled him to innovate to survive.
I have read this far (only) but already have been drawn in to this book by this story. Everyday I see the same unfortunate results as the majority of the team in this story suffered. The inability to overcome either what folks think they know, refuse to break free from what they believe or to break free from established norms or groupthink. The denial of doing something different for fear of the unknown. And the eventual deterioration of results. Just had a convo Friday where someone blatantly admitted that they were afraid to try something new that was coming down the pike for our organization. Something that I know first hand will be a positive in the long run.

Intelligence has its value, but having the ability to unlearn/relearn is imperative to achieving true knowledge. To me, that's what a freethinking and rational thought approach to life has always been about.
When you refuse to learn, you become a disease.
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Robert Tulip
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Re: Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

Page 3 is about the first-instinct fallacy. Students get told that changing answers in exams is more likely to introduce mistakes. That is wrong. Studies show that most test revisions (from eraser marks in multiple choice exams) change the answer from wrong to right.

It is a problem that people are reluctant to check their work based on this fallacy, and instead prefer to run with the gut. Overcoming such foolish caution through a willingness to think again is a theme of the book.

This is a great example of evidence versus emotion, rather like how people remember the emotion of gambling wins and forget the evidence of their more frequent losses. After exams, people remember the incidents when they changed an answer from right to wrong, but forget the far more numerous instances where they correct an initial error.

The psychology of imprinting on memory is far stronger when we do something that gets hormones running, which occurs with the embarrassment of introducing a mistake. That experience tends to make us more conservative and unwilling to change or innovate, when we would be better off having the flexibility and courage to constantly review whether our views are correct.
Last edited by Robert Tulip on Mon Aug 09, 2021 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

Page 4 asks why we prefer ideas that make us feel good over ideas that make us think hard. Why is human psychology so brittle? We allow our opinions to fossilise into rigid dogmas at a young age, and then bitterly resist any evidence that suggests we should change our minds. This cognitive laziness arises from fear of threats to our identity. People renew their possessions far more easily than their beliefs, even where good evidence shows their belief is wrong.

And did you know that the story of the frog jumping out of hot water is untrue? People have actually done this experiment, and found the frog will jump out of gradually warming water when it gets uncomfortable, but will get badly scalded or killed by being put into hot water. But we can’t let facts get in the way of a good story. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog explains that the traditional fable only works when the frog has had its brain surgically removed. I wonder if that is a metaphor for the mentality of people who insist on believing things that are untrue.
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Re: Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

Fun fact that Grant was a creator of a social network group at Harvard prior to Zuckerberg. I heard it was the Winklevoss BDags only. Was that the same group? In any event... That initial network was abandoned as not something that needed to be continued when folks were physically on the same campus.

So close...so far.
When you refuse to learn, you become a disease.
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Re: Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

I have now received my audio book copy of Mr. Grant's book. I have also 'read' (listened to) the Prologue and Chapter 1. Forgive for using the term 'read' in these posts - it is shorter. :blush:

The prologue took me back some 60 years to a summer, when a college student took a summer job in central Idaho fighting forest fires. Yes, we considered all fires 'bad' in those days. Had a few close calls, but actually enjoyed the adventure. His note on rethinking the "fires are bad" attitude, and current thinking brought me forward several decades to a trip through Yellowstone National Park. Driving along a road, we saw smoke in the distance, and sign along the roadside which read "Natural Fire - Do Not Report."

Chapter 1 really put my mind in gear, as I am sure it did many other readers. I especailly enjoyed the various 'modes' he uses to label mindsets. I try to think of myself as 'scientist,' but realize i often slip into one (or more) of the others.

I have to add one bias of my own to technological change - comfort. I must confess to being comfortable with my desk-top computer, as it is easier for me to use. Blame advancing age, with its inevitable symptoms.

I am looking forward to contiinuing to read "Think Again." :wink:
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
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Re: Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

Page 5 notes that under stress we revert to automatic learned responses, which may often not be adequate for new situations. The extreme example of the Montana wildfire escape shows how improvisation can save us by doing something we have never learned. People see such resourcefulness under acute pressure as genius, something outside the potential of normal people.
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Robert Tulip
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Re: Ch. 1: Think Again by Adam Grant

Page 6 is about the problem of deeply ingrained psychological habits and assumptions. The firefighters who died in Montana had been taught to care for their equipment. So, even though their gear was very heavy and slowed them down, they did not think until the last minute to drop it and run, and only when their leader told them to. Hanging onto their tools and packs was assessed later as the factor that killed them. When habits like this have worn a deep furrow in our neural pathways, it simply does not occur to us to think about changing them. In a crisis we need to think again.
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