You are previewing Practical Intelligence: The Art and Science of Common Sense.
O'Reilly logo
Practical Intelligence: The Art and Science of Common Sense

Book Description

Karl Albrecht’s bestselling book Social Intelligence showed us how dealing with people and social situations can determine success both at work and in life. Now, in this groundbreaking book Practical Intelligence, Albrecht takes the next step and explains how practical intelligence (PI) qualifies as one of the key life skills and offers a conceptual structure for defining and describing common sense.

Throughout Practical Intelligence, Albrecht explains that people with practical intelligence can employ language skills, make better decisions, think in terms of options and possibilities, embrace ambiguity and complexity, articulate problems clearly and work through to solutions, have original ideas, and influence the ideas of others. Albrecht shows that everyone’s PI skills can be improved with proper education and training and challenges all of us—from parents and teachers to executives and managers—to upgrade our own skills and help others develop their own PI abilities.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. PREFACE
  3. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
  4. 1. A PROBLEM AND AN OPPORTUNITY
    1. 1.1. ACCIDENTAL INTELLIGENCE: THE TERMINAL ASSUMPTION
    2. 1.2. THE WIDENING "SMART GAP"
    3. 1.3. THE DUMBING OF AMERICA AND THE CULTURE OF AMUSEMENT
    4. 1.4. KNOWS AND KNOW-NOTS: THE NEW SOCIAL DIVIDE
    5. 1.5. WHO CARES? WHO NEEDS TO CARE?
      1. 1.6. Notes
  5. 2. MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES: The Possible Human
    1. 2.1. IQ DOESN'T TELL THE WHOLE STORY
    2. 2.2. THERE ARE AT LEAST SIX KINDS OF "SMART"
    3. 2.3. BUILDING OUT: APPLYING THEORIES TO EVERYDAY LIFE
    4. 2.4. BUILD-OUT 1: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
    5. 2.5. BUILD-OUT 2: SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE
    6. 2.6. THE NEXT BUILD-OUT: PRACTICAL INTELLIGENCE
      1. 2.7. Notes
  6. 3. WHAT IS PRACTICAL INTELLIGENCE?
    1. 3.1. THINKING IS A BODILY FUNCTION
    2. 3.2. MEET YOUR BIOCOMPUTER
      1. 3.2.1. Hemispheres, Lobes, and Functions
      2. 3.2.2. The Basal Region: Your Reptilian Brain
      3. 3.2.3. The Mid-Brain: Your Auto-Pilot
      4. 3.2.4. The Cortex: Your Mental Pilot
      5. 3.2.5. Two Brains in One: The Hemispheres
      6. 3.2.6. What Is Our Real Potential?
    3. 3.3. BRAINCYCLES, BRAINWAVES, BRAIN STATES, AND THE DAILY TRANCE
      1. 3.3.1. Braincycles
      2. 3.3.2. Brainwaves
      3. 3.3.3. Brainstates
      4. 3.3.4. The Daily Trance
    4. 3.4. MINDMODULES: YOU HAVE MANY "MINDS"
    5. 3.5. MINDMODELS: YOUR PORTABLE REALITY
    6. 3.6. FOUR HABITS THAT UNLOCK YOUR MENTAL CAPACITY
    7. 3.7. FOUR DIMENSIONS OF PI: YOUR MEGA-SKILLS
    8. 3.8. GETTING STARTED: UPGRADING YOUR MENTAL "SOFTWARE"
      1. 3.9. Notes
  7. 4. MENTAL SOFTWARE UPGRADE 1: Developing Mental Flexibility
    1. 4.1. ARE YOU A FINISHED PRODUCT?
    2. 4.2. DYNAMIC THINKING AND ARCHAIC THINKING
    3. 4.3. YOU MIGHT BE A MENTAL REDNECK . . .
    4. 4.4. THE CREATIVE PARADOX
    5. 4.5. THE "BEGINNER'S MIND": INNOCENCE AND HUMILITY
    6. 4.6. THE "PLEXITY" SCALE
    7. 4.7. THERE IS NO TRUTH—ONLY YOUR TRUTH, HIS TRUTH, HER TRUTH, THEIR TRUTH . . .
      1. 4.7.1. An Exercise
      2. 4.7.2. "truth"
      3. 4.7.3. The Tree of Knowledge: When Is a Fact Not a Fact?
    8. 4.8. HOW I LEARNED TO STOP ARGUING WITH PEOPLE
    9. 4.9. A NEW WAY TO THINK ABOUT OPINIONS
    10. 4.10. THREE PHRASES THAT CAN KEEP YOUR MIND OPEN
      1. 4.10.1. "I Don't Know"
      2. 4.10.2. "I Made a Mistake"
      3. 4.10.3. "I've Changed My Mind"
      4. 4.11. Notes
  8. 5. MENTAL SOFTWARE UPGRADE 2: Adopting Affirmative Thinking
    1. 5.1. CLEANING OUT THE ATTIC: MENTAL DECONTAMINATION
    2. 5.2. "SENSORSHIP": CHOOSING WHAT YOU WILL ALLOW INTO YOUR MIND
      1. 5.2.1. An Exercise
    3. 5.3. RESISTANCE TO ENCULTURATION, A.K.A."CRAP DETECTING"
    4. 5.4. CLEANSE YOUR MIND WITH A "MEDIA FAST"
    5. 5.5. RE-ENGINEERING YOUR ATTITUDES
    6. 5.6. THE ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
    7. 5.7. THE ATTITUDE OF ABUNDANCE
    8. 5.8. PRACTICAL ALTRUISM
    9. 5.9. MEDITATION, MINDMOVIES, AND AFFIRMATIONS
      1. 5.10. Notes
  9. 6. Mental Software Upgrade 3: Adopting Sane Language Habits
    1. 6.1. LANGUAGE AS MENTAL SOFTWARE: WHAT YOU SAY IS WHAT YOU THINK
    2. 6.2. HOW LANGUAGE "PACKAGES" YOUR THOUGHTS
    3. 6.3. JUMPING TO CONFUSIONS: INFERENTIAL THINKING
      1. 6.3.1. The Inference Awareness Test
      2. 6.3.2. Text and Subtext: Listening on Four Channels at Once
    4. 6.4. "CLEAN" AND "DIRTY" LANGUAGE: STRATEGIES FOR SEMANTIC SANITY
      1. 6.4.1. "Dirty" Language: The Seven Semantic Sins
      2. 6.4.2. "Clean" Language: Updating Your Language Habits
      3. 6.4.3. A Code of Intelligent Discourse
    5. 6.5. EXPRESSIONS YOU CAN REMOVE FROM YOUR VOCABULARY
    6. 6.6. THE SELF-CONVERSATION: CLEANING UP YOUR INTERNAL DIALOG
    7. 6.7. SNAPPY COME-BACKS: THE LANGUAGE OF FUNNY
      1. 6.8. Notes
  10. 7. MENTAL SOFTWARE UPGRADE 4: Valuing Ideas
    1. 7.1. DO YOU HAVE LOTS OF GOOD IDEAS? (ALMOST EVERYONE DOES)
    2. 7.2. "IT SLIPPED MY MIND . . ." (ALMOST EVERYTHING DOES)
    3. 7.3. THE GREATEST THINKING TOOL EVER INVENTED
    4. 7.4. THINKING IN PICTURES
    5. 7.5. ARE YOU A YES-PERSON OR A NO-PERSON?
    6. 7.6. THE P.I.N. FORMULA: PROTECTING IDEAS
    7. 7.7. USING YOUR MAGICAL INCUBATOR
    8. 7.8. "METABOXICAL" THINKING: BREAKING THE BOUNDARIES
      1. 7.8.1. The Famous Nine-Dot Problem
      2. 7.8.2. Why the Nine-Dot Problem Is So Challenging for Most of Us
      3. 7.9. Notes
  11. 8. MEGA-SKILL 1: "Bivergent" Thinking
    1. 8.1. THE DIVERGENT-CONVERGENT POLARITY: THE D-C AXIS
    2. 8.2. PROCESS CONSCIOUSNESS: MANAGING THE "PIVOT POINT"
    3. 8.3. GROUPTHINK: THE COLLUSION TO FAIL
      1. 8.3.1. The Nature of the Pathology
      2. 8.3.2. Is There a Cure for Groupthink?
    4. 8.4. BRAINSTORMING: MORE OFTEN TALKED ABOUT THAN DONE
    5. 8.5. SYSTEMATIC CREATIVITY: THE BALANCING ACT
      1. 8.6. Notes
  12. 9. MEGA-SKILL 2: "Helicopter" Thinking
    1. 9.1. THE ABSTRACT-CONCRETE POLARITY: THE A-C AXIS
    2. 9.2. VISIONARIES AND ACTIONARIES: WE NEED BOTH
    3. 9.3. CONNECTING THE DOTS: YOU HAVE TO SEE THEM TO CONNECT THEM
    4. 9.4. PAINTING THE BIG PICTURE: MINDMAPPING
    5. 9.5. EXPLAINING THE BIG PICTURE: USING THE LANGUAGE OF IDEAS
      1. 9.6. Notes
  13. 10. MEGA-SKILL 3: "Intulogical" Thinking
    1. 10.1. The First Problem
      1. 10.1.1. The First Problem
      2. 10.1.2. The Second Problem
      3. 10.1.3. Two Different Thinking Mechanisms
    2. 10.2. THE LOGICAL-INTUITIVE POLARITY: THE L-I AXIS
    3. 10.3. THINKING STYLES: YOURS AND OTHERS'
    4. 10.4. SEQUENTIAL THINKING: RE-OWNING YOUR LOGICAL ABILITIES
      1. 10.4.1. Exercise in Observation
      2. 10.4.2. Exercise in Logical Deduction
      3. 10.4.3. Logical Calisthenics
    5. 10.5. TRUSTING YOUR HUNCHES: RE-OWNING YOUR INTUITIVE ABILITIES
    6. 10.6. THE "ZEN MIND": FLOW AND MINDFULNESS
      1. 10.6.1. An Exercise in Perception
      2. 10.6.2. An Exercise in Absent-Mindedness
      3. 10.7. Notes
  14. 11. MEGA-SKILL 4: "Viscerational" Thinking
    1. 11.1. THE RATIONAL-EMOTIVE POLARITY: THE R-E AXIS
    2. 11.2. FIRST WE DECIDE, THEN WE JUSTIFY: IRRATIONAL THINKING EXPLAINED
    3. 11.3. WE'RE ALL NEUROTIC, AND THAT'S OK
    4. 11.4. THE FIVE PRIMAL FEARS WE LIVE BY: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF RISK
    5. 11.5. SIGNAL REACTIONS: DISCONNECTING YOUR HOT BUTTONS
      1. 11.5.1. Exercise: Signal Reactions
    6. 11.6. EMOTIONS AND HEALTH: IF IT'S ON YOUR MIND, IT'S ON YOUR BODY
    7. 11.7. CAN YOU MOTIVATE YOURSELF? THE "POPEYE POINT"
      1. 11.8. Notes
  15. 12. HOW TO BECOME AN EXPERT PROBLEM SOLVER
    1. 12.1. FORGET THOSE "FIVE STEPS" THEY TAUGHT YOU
    2. 12.2. USING HEURISTIC (A.K.A. NATURAL) PROBLEM SOLVING
    3. 12.3. YOUR FIVE KEY MINDZONES
    4. 12.4. THE HIGH SPEED PROBLEM SOLVING PROCESS
      1. 12.5. Notes
  16. 13. SUCCESS PROGRAMMING: Causing the Outcomes You Want
    1. 13.1. USING WHAT WE'VE LEARNED
    2. 13.2. MINDMOVIES: WHO'S PRODUCING YOUR LIFE'S STORY?
    3. 13.3. ALPHA PROGRAMMING: MAKING THE MOVIES YOU WANT
    4. 13.4. YOUR LIFE WHEEL: TAKING STOCK, SETTING PRIORITIES, AND MAKING CHANGES
      1. 13.5. Notes
  17. A. Answers to Thinking Exercises
    1. A.1. Chapter 6. Solution to the "Inference" Problem
      1. A.1.1. Chapter 6. Solution to the "Inference" Problem
      2. A.1.2. Chapter 7. Solution to the "Bookworm" Problem
      3. A.1.3. Chapter 7. Solution to the Famous Nine-Dot Problem
      4. A.1.4. Chapter 7. Solution to the Anagram "teralbay"
      5. A.1.5. Chapter 10. Solution to the "Boat" Problem
      6. A.1.6. Chapter 10 Solution to the Water Glass Problem
      7. A.1.7. Chapter 10. Word Ladders
  18. B. FIFTY TIPS FOR BETTER THINKING
  19. C. A VOCABULARY FOR PRACTICAL INTELLIGENCE
  20. D. A CODE OF INTELLIGENT DISCOURSE
  21. E. LEARN TO MEDITATE IN "ONE" LESSON: The Harvard Mantra