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Review of “Think Again” by Adam Grant

Think Again is the work of organisational psychologist Adam Grant, a Wharton University professor. In this 2021 publication, he lays out the merits of going through life with an actively open mind about rethinking anything and everything – from knowledge (especially if you consider yourself an expert on a topic) to beliefs, biases and prejudices, best practices, business models, careers, and relationships.

He cites humility, doubt, and curiosity as the three essential ingredients for productive rethinking, leading to learning and progress. This book even has a chapter entitled “The Joy of Being Wrong”!

According to Adam Grant, there are four mental models that people adopt: Preacher (you think you have all the answers), Prosecutor (attacks the other side), Politician (advocates whatever wins favour with others), and Scientist (rigorously and regularly examines data and different perspectives and adjusts accordingly) – the latter being what we should all be striving towards.

He relates stories of exceptional teachers whose approach to education encouraged rethinking amongst their students and celebrating three or four attempts at something rather than just ‘getting it right’. He also details experiences at world-renowned organisations like Google, the Gates Foundation, Amazon, and NASA, where embracing rethinking improved processes, communication, and innovation – and in the case of NASA, probably saved some lives.

He points out that the key to opening the minds of others is to listen more than you talk, recognise common ground, and acknowledge the shades of grey in so many emotive and polarising issues.

Adam Grant’s message is that we should all maintain a flexible and humble mindset in a rapidly evolving world. And whilst we all need supportive people in our lives, having a ‘challenge network’ is equally important to keep us learning and moving forward. The book closes with a handy summary called “Actions for Impact”, in which he lists thirty practical takeaways from his book.

A copy of Think Again can be found in our Chartered Client Library.

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