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

Book Description

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.

    Table of Contents

    1. Cover Page
    2. Title Page
    3. Copyright
    4. Dedication
    5. CONTENTS
    6. PREFACE
      1. Why I Wrote This Book
      2. Whom Is This Book For?
      3. Why You Should Read a Book Like This
      4. What I've Learned after Teaching Critical Thinking for Eight Years
      5. How to Read This Book
    7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    8. Section I: Introduction and the Framework for Critical Thinking
      1. Chapter 1: What Is Critical Thinking?
        1. Benefits of Critical Thinking
      2. Chapter 2: When to Use Critical Thinking
      3. Chapter 3: The Framework and Tools
        1. Clarity
        2. Conclusions
        3. Decisions
    9. Section II: Clarity
      1. Chapter 4: Empty Your Bucket
        1. The Bucket
        2. Getting Started with Emptying Your Bucket
      2. Chapter 5: Inspection
        1. Getting Started with Inspection
      3. Chapter 6: Why?
        1. Why Why?
        2. Ask Why to Distinguish This from That
        3. Ask Why to Get to a Root Cause
        4. Ask Why to Get to “I Don't Know”
        5. Ask Why to Get to Because !!
        6. Getting Started with Why
      4. Chapter 7: So What?
        1. So What: Your Company or Product
        2. Your So What
        3. Getting Started with So What
      5. Chapter 8: Need
        1. What Is the Necessity?
        2. Great Teams and Need
        3. Need and Survival
        4. Getting Started with Need
      6. Chapter 9: Anticipatory Thinking
        1. What's Next?
        2. Getting Started with Anticipatory Thinking
      7. Chapter 10: What Else?
        1. What Else Could This Be?
        2. Getting Started with What Else
      8. Chapter 11: The Ingredient Diagram
        1. Ingredients of Your Headscratcher
        2. Getting Started with the Ingredient Diagram
      9. Chapter 12: Vision
        1. What Is Your Vision?
        2. Getting Started with Vision
      10. Chapter 13: The Thinking Coach
        1. The Role of a Thinking Coach
        2. Why Be a Thinking Coach?
        3. Examples of a Thinking Coach
        4. If You Have the Experience, Why Not Communicate That?
        5. Ten Rules of a Thinking Coach
        6. Getting Started with Being a Thinking Coach
      11. Chapter 14: Summary of Clarity
        1. Clarity: Getting Clear about Your Headscratcher
        2. Getting Started
        3. Practice
        4. Clarity: Not about Solving the Problem
        5. When Am I Done with Clarity?
        6. Can I Use Critical Thinking by Myself and Not with a Group?
    10. Section III: Conclusions
      1. Chapter 15: It's All about the Premise
        1. Deduction
        2. Induction
        3. It's All about the Premise
      2. Chapter 16: Facts
        1. Facts Are Absolute Truth
        2. Use So What with Facts
        3. Fact or Not Fact?
      3. Chapter 17: Observations
        1. Observations Are Abundant
      4. Chapter 18: Experiences
        1. Your Experiences
        2. So What?
      5. Chapter 19: Beliefs
        1. Beliefs —Your Value System
        2. When Beliefs Are Different
      6. Chapter 20: Assumptions
        1. Assumptions Are Key
      7. Chapter 21: The Conclusion
        1. Putting It All Together
        2. Creating the Premise
        3. The Stronger the Premise, the More Reliable the Conclusion—and the More Confidence You'll Have in It
        4. Jumping to Conclusions
        5. Where Do Personalities Fit In?
        6. Which Conclusion Is Right?
        7. Getting Started with Conclusions
      8. Chapter 22: Credibility
        1. How Credible Is the Premise?
        2. Credibility of Facts and Observations
        3. Why Do People Lose Credibility?
        4. Getting Started with Credibility
      9. Chapter 23: Consistency
        1. The Consistency of Your Premise Components
        2. Getting Started with Consistency
      10. Chapter 24: Triangular Thinking
        1. Estimating the Unknown
        2. Getting Started with Triangular Thinking
      11. Chapter 25: Change
        1. The Premise and Change
        2. Helping People Accept Change
        3. Getting Started with Change
      12. Chapter 26: Influencing and Persuading
        1. Using the Premise to Influence
        2. Using the Premise to Persuade
        3. Maybe You Need to Be Persuaded?
        4. Getting Started with Influencing and Persuading
    11. Section IV: Conclusions and Innovation
      1. Chapter 27: Outside-the-Box Thinking
        1. Ask What If and What Other
        2. Getting Started with Thinking Outside the Box
      2. Chapter 28: Abductive Thinking
        1. An Educated Guess
        2. Old Dog Thinking
        3. Knowledge with No Experience
        4. Old Dog Thinking Cures
        5. Getting Started with Abductive Thinking
      3. Chapter 29: Impossible Thinking
        1. Thinking about How to Accomplish the Impossible
        2. Getting Started with Impossible Thinking
      4. Chapter 30: Summary of Conclusions
        1. Creating Solutions
        2. Getting Started
        3. Sorry, You're Not Quite Done!
    12. Section V: Decisions
      1. Chapter 31: Who, Need, and When
        1. Whose Decision Is This, Anyway?
        2. Need, Again!
        3. When Does This Decision Need to Be Made?
        4. Getting Started with Who, Need, and When
      2. Chapter 32: Criteria
        1. Without Criteria, Nothing Is Decided
        2. Getting Started with Criteria
      3. Chapter 33: Risk
        1. What's the Risk?
        2. 11 Risk Factors
        3. Using the 11-Factor Model
        4. What Is Too Risky?
        5. Getting Started with Risk
      4. Chapter 34: Summary of Decisions
        1. Taking Action
        2. Getting Started
        3. Are We Done Yet?
    13. Critical Thinking Summary and Suggestions
      1. Critical Thinking Summary
      2. Critical Thinking—Let's Begin
    14. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    15. INDEX