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Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills

ISBN: 978-1-118-72983-0
240 pages
April 2014
Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills (1118729838) cover image
Train your brain for better decisions, problem solving, and innovation

Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills is the comprehensive guide to training your brain to do more for you. Written by a critical thinking trainer and coach, the book presents a pragmatic set of tools to apply critical thinking techniques to everyday business issues. Think Smarter is filled with real world examples that demonstrate how the tools work in action, in addition to dozens of practice exercises applicable across industries and functions, Think Smarter is a versatile resource for individuals, managers, students, and corporate training programs.

Thinking is the foundation of everything you do, but we rely largely on automatic thinking to process information, often resulting in misunderstandings and errors. Shifting over to critical thinking means thinking purposefully using a framework and toolset, enabling thought processes that lead to better decisions, faster problem solving, and creative innovation. Think Smarter provides clear, actionable steps toward improving your critical thinking skills, plus exercises that clarify complex concepts by putting theory into practice. Features include:

  • A comprehensive critical thinking framework
  • Over twenty-five "tools" to help you think more critically
  • Critical thinking implementation for functions and activities
  • Examples of the real-world use of each tool

Learn what questions to ask, how to uncover the real problem to solve, and mistakes to avoid. Recognize assumptions your can rely on versus those without merit, and train your brain to tick through your mental toolbox to arrive at more innovative solutions. Critical thinking is the top skill on the wish list in the business world, and sharpening your ability can have profound affects throughout all facets of life. Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills provides a roadmap to more effective and productive thought.

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Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

Section I Introduction and the Framework for Critical Thinking 1

1 What Is Critical Thinking? 3

2 When to Use Critical Thinking 10

3 The Framework and Tools 16

Section II Clarity 21

4 Empty Your Bucket 23

5 Inspection 28

6 Why? 33

7 So What? 43

8 Need 50

9 Anticipatory Thinking 57

10 What Else? 62

11 The Ingredient Diagram 65

12 Vision 71

13 The Thinking Coach 74

14 Summary of Clarity 79

Section III Conclusions 83

15 It’s All about the Premise 85

16 Facts 90

17 Observations 94

18 Experiences 99

19 Beliefs 104

20 Assumptions 110

21 The Conclusion: Putting It All Together 114

22 Credibility 128

23 Consistency 132

24 Triangular Thinking 136

25 Change 141

26 Influencing and Persuading 147

Section IV Conclusions and Innovation 155

27 Outside-the-Box Thinking 159

28 Abductive Thinking 164

29 Impossible Thinking 172

30 Summary of Conclusions 176

Section V Decisions 179

31 Who, Need, and When 181

32 Criteria 186

33 Risk 189

34 Summary of Decisions 200

Critical Thinking

Summary and Suggestions 203

About the Author 209

Index 211

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MICHAEL KALLET founded HeadScratchers in 2004 to train business professionals and leaders in critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, and creativity. Through workshops, webinars, and keynote speeches, he teaches people to apply critical thinking techniques to real world business challenges. Mike has held leadership positions in business environments ranging from ten-person startups to a $500 million public company.

www.headscratchers.com

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March 26, 2014
What the world needs is a better thinking toolbox.

In today’s ever-changing, fast paced, micro-macroeconomic world, what companies need most from their employees is productive, quality thinking.   Successful employees solve problems.  Valued managers and leaders make quality decisions, and lead their teams, not just to “do”, but to “think”.    In daily life, and at all levels of an organization, the ability to think critically sets us apart from those who don’t.

Just imagine if people thought a little better, a little differently?   How many mistakes would be avoided?  How many opportunities would be found?   What if our political leaders used critical thinking?  Blackberry was the leader in smart phones but was too late to recognize the fast changing paradigm that Apple, Google’s Droid, and Samsung captured.   Radio Shack is closing 1000 stores … could that have been avoided if their thinking was a bit different five or ten years ago?

What about YOU?  What does your thinking tool box look like?  Are you using critical thinking on your important projects and decisions?  

Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills (WILEY; April 2014; Hardover & e-book; $25.00; ISBN: 978-1-118-72983-0) is a comprehensive guide to hone this much needed skill.   Written by critical thinking trainer and coach Michael Kallet, CEO and founder of HeadScratchers (www.headscratchers.com), this book presents a pragmatic set of tools to apply critical thinking techniques to everyday business issues.   As a former executive of a $500 million company, Kallet has real world experience in the application of critical thinking.  Kallet said, “Critical Thinking isn’t rocket science, but we need a little coaching and a toolset to effectively apply it.  That’s why I wrote this book.  It augments everyone’s existing “thinking toolkit” with additional ways to view problems and create solutions.   For the novice critical thinker, it provides a framework that guides them through the process.  For the accomplished critical thinker, it introduces new tools they can add to their existing toolkit.”

Think Smarter contains over 25 easy-to-learn techniques for thinking critically, and putting those techniques into practice.  The result: clarity of issues and high confidence ideas to solve them.  Filled with real world examples that demonstrate how the tools work in action, in addition to dozens of practice exercises applicable across industries and functions, Think Smarter is a versatile resource for individuals, managers, executives, students, and corporate training programs.

Thinking is the foundation of everything you do, but we rely largely on automatic thinking to process information, often resulting in misunderstandings and errors. Shifting over to critical thinking means thinking purposefully using a framework and toolset, and enabling thought processes that lead to better decisions, faster problem solving, and creative innovation. Think Smarter provides clear, actionable steps toward improving your critical thinking skills, plus exercises that clarify complex concepts by putting theory into practice. Features include:

  • A comprehensive critical thinking framework
  • Over twenty-five tools to help you think more critically
  • Critical thinking implementation for functions and activities
  • Examples of the real-world use of each tool

Learn what questions to ask, which mistakes to avoid, and how to uncover the real problem at hand. Recognize assumptions you can rely on versus those without merit, and train your brain to tick through your mental toolbox to arrive at more innovative solutions. Critical thinking is the top skill on the wish list in the business world, and sharpening your ability can have profound affects throughout all facets of life. Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills provides a roadmap to more effective and productive thought.

See More
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