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Toni Morrison Taught Me How to Think
Aug. 7, 2019 | The New York Times | By Wesley Morris.

You need to be able to read to be able to read. Especially if Toni Morrison did the writing. [because Toni Morrison's writings demanded much of the reader as her evocative words painted a rich context and vivid imagery.......She was going to make us [you, the reader] work, not as a task, not for medicine, but because writing is an art and a reader should have a little art of his own.....Reading a Toni Morrison novel was group therapy. My aunts, my mother and her friends would tackle “Beloved” in sections then get on the phone to run things by one another......They admired the stew of a Morrison novel, the elegant density of its language — the tapestry of a hundred-word sentence, the finger snap of a lone word followed by a period, the staggering depictions of lust, death, hair care, lost limbs, baking and ghosts. Morrison made her audiences conversant in her — the metaphors of trauma, the melodramas of psychology. She made them hungry for more stew: ornate, disobedient, eerie literary inventions about black women, often with nary a white person of any significance in sight. The women in my family were reading a black woman imagining black women, their wants, their warts, how the omnipresence of this country’s history can make itself known on any old Thursday.....A life spent savoring Toni Morrison, both as a novelist and a scalding, scaldingly moral literary critic, makes clear that almost no one has better opening sentences......This is all to say that Toni Morrison didn’t teach me how to read. But she did teach me how to read. Hers is the kind of writing that makes you rewind and slow down and ruminate. It’s the kind of writing that makes you rewind because, god, what you just read was that titanic, that perception-altering, that true, a spice on the tongue. .......Morrison is dead now, her legend long secure. But what comedy to think how the writers and critics who loved her labored to get her mastery treated as majesty when she’s so evidently supreme. .....She did for generations of writers what Martin Scorsese did for generations of filmmakers — jolt them, for better and worse, into purpose. Morrison didn’t make me a writer, exactly. What she made me was a thinker. She made the thinking seem uniquely crucial to the matter of being alive......I have now by my bed is some novel by Toni Morrison, whether or not I’m reading it. A night light for my soul. And, in every way, a Good Book.
African-Americans  authors  books  craftsmanship  critical_thinking  howto  novelists  novels  obituaries  purpose  reading  Slow_Movement  soul-enriching  Toni_Morrison  tributes  women  writers  writing 
10 weeks ago by jerryking
NYT Programs – Be a Better Reader in 7 Days
August 7, 2019 | NYT | by Tina Jordan.

(1) Choosing The Right Book
start by asking yourself some questions:
* Do you want to read for enjoyment or for knowledge?
* Do you want to stretch yourself in some way?
* Are you looking for escapism? (There’s nothing wrong with that!)
* Do you want to be part of the cultural conversation around the current “it” book?
* Are you curious about a book that has been atop the best-seller list for months?
However you answer these questions, find a book to focus on this week. You don’t need to buy one: Pluck a book from your shelves at home, borrow from a friend, download a book to your phone from participating libraries or simply swing by a Little Free Library on your way home to see what the reading fates have in store for you.

(2) Make a Reading Plan
A good reading plan is a commitment to keep reading a part of your life. How you go about that will depend a lot on your personality, of course. (what are my greatest challenges: Finding time? Turning off the TV?)

A reading plan doesn’t have to include a schedule — although that’s helpful — but it should include a goal or promise to yourself that will keep you motivated. The more specific and detailed your reading goal is, the better your chances are of reaching it: Goal-setting has been linked to higher achievement.

Neuroscience shows that it helps to put your plan in writing. “People who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goal.”

So how are you going to finish that book you picked yesterday? As you make your reading plan, consider these factors:

* Set aside the time. Decide how much time you would like to devote to reading every day — a half-hour? an hour? — and where you could carve out that time: on your commute, during your lunch break, in lieu of watching TV. If you think you simply don’t have the time to read, try reading instead of using social media this week. If you keep a calendar — digital or paper — schedule your reading time like you would anything else.
* Allow yourself to quit a book. Nothing will derail you faster than books that don’t hold your interest. You could commit to reading 50 pages of a book before you make a decision. Or you could simply trust your gut: If you realize in a book’s opening pages that it is absolutely not right for you, then put it down and pick up another one, no guilt included.
* Find a reading buddy. Some people find it easier to commit to a reading challenge when they have a friend doing the same thing. Others incorporate book-reading challenges into family time. Feel free to forward this challenge to a friend and have your friend read the same book alongside you.
* Commit to your plan for this book in writing. And then stick to it.

Make a Life-Changing Goal
A reading plan can be for more than just one book; it can be for the rest of your life. Here are some worthy goals to consider:

Read a certain number of books — per week, per month or per year. You can do it on your own, or you can sign up for a reading challenge at Goodreads, Bookish, BookRiot, Popsugar or Reddit. (The nice thing about the Goodreads challenge is that it’s not tied to a Jan. 1 start date; it’s designed to begin at any point during the year.) Don’t be too ambitious: Start small, with manageable goals, and increase them slowly as you go along.
Commit to variety. You want to look forward to your reading time every day, so don’t make every book you pick up an intellectual challenge. Pick lighter titles some of the time, and mix fiction, nonfiction and poetry.
A Little Motivation
Create a (semi) perfect reading environment. One important step on your road to reading better is to find or create an ideal reading environment. A great chair and good lighting come first, of course, but after that, you have to consider the mood-killers of reading. You know what your biggest distractions are, so be ruthlessly honest with yourself about what you need to do to set yourself up for success. If the lure of your phone will tempt you, stash it where you can’t see it (and mute your notifications so that you can’t hear it, either). If you need to tune out chatter on your morning train or the drone of your roommate’s TV, consider noise-blocking headphones.

Related Reading
Quartz: In the time you spend on social media each year, you could read 200 books
That decision to start reading was one of the most important decisions in my life.

The Atlantic: The Adults Who Treat Reading Like Homework
More and more people are making reading goals that most of them will not meet. Here's why.

(3) Read More Deeply
To read more deeply--at a level that stimulates your imagination, the single most important thing to do is take your time. You can’t read deeply if you’re skimming. Set aside at least 15 minutes today to read your book and try this exercise:

Notice if you start to skim or skip sections. Then, backtrack. It can help to use your finger on the page to underline text as you go.
Keep a dictionary nearby. If you’re uncertain about the definition of any words, stop and look them up.
Actively reread. If something is confusing you, reread it. If it’s an especially knotty passage, try to read it aloud or express it in your own words. And if all else fails, mark the troublesome text in some way, whether you highlight it or affix a sticky note. It’s likely that you'll find clarification later in the book, and this way you will be able to come back to it.
Use a highlighter (or sticky notes). Mark the passages of your book that resonate with you. Perhaps the ideas fascinate you, or perhaps you’re struck by the author’s language. When you finish the book, return to those pages to see if you still feel the same way.
Summarize. At the end of your reading session, sum up, in your own words, what you’ve just read. (There’s a reason your teacher asked you questions after every chapter in high school!)

(4) Read More Critically
When you are reading deeply and critically, you should be thinking more often about the book being read; sharpening your deductive reasoning; teasing out connections between different books, and discovering parallels between books and current events.
* Stop and ask yourself questions. Here are a few to try: “What is the author trying to say?” “What is the point of this chapter?” “Could the author have used better examples to buttress her argument here?” “What techniques is the author using to build so much suspense?
* Consider whether you agree with the book or disagree with it. Try to separate your personal beliefs and biases from the book. What questions do you have about what you’re reading? What issues is the book making you rethink or reconsider?
* Think about what makes good writing. It doesn’t matter what kind of book you’re reading — historical nonfiction, a classic, popular fiction.
* Take it Further: does note-taking point to related reading? A a biography of the novelist whose book I'm reading? a nonfiction book about the time period in which the novel takes place? Get ideas by examining the author’s sources in the bibliography and notes (also check out this https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/15/opinion/sunday/the-joy-of-hate-reading.html).

(5) Explore Different Formats
Variety is the spice of reading, right? There’s a great deal of debate over the “best” way to read a book, but there’s no conclusive scientific evidence about any of it. So mix things up. Perhaps start by trying to read out loud, or by asking someone to read a chapter to you. Or turn from print to audio or digital versions of the same story.

Being open to different formats expands your reading possibilities. Having options means you’ll always have a book at your fingertips. Take a break from your current book format to try one of these options:

* Use your cell phone for good. Get a reading app — like Kindle or Overdrive — and download your book digitally. Now, when you’re stuck with time on your hands, spend that time reading instead of skimming through social media.
* Try an audiobook. The audio version of a book can be just as good as print, unless you’re multitasking.
* Mix & match formats. Sync your devices: Listen to a book for a few chapters, then read it digitally for a while, or vice versa.

(6) Read More Socially
Reading may be a solitary endeavor, but once we’re done with a book, most of us want to do the same thing: talk to other people about what we loved, what we hated, what we didn’t understand. No matter where you are in the book you are currently reading, today’s the day to find a place to talk about it.

There are many ways to do that:

* Join an online book club. Unless you’re reading a currently popular book, it’s unlikely you’ll find a local in-person book club to discuss it. But that shouldn’t deter you. You’ll find literally thousands of book clubs on Goodreads, Facebook and other social media sites.
( Find your author on social media. Stephen King, for example, often talks about what he’s reading and what he recommends on Twitter, and so do many other authors; many of them invite lively discussion of books. If you can, try to find the author of your book on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and see what type of conversation he or she is leading.
* Join a local book club or discussion group about your book. If you don’t know of one, call your local library — they will know about the book groups in your area. Hearing what other people think about a book helps expand your own ideas about it.

(7) Enhance Your Post-Book Experience

Here are some simple steps you can take to stay engaged with books, authors and the subjects you’re learning about.

Start a reading journal or reading log. Seeing a list of what you have read will help you branch out. Some people keep a reading log for years.
Create a future book journal. When you hear about a book that interests you, jot down the title. … [more]
advice  connecting_the_dots  critical_thinking  cultural_conversations  deep_learning  goal-setting  howto  questions  reading  self-betterment  self-improvement 
10 weeks ago by jerryking
Opinion | Why Harvard Was Wrong to Make Me Step Down
June 24, 2019 | The New York Times | By Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., Mr. Sullivan is a law professor at Harvard Law School.

In May, Harvard College announced that it would not renew the appointment of me and my wife, Stephanie Robinson, as faculty deans of Winthrop House, one of Harvard’s undergraduate residential houses, because I am one of the lawyers who represented the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in advance of his coming sexual assault trial. The administration’s decision followed reports by some students that they felt “unsafe” in an institution led by a lawyer who would take on Mr. Weinstein as a client.

I am willing to believe that some students felt unsafe. But feelings alone should not drive university policy. Administrators must help students distinguish between feelings that have a rational basis and those that do not. In my case, Harvard missed an opportunity to help students do that......I would hope that any student who felt unsafe as a result of my representation of Mr. Weinstein might, after a reasoned discussion of the relevant facts, question whether his or her feelings were warranted. But Harvard was not interested in having that discussion. Nor was Harvard interested in facilitating conversations about the appropriate role of its faculty in addressing sexual violence and the tension between protecting the rights of the criminally accused and treating survivors of sexual violence with respect.

Instead, the administration capitulated to protesters. Given that universities are supposed to be places of considered and civil discourse, where people are forced to wrestle with difficult, controversial and unfamiliar ideas, this is disappointing......reasoned discourse lost out to raw feelings......I am not opposed to student protest. Many important social justice movements began with student protests, including movements from which I, as an African-American, have benefited. Had it not been for students who staged sit-ins at lunch counters, I would not have had the opportunity to be trained at Harvard Law School.

But I am profoundly troubled by the reaction of university administrators who are in charge of student growth and development. The job of a teacher is to help students think through what constitutes a reasonable argument. It is a dereliction of duty for administrators to allow themselves to be bullied into ..Unchecked emotion has replaced thoughtful reasoning on campus. Feelings are no longer subjected to evidence, analysis or empirical defense. Angry demands, rather than rigorous arguments, now appear to guide university policy.
African-Americans  bullying  capitulation  Colleges_&_Universities  critical_thinking  firings  gut_feelings  Harvard  Harvey_Weinstein  HLS  intolerance  logic_&_reasoning  missed_opportunities  op-ed  policymaking  political_correctness  professors  protests  students 
june 2019 by jerryking
US declining interest in history presents risk to democracy
May 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by Edward Luce.

America today has found a less bloodthirsty way of erasing its memory by losing interest in its past. From an already low base, the number of American students majoring in history has dropped by more than a third since 2008. Barely one in two hundred American undergraduates now specialise in history......Donald Trump is a fitting leader for such times. He had to be told who Andrew Jackson was.....He also seems to think that Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave and 19th century abolitionist, is among us still.....But America’s 45th president can hardly be blamed for history’s unpopularity. Culpability for that precedes Mr Trump and is spread evenly between liberals, conservatives, faculty and parents........Courses on intellectual, diplomatic and political history are being replaced at some of America’s best universities by culture studies that highlight grievances at the expense of breadth.......Then there is the drumbeat of STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Most US states now mandate tests only in maths and English, at the expense of history and civic education...... In a recent survey, only 26 per cent of Americans could identify all three branches of government. More than half could not name a single justice on the US Supreme Court.....
the biggest culprit is the widespread belief that “soft skills” — such as philosophy and English, which are both in similar decline to history — do not lead to well-paid jobs.....folk prejudice against history is hard to shake. In an ever more algorithmic world, people believe that humanities are irrelevant. The spread of automation should put a greater premium on qualities that computers lack, such as intuitive intelligence, management skills and critical reasoning. Properly taught that is what a humanities education provides.......People ought to be able to grasp the basic features of their democracy. [Abiding] Faith in a historic theory only fuels a false sense of certainty....What may work for individual careers poses a collective risk to US democracy. The demise of strong civics coincides with waning voter turnout, a decline in joining associations, fewer citizen’s initiatives — and other qualities once associated with American vigour......There is no scientific metric for gullibility. Nor can we quantitatively prove that civic ignorance imposes a political cost on society. These are questions of judgment. But if America’s origins tell us anything it is that a well-informed citizenry creates a stronger society.
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here is what robots can't do -- create art, deep meaning, move our souls, help us to understand and thus operate in the world, inspire deeper thought, care for one another, help the environment where we live.......The role of the human is not to be dispassionate, depersonalized or neutral. It is precisely the emotive traits that are rewarded: the voracious lust for understanding, the enthusiasm for work, the ability to grasp the gist, the empathetic sensitivity to what will attract attention and linger in the mind. Unable to compete when it comes to calculation, the best workers will come with heart in hand.
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algorithms  automation  citizen_engagement  civics  Colleges_&_Universities  critical_thinking  democracy  Donald_Trump  Edward_Luce  empathy  engaged_citizenry  false_sense_of_certainty  foundational  historians  history  historical_amnesia  humanities  ignorance  political_literacy  sense-making  soft_skills  STEM  threats  U.S.  vulnerabilities 
may 2019 by jerryking
How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
Reading alone isn't enough to improve your knowledge. Learning something insightful requires work. You have to read something above your current level. You need to find writers who are more knowledgeable on a particular subject than yourself. This is how you get smarter.

Reading for understanding narrows the gap between reader and writer.

The Four Levels of Reading
Mortimer Adler literally wrote the book on reading. In his book, How to Read a Book, he identifies four levels of reading:

Elementary
Inspectional
Analytical
Syntopical
The goal of reading determines how you read.

**********************************************
Become a Demanding Reader
Reading is all about asking the right questions in the right order and seeking answers.

There are four main questions you need to ask of every book:

What is this book about?
What is being said in detail and how?
Is this book true in whole or in part?
What of it?

If all of this sounds like hard work, you’re right. Most people won’t do it. That’s what sets you apart.
advice  asking_the_right_questions  books  critical_thinking  deep_learning  effectiveness  efficiencies  GTD  hard_work  howto  intentionality  metacognition  productivity  purpose  reading  smart_people  work_smarter 
may 2018 by jerryking
Opinion | Robert E. Rubin: Philosophy Prepared Me for a Career in Finance and Government - The New York Times
By Robert E. Rubin

Mr. Rubin was secretary of the Treasury from 1995 to 1999.

April 30, 2018

Raphael Demos. Professor Demos, an authority on Greek philosophy, was Harvard’s Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy and Civil Policy. But to me, when I took a class with him my sophomore year, he was a genial little man with white hair and an exceptional talent for engaging students from the lecture hall stage, using an overturned wastebasket as his lectern. Professor Demos would use Plato and other great philosophers to demonstrate that proving any proposition to be true in the final and ultimate sense was impossible. His approach to critical thinking planted a seed in me that grew during my years at Harvard and throughout my life. The approach appealed to what was probably my natural but latent tendency toward questioning and skepticism.

I concluded that you can’t prove anything in absolute terms, from which I extrapolated that all significant decisions are about probabilities. Internalizing the core tenet of Professor Demos’s teaching — weighing risk and analyzing odds and trade-offs — was central to everything I did professionally in the decades ahead in finance and government.......Demos crystallized for me the power of critical thinking: asking questions, recognizing that there are no provable certainties and analyzing the probabilities. And that, coupled with my coffeehouse lessons, was the best preparation one could have — not just for a career but also for life.
Robert_Rubin  Colleges_&_Universities  Harvard  philosophers  philosophy  Plato  Wall_Street  Goldman_Sachs  career_paths  advice  life_skills  probabilities  decision_making  critical_thinking  U.S.Treasury_Department  Greek  tradeoffs 
may 2018 by jerryking
Fine-Tune Your B.S. Detector: You’ll Need It - WSJ
March 19, 2018 | WSJ | By Elizabeth Bernstein.

HOW CAN YOU SPOT B.S.?
Check the source. Is this person an expert or in a position to know the information? Why is he or she telling me? What does the person have to gain?

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember that we all suffer from confirmation bias—we’re more likely to believe something that confirms what we already think or want.

Ask questions. Research shows people are more likely to B.S. when they feel they can get away with it. “Ask them simply: ‘Why do you think that? How do you know that is true?’” ......“This will get them thinking critically.”

Don’t trust your gut. People who pause and think about whether information is true are better able to detect false information, research shows. “Rely on your prior knowledge,”

Ask for evidence. This is different than an explanation, which people can continue to spin. Facts don’t lie—but check them to make sure they are real.

Pay attention to people who discount evidence. “I don’t care what the experts say” is a red flag that the person is using B.S.

Stay offline when you’re tired. Research shows we’re more vulnerable to false claims when our cognitive resources—that is, brain power—are depleted.
infoliteracy  Elizabeth_Bernstein  confirmation_bias  misinformation  howto  skepticism  evidence  critical_thinking  questions  gut_feelings  unshared_information  5_W’s  bullshitake  pay_attention  power_of_the_pause 
march 2018 by jerryking
John Stuart Mill Showed Democracy as a Way of Life - The New York Times
David Brooks JAN. 15, 2018

John Stuart Mill demonstrated that democratic citizenship is a way of life, a moral stance and a humanistic adventure.....Mill is famous for his celebration of individual liberty. But he was not an “anything goes” nihilist. He was not a mellow “You do you and I’ll be me” relativist.

In the first place, he demanded constant arduous self-improvement. In his outstanding biography, Richard Reeves points out that in “On Liberty,” Mill used the words “energy,” “active” and “vital” nearly as many times as he used the word “freedom.” Freedom for him was a means, not an end. The end is moral excellence. Mill believed that all of us “are under a moral obligation to seek the improvement of our moral character.”

“At the heart of his liberalism,” Reeves writes, “was a clearly and repeatedly articulated vision of a flourishing human life — self-improving, passionate, truth-seeking, engaged and colorful.”.... staged a lifelong gentle revolt against his father’s shallow intellectual utilitarianism.

Having been raised in this way and, as an adult, living in Victorian England, what he hated most was narrowness, conformity, the crushing of individuals under the weight of peer pressure, government power or public opinion.....Mill cures us from the weakness of our age — the belief that we can achieve democracy on the cheap; the belief that all we have to do to fulfill our democratic duties is be nice, vote occasionally and have opinions. Mill showed that real citizenship is a life-transforming vocation. It involves, at base, cultivating the ability to discern good from evil, developing the intellectual virtues required to separate the rigorous from the sloppy, living an adventurous life so that you are rooting yourself among and serving those who are completely unlike yourself.

The demands of democracy are clear — the elevation and transformation of your very self. If you are not transformed, you’re just skating by.
David_Brooks  democracy  Victorian  values  engaged_citizenry  arduous  critical_thinking  tough-mindedness  rigour  discomforts  struggles  history  op-ed  profile  philosophy  utilitarianism  liberal  political_theory  John_Stuart_Mill  self-improvement  19th_century  liberalism  indivualized  self-actualization  individual_choice  autonomy  intellectually_rigorous 
january 2018 by jerryking
The Dying Art of Disagreement
SEPT. 24, 2017 | The New York Times | Bret Stephens.

The title of my talk tonight is “The Dying Art of Disagreement.”.......But to say, I disagree; I refuse; you’re wrong; etiam si omnes — ego non — these are the words that define our individuality, give us our freedom, enjoin our tolerance, enlarge our perspectives, seize our attention, energize our progress, make our democracies real, and give hope and courage to oppressed people everywhere. Galileo and Darwin; Mandela, Havel, and Liu Xiaobo; Rosa Parks and Natan Sharansky — such are the ranks of those who disagree......The polarization is geographic.......The polarization is personal........Finally the polarization is electronic and digital, .......What we did was read books that raised serious questions about the human condition, and which invited us to attempt to ask serious questions of our own. Education, in this sense, wasn’t a “teaching” with any fixed lesson. It was an exercise in interrogation.

To listen and understand; to question and disagree; to treat no proposition as sacred and no objection as impious; to be willing to entertain unpopular ideas and cultivate the habits of an open mind ....uChicago showed us something else: that every great idea is really just a spectacular disagreement with some other great idea....to disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say........there’s such a thing as private ownership in the public interest, and of fiduciary duties not only to shareholders but also to citizens. Journalism is not just any other business, like trucking or food services. .....But no country can have good government, or a healthy public square, without high-quality journalism — journalism that can distinguish a fact from a belief and again from an opinion; that understands that the purpose of opinion isn’t to depart from facts but to use them as a bridge to a larger idea called “truth”; and that appreciates that truth is a large enough destination that, like Manhattan, it can be reached by many bridges of radically different designs. In other words, journalism that is grounded in facts while abounding in disagreements.

I believe it is still possible — and all the more necessary — for journalism to perform these functions, especially as the other institutions that were meant to do so have fallen short. But that requires proprietors and publishers who understand that their role ought not to be to push a party line, or be a slave to Google hits and Facebook ads, or provide a titillating kind of news entertainment, or help out a president or prime minister who they favor or who’s in trouble.

Their role is to clarify the terms of debate by championing aggressive and objective news reporting, and improve the quality of debate with commentary that opens minds and challenges assumptions rather than merely confirming them.

This is journalism in defense of liberalism, not liberal in the left-wing American or right-wing Australian sense, but liberal in its belief that the individual is more than just an identity, and that free men and women do not need to be protected from discomfiting ideas and unpopular arguments. More than ever, they need to be exposed to them, so that we may revive the arts of disagreement that are the best foundation of intelligent democratic life.
assumptions  civics  identity_politics  polarization  free_speech  good_governance  Colleges_&_Universities  disagreements  Bret_Stephens  demagoguery  uChicago  the_human_condition  journalism  critical_thinking  dual-consciousness  open_mind  high-quality  liberalism  dangerous_ideas 
september 2017 by jerryking
A field guide to lies : critical thinking in the information age : Levitin, Daniel J., author. : Book, Regular Print Book : Toronto Public Library
Year/Format: 2016, Book , 304 pages

It's becoming harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. How do we distinguish misinformation, pseudo-facts, distortions and outright lies from reliable information? In A Field Guide to Lies, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin outlines the many pitfalls of the information age and provides the means to spot and avoid them. Levitin groups his field guide into two categories--statistical infomation and faulty arguments--ultimately showing how science is the bedrock of critical thinking. It is easy to lie with stats and graphs as few people "take the time to look under the hood and see how they work." And, just because there's a number on something, doesn't mean that the number was arrived at properly. Logic can help to evaluate whether or not a chain of reasoning is valid. And "infoliteracy" teaches us that not all sources of information are equal, and that biases can distort data. Faced with a world too eager to flood us with information, the best response is to be prepared. A Field Guide to Lies helps us avoid learning a lot of things that aren't true.
books  nonfiction  critical_thinking  infoliteracy  biases  lying  information_overload  TPL  Daniel_Levitin  engaged_citizenry  signals  noise  information_sources 
september 2016 by jerryking
The Danger of a Single Story - The New York Times
David Brooks APRIL 19, 2016

American politics has always been prone to single storyism — candidates reducing complex issues to simple fables. This year the problem is acute because Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the giants of Single Storyism. They reduce pretty much all issues to the same single story: the alien invader story....As in life generally, every policy has the vices of its virtues. Aggressive policing cuts crime but increases brutality. There is no escape from trade-offs and tragic situations. The only way forward is to elect people who are capable of holding opposing stories in their heads at the same time, and to reject those who can’t....As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “The test of a first-rate mind is the ability to hold two diametrically opposed ideas in your head at the same time.”"
David_Brooks  storytelling  public_policy  single_action_bias  critical_thinking  history  philosophy  skepticism  tradeoffs  oversimplification  criminal_justice_system  incarceration  narratives  dual-consciousness  F._Scott_Fitzgerald 
april 2016 by jerryking
Mastering the Art of Problem Solving
When President Bill Clinton chose to intervene in the Somali civil war in 1993, the Battle of Mogadishu resulted in thousands of Somali citizens killed, two American Black Hawk helicopters shot down,…

WHAT ABOUT THE DATA?
Increasing amounts of data can be unmanageable, and the problem of sorting through data overloads may only worsen in this digital era. Rather than looking at each bit of information as a discrete data point, we want to look at our drivers and sort the data according to which driver it supports--on other words, sort the data into each of the half-dozen or so driver categories, so analysts have few piles to deal with rather than a thousand discrete data points.
decision_making  howto  problem_solving  problem_framing  security_&_intelligence  CIA  books  information_overload  analysis  interviews  critical_thinking  book_reviews  Philip_Mudd  frameworks  insights  sorting  analysts  thinking_backwards  problem_definition  intelligence_analysts 
may 2015 by jerryking
The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking By Eli Broad
We started by looking at some of the industry's most fundamental operating principles, what most people would call the basics. They represent the strongest, stickiest — and most unexamined kind of c...
conventional_wisdom  critical_thinking  quotes  moguls  unexamined  patronage  benefactors  assumptions  innovation  opportunities  Eli_Broad  thinking  unconventional_thinking  assessments_&_evaluations  unreasonableness 
february 2015 by jerryking
Corporate sponsors of the arts missing creative opportunities - The Globe and Mail
Jan. 16 2015 | The Globe and Mail | TODD HIRSCH.
...the necessary bridge between creativity and innovation is collaboration – the act of allowing someone else’s experience to change the way you see the world....
It’s time to entirely rethink corporate sponsorship of the arts. Forget the silly logo on the back of the program or the complimentary tickets to the play. What artists can offer is much more valuable: a chance to peer into the mind of a choreographer, a singer, a set designer, a writer. How do they solve complex problems? And what insights can this bring to corporate leaders who are trying to solve problems of their own?

In the end it comes down to something neurologists know very well. If you want to become a creative person, you have to force your brain to see new patterns, unfamiliar terrain and uncomfortable situations. Sitting in a boardroom full of people with the same university degree and the same clothes (think dull blue suits and boring shoes) will do nothing to foster creative, innovative visionaries.

Why don’t artists offer those corporate suits something really valuable? The pitch should be: “Give us $100,000 and we’ll show you how we solve problems and design solutions. You’ll think we’re crazy – and quite possibly we are – but if you allow yourselves the chance, you’ll start to change the way your brain operates. Creativity can’t be taught, but it can be developed.”

Companies can transform the way their leaders think.
Todd_Hirsch  arts  philanthropy  branding  creativity  artists  critical_thinking  skepticism  problem_solving  sponsorships  art  creative_renewal  ideality  collaboration  rethinking  missed_opportunities  heterogeneity  crazy_ideas  radical_ideas  creative_types  neurologists  complex_problems 
january 2015 by jerryking
Red-Hot Skill: Managing in Gray Areas - WSJ - WSJ
By JOANN S. LUBLIN
Nov. 4, 2014

At a turbulent time in business, more U.S. companies pick and promote executives who thrive amid ambiguity, coaches and recruiters say. These leaders don’t flinch at uncertainty, surprises, conflicting directions, multiple demands—or knotty problems with no clear answers.
Managing_Your_Career  Joann_S._Lublin  uncertainty  red-hot  adversity  surprises  critical_thinking  managing_change  ambiguities  turbulence 
november 2014 by jerryking
Why Imagination and Curiosity Matter More Than Ever - The CIO Report - WSJ
January 31, 2014 | WSJ | By Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

How can you foster imagination and curiosity? This was the subject of the 2011 book co-authored by JSB: A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. One of its key points is that learning has to evolve from something that only happens in the classroom to what that he calls connected learning, taking advantage of all the available resources, including tinkering with the system, playing games and perhaps most important, absorbing new ideas from your peers, from adjacent spaces and from other disciplines....How do you decide what problems to work on and try to solve? This second kind of innovation–which they call interpretation–is very different in nature from analysis. You are not solving a problem, but looking for a new insight about customers and the marketplace, a new idea for a product or a service, a new approach to producing and delivering them, a new business model. It requires the curiosity and imagination.
ideas  idea_generation  STEM  imagination  tacit_data  Roger_Martin  Rotman  critical_thinking  innovation  customer_insights  books  interpretation  curiosity  OPMA  organizational_culture  cross-pollination  second-order  new_businesses  learning  connected_learning  constant_change  Irving_Wladawsky-Berger  worthwhile_problems  new_products  mental_dexterity  tinkerers  adjacencies 
february 2014 by jerryking
Why can’t today’s graduates get hired? -
Dec. 05 2013 | The Globe and Mail | by Margaret Wente.

“Everywhere, employers are looking to recruit young people with a strong complement of soft skills, such as the ability to communicate, think critically and work in teams,” John Manley, president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, said in a recent speech.

The real skills gap, business leaders say, is not the shortage of oil-field engineers and the glut of history BAs. It’s about the shortage of young people who are good at problem-solving, communication, teamwork, time management, persistence, loyalty and dedication. Survey after survey reports that businesses can’t find enough workers who are motivated, flexible and organized. As a recent piece in Time magazine declared, “The entry-level candidates who are on tap to join the ranks of full-time work are clueless about the fundamentals of office life. ”...“As recently as 10 years ago, organizations would hire for potential,” Ms. Moses told me. “But now they want people who can hit the ground running.” Employers have also become extremely risk-averse about new hires – another factor that stacks the deck against the twentysomethings. It’s hard to prove that you can do the job if nobody will give you the first one. As for the soft-skills gap, she thinks it’s overblown. For starters, today’s young adults have collaborated and worked in teams all their lives.

The trouble is that few companies do training any more, even the kind of informal short-term training that can break in someone new.
Barbara_Moses  Communicating_&_Connecting  critical_thinking  grit  hiring  job_search  John_Manley  loyalty  millennials  Margaret_Wente  new_graduates  persistence  problem_solving  skills  short-sightedness  skills_gap  teams  time-management  young_people 
december 2013 by jerryking
'12 Years a Slave,' and Historians' Problems with Slave Narratives : The New Yorker
October 23, 2013
Slavery’s Shadow
Posted by Annette Gordon-Reed

The historian’s task is to recognize this truth, figure out what problems are inherent to each form of evidence, and find ways, if possible, to surmount them. Take that most cherished of historical documents, the family letter. Letter writers often used the medium to create a pictures of what their families were like, and to illustrate what role they played in the family. Sometimes the picture was good. Sometimes it was bad. But the family letter is always subjective, and carries with it the problems that go along with all subjective judgments. We must be wary of them—not reject them out of hand but, rather, recognize their limitations.

What do we do to satisfy ourselves that any critical or important information contained in a family letter, or in any letter, is reliable? We look for evidence outside of the document, preferably created by someone other than the letter writer, to support what it says. If the letter presents information that we have no good reason to question—if the writer is not saying anything that is fantastical, or which contradicts other known information—we tend to accept its assertions. There is only so much time in the day and in life. The same process can be, and has been, followed with slave narratives.
slavery  storytelling  historians  history  critical_thinking  problems 
october 2013 by jerryking
‘Can You Make a Living After Studying English? Sure You Can’ - At Work - WSJ
June 6, 2013,| WSJ | By Robert Matz

Why study the humanities? For readers of The Wall Street Journal, here are two economic arguments.

...can you make a living after studying English? Sure you can. Students who major in English acquire skills in high demand in a knowledge and service economy: clear writing and communication, attention to detail, flexible and creative thinking.

First, there is the law of supply and demand. Blanket recommendations that college students study a STEM field are obviously self-defeating. If every student were to follow this advice, there would be too few jobs in STEM to support them. We have seen this kind of glut with the law degree.

Second, a humanities education creates a positive externality. You can’t meter the benefits of critical intelligence or imagination, but you wouldn’t want a populace that lacked them. Adam Smith, the author of Lectures On Rhetoric and Belles Lettres as well as of The Wealth of Nations, worried in the latter that the division of labor would make the laboring poor “incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation . . . of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment,” or of forming judgments regarding “the great and extensive interests of his country.” A nation with only technical expertise will similarly lack these virtues.

But can you make a living after studying English? Sure you can. Students who major in English acquire skills in high demand in a knowledge and service economy: clear writing and communication, attention to detail, flexible and creative thinking.

Still, not everyone should major in English. As a teacher in the field, I can tell you that some students couldn’t cut it. The deficits in their writing are too great to overcome, as are their difficulties in extrapolating from the particular to the general, or in thinking about problems in creative or original ways.

But students who can master the English major should feel confident that they are engaged in an enterprise that is valuable: personally, socially, and economically.

Robert Matz is chair of the George Mason English department.

This essay is part of a series on humanities studies and post-college employment.
humanities  STEM  career_paths  Colleges_&_Universities  Communicating_&_Connecting  liberal_arts  Adam_Smith  critical_thinking  English  self-defeating  externalities  detail_oriented  engaged_citizenry  extrapolations  writing 
june 2013 by jerryking
Think Like a Career Coach
Nick Sedlet Elli Sharef

Nick Sedlet and Elli Sharef are co-founders of HireArt.com, a marketplace connecting job seekers and employers.

pick a career for which demand will increase as a result of technology, not one that will be replaced because of it.

How do you figure out whether your job will one day be replaced by technology? Jobs that are highly structured and repetitive are the most endangered....What you should pick is a job that requires creativity, interpersonal skills and critical thinking – aspects that machines won’t be able to replace anytime soon – and that is not in an industry that is being diminished significantly by technology.

Updated March 24, 2013,
career_paths  HireArt  creativity  interpersonal_skills  critical_thinking  endangered  job_search 
march 2013 by jerryking
Maybe corporate guys should mind their business
November 17, 2001 | G&M |Russell Smith

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/maybe-corporate-guys-should-mind-their-business/article1034666/

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FOmbxn4lK9kAF2nPKH151NSwTik0aFKNGvxX8OSIY6k/edit

Business people should be way more humble and not act as know-it-alls when dealing with artists and academics.....A blind faith in the efficiency of commerce goes hand in hand with a faith in technology.
Russell_Smith  public_speaking  businessman_fallacy  platitudes  critical_thinking  hubris  skepticism  contrarians  speeches  artists  academics  sponsorships  humility 
march 2013 by jerryking
The Philosophy of Data - NYTimes.com
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: February 4, 2013

Big Data carries with it carry with certain cultural assumptions — that everything that can be measured should be measured; that data is a transparent and reliable lens that allows us to filter out emotionalism and ideology; that data will help us do remarkable things — like foretell the future....some of the questions raised by the data revolution: In what situations should we rely on intuitive pattern recognition and in which situations should we ignore intuition and follow the data? What kinds of events are predictable using statistical analysis and what sorts of events are not? Two things data does really well are:
(1) expose when our intuitive view of reality is wrong.
(2) data can illuminate patterns of behavior we haven’t yet noticed.
cultural_assumptions  David_Brooks  massive_data_sets  data  critical_thinking  pattern_recognition  intuition  biases  measurements  assumptions 
february 2013 by jerryking
The Messy Business of Management
By Ian I. Mitroff, Can M. Alpaslan and Richard O. Mason

September 18, 2012| |

“Managers don’t solve simple, isolated problems; they manage messes.” Ackoff was also instrumental in defining the nature of such messes. According to him, a mess is a system of constantly changing, highly interconnected problems, none of which is independent of the other problems that constitute the entire mess. As a result, no problem that is part of a mess can be defined and solved independently of the other problems. Accordingly, the ability to manage messes requires the ability to think and to manage systemically; this in turn requires that one understand systems thinking. addressing complex, messy problems also requires constructive conflict and structured debate with others to help test one’s assumptions — and help ensure that one is not solving the wrong problem. Many business schools excel at teaching young managers well-structured models, theories and frameworks. But we believe that business schools should spend more time helping their students surface, debate and test the assumptions underlying each model, theory or framework they are learning about. In this way, by developing students’ critical thinking skills, universities would prepare young business leaders to succeed in a messy, uncertain world.
critical_thinking  crisis  business_schools  constant_change  uncertainty  management  systems_thinking  complexity  networks  interconnections  problem_solving  messiness  assumptions 
january 2013 by jerryking
Big Data Is Great, but Don’t Forget Intuition
December 29, 2012 | NYTimes.com |By STEVE LOHR.

A major part of managing Big Data projects is asking the right questions: How do you define the problem? What data do you need? Where does it come from? What are the assumptions behind the model that the data is fed into? How is the model different from reality?...recognize the limits and shortcomings of the Big Data technology that they are building. Listening to the data is important, they say, but so is experience and intuition. After all, what is intuition at its best but large amounts of data of all kinds filtered through a human brain rather than a math model?
Andrew_McAfee  asking_the_right_questions  bubbles  conferences  critical_thinking  data_scientists  Erik_Brynjolfsson  failure  hedge_funds  human_brains  information-literate  information-savvy  intuition  massive_data_sets  MIT  models  problems  problem_awareness  problem_definition  problem_framing  questions  skepticism  Steve_Lohr  Wall_Street 
january 2013 by jerryking
When Uncertainty Is A Constant, You Can Still Plan for Surprises
April 7, 1998 | WSJ | By HAL LANCASTER.

one of the few certainties in today's tumultuous business world: About all anyone can expect is the unexpected.

Hal Lancaster answers readers' questions on career issues in Career Corner. Send your questions or comments by e-mail to hlancast@wsj.com .

Between mergers and restructurings, new technology and intensified global competition, "change is accelerating," says Dallas management consultant Price Pritchett, who specializes in change management. "The more change and the faster it comes at us, the easier it is for us to get blindsided."

But isn't the ability to cope with the unexpected genetically coded? "Some people have a high need for structure and don't like to wing it." Still, anyone can get better at dealing with surprises.

Here are some other effective strategies:

* Figure out what you can control.

* Plan tight and play loose. "deep planning," or considering all conceivable scenarios and what-ifs. But won't the unexpected foil the best-laid plans? "The better job we do planning, the better we'll do improvising, because we'll understand the situation better,"

* Develop solutions. In a soon-to-be-released booklet on innovation that he is publishing for clients, Dr. Pritchett draws lessons from the 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory talked about "crafting solutions that were tolerant to the uncertainties" of such a project,

* Separate fact from assumptions.

To make good decisions, you need good information. In turbulent times, Mr. Postons observes, "people get suspicious, they get paranoid and that's when they get frozen."

* Do something.In an environment of high-velocity change, Dr. Pritchett says, remember the perils of passivity. "You have to keep moving forward, knowing that in this blurry, fast-moving world, you're going to have to drive on fog lights much of the time."

Concentrating on a plan of action and lining up others to help can turn despair into accomplishment, Dr. Stoltz says. The strategy, he adds, is "whiner-proof and solution-oriented."
Hal_Lancaster  Managing_Your_Career  uncertainty  adversity  surprises  critical_thinking  managing_change  unexpected  cost_of_inaction  assumptions  change  resilience  tumultuous  constant_change  solutions  solution-finders  accelerated_lifecycles  action_plans  span_of_control  momentum  blindsided  blind_spots  beyond_one's_control  JPL  next_play 
december 2012 by jerryking
The Acceleration of Tranquility
October 4, 1999 | Forbes ASAP | by Mark Helprin, a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute and contributing editor for the Wall Street Journal, served in the Israeli infantry and Air Force. His best-known novels are Winter's Tale and A Soldier of the Great War.

The comparison between an old way of life and the futurist possible way of life of 2016 had a strong significance. First, the reader realizes how fast the world has involved and changed in one century. Even though most of us are aware of that, I thought this comparison was very powerful. It emphasized the fact that in today’s world and even more in tomorrow’s one, everything goes/will go so fast that we don’t even have time to disconnect from other people and from our daily activities; not even a day or an hour. We are prisoners from our own creation. Of course, productivity has dramatically increased between the statesman of 1906 and the business man from 2016. In fact it is even essential to be effective today that to have instantaneous and unlimited access to all the technology related to the business world. What I liked was when the author emphasized the fact that even though we had less technology the other century, we certainly had more “freedom”, more quality time where we could think, read, learn and where we could enjoy more the little things we had access to. A sentence that had a strong influence on me was “the lack of certain things when you want them makes your desire keener and you better rewarded when eventually you get them”. I think this is what bad the technology and constant innovation has brought to us. Nowadays, we expect to have everything we want and we want it fast; we accept less and less the frustration we face.

Questions Raised by Helprin’s Article
1. Which view is more appealing? Why?
2. In referring to the ‘016 view, Helprin writes “life is lived with the kind of excitement that your forebears knew only in battle”. What is he saying?
3. Helprin writes: “When expanding one’s powers, as we are now in the midst of now doing by many orders of magnitude in the mastery of information, we must always be aware of our natural limitations, moral requirements, and humane preferences”. Do you agree? Why or why not?
4. What does Helprin mean when he says that “potential has always been the overlord of will”?
5. Do you agree with Helprin’s argument that the “genie is out of the bottle”? Why or why not? Are there alternatives to “racing with the genie”?
6. Do you agree that “the heart of Western civilization is not the abdication of powers but rather meeting the challenge of their use”? Explain.
7. What is the difference between information and knowledge? What clues does Helprin give to answer this question?
8. Was the age of “brick and iron” friendlier to mankind”? Explain.
9. Do you agree that what we need are “discipline, values, and clarity of vision”? Explain.
10. Helprin writes: “the founders laid down principles that have served to prevent the transformation of individual to manipulable quantity. It does not matter what convenience is sacrificed in pursuit of this”. Do you agree? Explain.

http://engscisoc.pbworks.com/w/page/19104263/Acceleration%20of%20Tranquility
history  future  Mark_Helprin  questions  critical_thinking  orders-of-magnitude  proclivities 
november 2012 by jerryking
Analytic Thinking and Presentation for Intelligence Producers.
The importance of a title
How to gist your reading (actually a very helpful section)
The need for focus and clarity
“If you can’t summarize your bottom line in one sentence, you haven’t done your analysis.”
One idea – One Paragraph
The inverted Pyramid writing style, i.e. begin with the core assumption.
The importance of precise language (no jargon, no abbreviations, allow no possible misunderstandings)
Again, there is nothing earth shattering, but it is an interesting read.
DEVELOPING ANALYTICAL OBJECTIVITY
The part that I found most interesting is the section entitled “Developing Analytical Objectivity.”
In a world filled with talk radio and infotainment, it is an important point to raise awareness about.
We have talked extensively about the cognitive nature of our brains and some of the fallacies and tricks our brains play on us – especially in the political arena.
This warning given to some of our country’s brightest thinkers acts as a reminder that if the smartest person in the room must protect against biases, so must we.
focus  clarity  strategic_thinking  critical_thinking  security_&_intelligence  writing  presentations  howto  sense-making  objectivity  biases  Philip_Mudd  analysts  misunderstandings  intelligence_analysts 
october 2012 by jerryking
A Report to The Wall Street Journal's World-Wide Readers - WSJ.com
What Won't Change

That's what will change. Let me tell you what won't: We won't use color for color's sake, or merely to entertain you. That's not the Journal, and it never will be. Instead, we'll use color to convey more information, particularly in graphs, charts and tables, and to help you navigate your way more quickly and easily to and through those parts of the paper that matter most to you.

We won't "dumb down" The Wall Street Journal. This publication isn't for everybody, and we don't intend for it to be. Instead, it's written, edited and published for a broad community of women and men in business and seriously interested in the world of business -- and now, also, the "business of life." It's intended to be sophisticated and thoughtful and thought-provoking, and unapologetic about all of that. It's often clever, sometimes playful, but never shallow or silly. In a world sometimes overwhelmed with trivialities, our readers don't need any more trivia, and we don't intend to provide it to them.
wsj  9/11  newspapers  critical_thinking  sophisticated  worthiness  discernment  trivia 
august 2012 by jerryking
Introduction to the Case Method
(1) Define the central problem. (Problems vs. symptoms, sequence, linkages)
(2) Formulate the alternatives. (3 or 4 are usually sufficient. Include maintenance of the status quo).
(3) Analyze the alternatives. (Uncover the nature, proportion, function, and underlying relationships among a set of variables). Lay out assumptions. Review assumptions to see how dependent conclusions are on the assumptions made. Contingency plans in the case that assumptions don't hold. Opposing arguments addressed? Pros/cons of each alternative.
(4) Recommend a solution. (Make it clear cut. Avoid qualifications)
(5) Specify a plan of action. (Potential reactions)
(6) Prepare contingency plans.
case_studies  business_schools  symptoms  howto  frameworks  problem_framing  problem_solving  linkages  marketing_math  critical_thinking  action_plans  contingency_planning  alternatives  assumptions  argumentation  sequencing 
july 2012 by jerryking
Deja Vu - WSJ.com
May 21, 2007 | WSJ | Cynthia Crossen

The toughest part of inventing isn't solving problems. It's figuring out which problems are worth the effort...If you made a list of the 2,100 inventions you thought were needed, you would also be painting a profile of yourself. "Invention is really a systematic form of criticism," Mr. Yates wrote, and people tend to criticize the things that annoy them in their daily lives. Mr. Yates, for example, seems to have found most commonplace devices excessively noisy....While Mr. Yates recorded most of his 2,100 inventions in no particular order, he did make a top-10 list that proves he wasn't a trivial thinker. His top-three needed inventions all concerned energy -- a way to transform energy into power with less waste, a more efficient way to store energy and better light bulbs.

Mr. Yates, a self-taught engineer, inventor and technical writer, tried to nudge other inventors in the right direction with his book, "2100 Needed Inventions." Published by Wilfred Funk Inc., Mr. Yates's book was a list of ways people could alleviate certain nuisances and defects of life and get rich for their trouble. "We often see clever and simple devices for sale which cause us to chastise ourselves with some such remark as, 'Why I could have thought of that years ago and made a lot of money with it!' Certainly you could have -- but you didn't."
inventors  inventions  criticism  problem_solving  critical_thinking  negative_space  worthiness  frictions  pain_points  discernment  unarticulated_desires  worthwhile_problems  personal_enrichment  systematic_approaches 
june 2012 by jerryking
The Limits of Intelligence - WSJ.com
December 10, 2007 | WSJ | By PETER HOEKSTRA and JANE HARMAN.

On one of our several trips together to Iraq, a senior intelligence official told us how she wrote her assessments -- on one page, with three sections: what we know, what we don't know, and what we think it means.

Sound simple? Actually, it's very hard....The information we receive from the intelligence community is but one piece of the puzzle in a rapidly changing world. It is not a substitute for policy, and the challenge for policy makers is to use good intelligence wisely to fashion good policy.

In fact, the new NIE on Iran comes closest to the three-part model our intelligence community strives for: It carefully describes sources and the analysts' assessment of their reliability, what gaps remain in their understanding of Iran's intentions and capabilities, and how confident they are of their conclusions....Nevertheless, Congress must engage in vigorous oversight -- to challenge those who do intelligence work, and to make site visits to see for ourselves.

Intelligence is an investment -- in people and technology. It requires sustained focus, funding and leadership. It also requires agency heads that prioritize their constitutional duty to keep the intelligence committees informed. Good intelligence will not guarantee good policy, but it can spare us some huge policy mistakes.
security_&_intelligence  critical_thinking  Iran  memoranda  policy  sense-making  unknowns  interpretation  interpretative  information_gaps  oversight  rapid_change  think_threes  assessments_&_evaluations  policymakers  policymaking  intelligence_analysts 
june 2012 by jerryking
A First Draft of History? - WSJ.com
March 12, 2005 | WSJ | By BRET STEPHENS

The cliché is that journalism is the first draft of history. Yet a historian searching for clues about the origins of many of the great stories of recent decades--the collapse of the Soviet empire; the rise of Osama bin Laden; the declining American crime rate; the economic eclipse of Japan and Germany--would find most contemporary journalism useless. Perhaps a story here or there might, in retrospect, seem illuminating. But chances are it would have been nearly invisible at the time of publication: eight column inches, page A12.

The problem is not that journalists can't get their facts straight: They can and usually do. Nor is it that the facts are obscure: Often, the most essential facts are also the most obvious ones. The problem is that journalists have a difficult time distinguishing significant facts--facts with consequences--from insignificant ones. That, in turn, comes from not thinking very hard about just which stories are most worth telling....As for the media, it shouldn't be too difficult to do better. Look for the countervailing data. Broaden your list of sources. Beware of exoticizing your subject:
Bret_Stephens  journalism  journalists  critical_thinking  history  signals  noise  frictions  pain_points  worthiness  countervailing  storytelling  seminal_moments  wide-framing  discernment  origin_story  historians  consequential  clichés  worthwhile_problems 
may 2012 by jerryking
Be Data Literate -- Know What to Know - WSJ.com
November 15, 2005 | WSJ |By PETER F. DRUCKER. (This article originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal on Dec. 3, 1992).

Few executives yet know how to ask: What information do I need to do my job? When do I need it? In what form? And from whom should I be getting it? Fewer still ask: What new tasks can I tackle now that I get all these data? Which old tasks should I abandon? Which tasks should I do differently? Practically no one asks: What information do I owe? To whom? When? In what form?...A "database," no matter how copious, is not information. It is information's ore. For raw material to become information, it must be organized for a task, directed toward specific performance, applied to a decision. Raw material cannot do that itself. Nor can information specialists. They can cajole their customers, the data users. They can advise, demonstrate, teach. But they can no more manage data for users than a personnel department can take over the management of the people who work with an executive.

Information specialists are toolmakers. The data users, whether executive or professional, have to decide what information to use, what to use it for and how to use it. They have to make themselves information-literate. This is the first challenge facing information users now that executives have become computer-literate.

But the organization also has to become information-literate. It also needs to learn to ask: What information do we need in this company? When do we need it? In what form? And where do we get it?
CFOs  CIOs  critical_thinking  data  databases  data_driven  decision_making  digital_savvy  incisiveness  information-literate  information-savvy  insights  interpretative  managerial_preferences  metacognition  organizing_data  Peter_Drucker  questions 
may 2012 by jerryking
The Education of Andy Grove
By RICHARD S. TEDLOW
December 12, 2005

(FORTUNE Magazine)
'If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what do you think he would do?' Gordon answered without hesitation, 'He would get us out of memories.' I stared at him, numb, then said, 'Why shouldn't you and I walk out the door, come back, and do it ourselves?'"
Andy_Grove  profile  data_driven  cancers  critical_thinking  tough-mindedness 
may 2012 by jerryking
The 6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers
Mar 20, 2012 | | Inc.com | Paul J. H. Schoemaker.
Adaptive strategic leaders--the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment--do six things well:

1. Anticipate. Hone your “peripheral vision.” Reduce vulnerabilities to rivals who detect and act on ambiguous signals. ... Build wide external networks to help you scan the horizon better
2. Think Critically. Critical thinkers question everything. To master this skill, you must force yourself to reframe problems to get to the bottom of things, in terms of root causes. Challenge current beliefs and mindsets, including your own Uncover hypocrisy, manipulation, and bias in organizational decisions.
3. Interpret. Ambiguity is unsettling. Faced with it, you are tempted to reach for a fast (potentially wrongheaded) solution. A good strategic leader holds steady, synthesizing information from many sources before developing a viewpoint. To get good at this, you have to:Seek patterns in multiple sources of data; Question prevailing assumptions and test multiple hypotheses simultaneously.
4. Decide. Many leaders fall prey to “analysis paralysis.” Develop processes and enforce them, so that you arrive at a “good enough” position. To do that well, you have to: Carefully frame the decision to get to the crux of the matter, Balance speed, rigor, quality, and agility. Leave perfection to higher powers. Take a stand even with incomplete information and amid diverse views
5. Align. Consensus is rare. Foster open dialogue, build trust, and engage key stakeholders, especially when views diverge. To pull that off, you need to: Understand what drives other people's agendas, including what remains hidden. Bring tough issues to the surface, even when it's uncomfortable
Assess risk tolerance and follow through to build the necessary support
6. Learn.

As your company grows, honest feedback is harder and harder to come by. You have to do what you can to keep it coming.
Encourage and exemplify honest, rigorous debriefs to extract lessons
Shift course quickly if you realize you're off track
Celebrate both successes and (well-intentioned) failures that provide insight
Do you have what it takes?
tips  leadership  habits  strategic_thinking  anticipating  critical_thinking  networks  biases  conventional_wisdom  decision_making  empathy  feedback  thinking  failure  lessons_learned  leaders  interpretation  ambiguities  root_cause  insights  paralyze  peripheral_vision  analysis_paralysis  reframing  course_correction  vulnerabilities  good_enough  debriefs  post-mortems  problem_framing  discomforts  wide-framing  outward_looking  assumptions  game_changers 
march 2012 by jerryking
Free-Market Socialism
I'm old-fashioned enough to believe the best reasons for attending college are learning how (not what) to think---how to amass and weigh evidence, how to hone and evaluate arguments, and how to refine the humanistic and social values that will fit one's employment into a complete life.
letters_to_the_editor  David_Brooks  critical_thinking  Colleges_&_Universities  argumentation  logic_&_reasoning  criteria 
january 2012 by jerryking
Einstein’s Secret to Amazing Problem Solving (and 10 Specific Ways You Can Use It)
Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.

The point: before jumping right into solving a problem, we should step back and invest time and effort to improve our understanding of it. Here are 10 strategies to see problems from many different perspectives and to master the most important step in problem solving: clearly defining the problem in the first place!
The Problem Is To Know What the Problem Is

The definition of the problem will be the focal point of all your problem-solving efforts.
1. Rephrase the Problem
2. Expose and Challenge Assumptions
3. Chunk Up
4. Chunk Down
5. Find Multiple Perspectives
6. Use Effective Language Constructs
7. Make It Engaging
8. Reverse the Problem
9. Gather Facts
10. Problem-Solve Your Problem Statement
creativity  lifehacks  thinking  tips  problem_solving  Albert_Einstein  problems  problem_framing  critical_thinking  Philip_Mudd  uncharted_problems  thinking_backwards  problem_definition 
january 2012 by jerryking
Teaching High School Students Applied Logical Reasoning
2009 | Journal of Information Technology Education Volume 8,
Innovations in Practice | Dan Bouhnik and Yahel Giat

The rapid changes in information technology in recent years have rendered current high school
curricula unable to cope with student needs. In consequence, students do not possess the proper
skills required in today’s information era. Specifically, many students lack the skills to search
efficiently for information. Moreover, even when abundant information is available to them, students
are unable to critically read, analyze, and evaluate it.
To address these problems we developed a high school course designed to provide students with
applied logical tools. The course was developed for two different student groups: social sciencesoriented
students and exact sciences-oriented students. It is composed of several parts whose contents
depend on the students’ orientation. This course is part of a broader program whose purpose
is a comprehensive study and understanding of logical and concept-based systems....Thus, instead of utilizing this abundant information to produce better informed students, we often find that students are unable to distinguish true from false, separate fact from fiction, identify the underlying motives, and reach sound and reasoned opinions
high_schools  students  logic_&_reasoning  life_skills  rhetoric  education  critical_thinking  decision_making  Junior_Achievement  information_overload  rapid_change 
november 2011 by jerryking
Norm Augustine: The Education Our Economy Needs - WSJ.com
SEPTEMBER 21, 2011 | WSJ | By NORM AUGUSTINE.

We lag in science, but students' historical illiteracy hurts our politics and our businesses.
illiteracy  history  historians  students  high_schools  critical_thinking 
september 2011 by jerryking
Corner Office - The 5 Habits of Highly Effective C.E.O.’s
April 16, 2011|NYT|ADAM BRYANT
* Passionate Curiosity.
Share stories re. failures, doubts & mistakes. Ask big-picture
questions re. why things work the way they do & can they be improved
upon? Know people’s back stories, and what they do. Relentless
questioning can lead to spotting new opportunities, or helping
understand subordinates, and how to get them to work together
effectively.
* Battle-Hardened Confidence
The best predictor of behavior is past performance, & that’s why so
many CEOs interview job candidates about how they've dealt with failure.

* Team Smarts
* A Simple Mind-Set
Be concise, get to the point, make it simple. ...There was a time when
simply having certain information was a competitive advantage. Now, in
the Internet era, most people have easy access to the same information.
That puts a greater premium on the ability to synthesize, to connect
dots in new ways and to ask simple, smart questions that lead to
untapped opportunities.
* Fearlessness - Not status quo!
CEOs  leadership  teams  ksfs  contextual_intelligence  Managing_Your_Career  executive_management  curiosity  questions  mindsets  concision  confidence  critical_thinking  overlooked_opportunities  interpretation  connecting_the_dots  fearlessness  the_big_picture  subordinates 
april 2011 by jerryking
Do you belong to the Elites? Take this test and see!
Nov. 6, 2010 |G &M | John T. First, the problem isn't
"elites" vs. "anti-elites" - that's what those who benefit from the
bickering between "left" and "right" want us to think. The problem is
that most of us have no critical thinking skills, without which, we fall
victim to false ideas (e.g. that the problem with society is that the
"elites" don't understand the "real world"). The real problem is that
most people, elites & non-elites alike, don't have a clue, &
can't figure it out for themselves. The problem is not just that the
elites have no idea how the rest of the world lives...the opposite also
holds true. Wente's "elite" may not understand NASCAR, but it's likely
that her avg. "elite" knows more about NASCAR than the avg. NASCAR fan
knows about NPR. No, the problem is not where you were educated, but IF
you were educated, and even more important, if you really learned
anything--because the majority of the educated didn't learn critical
thinking skills.
commentators  elitism  critical_thinking  Margaret_Wente  anti-intellectualism  in_the_real_world 
november 2010 by jerryking
Teaching for America - NYTimes.com
November 20, 2010 | new York TImes | By THOMAS L.
FRIEDMAN....Tony Wagner, the Harvard-based education expert and author
of “The Global Achievement Gap,” explains it this way. There are three
basic skills that students need if they want to thrive in a knowledge
economy: the ability to do critical thinking and problem-solving; the
ability to communicate effectively; and the ability to
collaborate......Wagner thinks we should create a West Point for
teachers:..if we want better teachers we also need better parents —
parents who turn off the TV and video games, make sure homework is
completed, encourage reading and elevate learning as the most important
life skill. The more we demand from teachers the more we have to demand
from students and parents. .
Teach_for_America  achievement_gaps  teachers  education  critical_thinking  collaboration  Communicating_&_Connecting  Tom_Friedman  students  ksfs  books 
november 2010 by jerryking
Lessons From the Chessboard - WSJ.com
SEPTEMBER 27, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By STEPHANIE
BANCHERO. Chess, as a Survival Skill. School Uses Chess to Teach
Self-Control, Critical Thinking to Troubled Students
chess  curriculum  schools  critical_thinking  self-control 
september 2010 by jerryking
Book review: Crisis on Campus - WSJ.com
AUGUST 31, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | by NAOMI SCHAEFER
RILEY. Reading, Writing, Radical Change. Abolish tenure, require more
teaching, put star professors online. ...`` When Mark Taylor's children
were growing up, he made them write a three-page paper once a week each
summer between sixth grade and college. "It could be on any subject they
chose, and the only requirement was that the essay had to be
discursive, that is to say, they had to formulate a thesis, develop an
argument, defend it, and draw a conclusion," ...At heart, Mr. Taylor has
an old-fashioned sense of what it takes for students to become good
writers and good thinkers: for starters, a lot of practice at writing
and thinking. ``
Colleges_&_Universities  reform  distance_education  tenure  critical_thinking  NaomiSchaeferRiley  book_reviews  parenting  logic_&_reasoning 
august 2010 by jerryking
Irshad Manji: A Muslim Reformer on the Mosque - WSJ.com
AUGUST 26, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By IRSHAD MANJI. "
Debates across America over Islamic centers and mosques won't soon be
resolved. But this summer's hysteria is giving the upper hand to one
nefarious force: the culture of offense.

Election-year politics, ratings-hungry media and deep personal fear
foment raw emotion. In such an environment, "I'm offended" takes on the
stature of a substantive argument. Too many Americans are mistaking
feeling for thinking. "
tolerance  critical_thinking  Park51  Irshad_Manji  political_correctness  feelings  mistakes 
august 2010 by jerryking
An absence of critical thinking
Aug. 21, 2010|G & M |by Allan Levine. Teaching history is
only partly about instructing students about dates, names and the
significant events of the past. Of more importance is teaching them how
to think critically – to analyze, critique, synthesize and evaluate the
evidence objectively before arriving at any conclusions. This may be the
most useful skill they acquire during their high-school years,
preparing them to become thoughtful adults and discriminating citizens.
“Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which
attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded
way,” explains Linda Elder, president of the Foundation for Critical
Thinking. “People who think critically consistently attempt to live
rationally, reasonably and empathically. They work diligently to develop
the intellectual virtues of intellectual integrity, intellectual
humility, intellectual civility, intellectual empathy, intellectual
sense of justice and confidence in reason.”
critical_thinking  history  teaching  high_schools 
august 2010 by jerryking
A Classical Education: Back to the Future - Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com
June 7, 2010 | NYT | By STANLEY FISH. Leigh A. Bortins’ “The
Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education,”
Martha C. Nussbaum’s “Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the
Humanities” and Diane Ravitch’s “The Death and Life of the Great
American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining
Education.”..."The result, she complains, is that “abilities crucial to
the health of any democracy” are being lost, especially the ability to
“think critically,” the ability, that is, “to probe, to evaluate
evidence, to write papers with well-structured arguments, and to analyze
the arguments presented to them in other texts.”"
Stanley_Fish  education  liberal_arts  humanities  engaged_citizenry  curriculum  reunions  high_schools  book_reviews  critical_thinking  democracy 
june 2010 by jerryking
The Grade Game
May 13 2010 | The Atlantic | Mickey Edwards. The form of
government by which we in America determine our laws is that of a
participatory democracy, "participatory" being the operative word. It is
essential for our continued well-being -- our security and our
prosperity -- that our citizens be capable of serious thought. The
ability to engage in critical thinking is far more important than the
memorization of dates or the ability to remember which theorist goes
with which theory.
grade_inflation  teaching  Colleges_&_Universities  critical_thinking  engaged_citizenry  participatory 
may 2010 by jerryking
Op-Ed Columnist - Leading With Two Minds - NYTimes.com
May 6, 2010 | New York Times | By DAVID BROOKS. Five years
ago, the United States Army was one sort of organization, with a certain
mentality. Today, it is a different organization, with a different
mentality. It has been transformed in the virtual flash of an eye, and
the story of that transformation is fascinating for anybody interested
in the flow of ideas.

The process was led by these dual-consciousness people — those who could
be practitioners one month and then academic observers of themselves
the next.

It’s a wonder that more institutions aren’t set up to encourage this
sort of alternating life. Business schools do it, but most institutions
are hindered by guild customs, by tenure rules and by the tyranny of
people who can only think in one way.
David_Brooks  U.S._military  organizational_change  institutional_change  dual-consciousness  institutions  critical_thinking  strategic_thinking  U.S._Army  introspection  self-analysis  self-awareness  transformational  mindsets  idea_flows 
may 2010 by jerryking
George Lucas Wants More “Greek Philosophers and Cobblers” — World Business Forum — Presented by Shell
George Lucas divides the forms of learning into two parts that
are equally important in shaping how people think and act. The first
part is “the philosophical-intellectual side,” in the
Aristotle/Plato/Socratic mold. The second part is apprenticeship
mold....“Once we got into the Industrial Revolution, those two forms of
learning got swept aside and education became an exercise in pumping as
much information as possible into kids,”... like an assembly line, and
at the end of the assembly line, the students spit back the information
and get a diploma. That doesn’t work.” Through the George Lucas
Educational Foundation, he’s applying his storytelling and technical
prowess to engage students and turn out sharper thinkers who can thrive
in an age of information overload.
storytelling  George_Lucas  Greek  apprenticeships  students  Industrial_Revolution  Socratic  critical_thinking  foundations  philanthropy  philosophers  Plato 
may 2010 by jerryking
The Newest Mandarins
Dec. 16, 2007 | NYT | By ANNPING CHIN. Scores of men and women
in China’s business world today are studying their country’s classical
texts, not just “The Art of War,” but also early works from the
Confucian and the Daoist canon. On weekends, they gather at major
universities, @ paying tens of thousands of yuan , to learn from
prominent professors of philosophy and literature, to read and think in
ways they could not when they were students and the classics were the
objects of Maoist harangue. Those inside and outside China say that
these businessmen and -women, like most Chinese right now, have caught
the “fever of national learning”..students studying history and
philosophy seem to ask more questions--. whether there is an appropriate
way to pursue the idea of freedom; whether this chase, which is often
complicated by the tangles of human relationships and life’s unwanted
circumstances, can become a test of one’s interior strength. Learning
the texts, for them, is learning to think.
China  students  Colleges_&_Universities  philosophy  Sun_Tzu  humanities  political_theory  critical_thinking  Confucian 
march 2010 by jerryking
Russert's Career Advice: Just Do It - WSJ.com
JUNE 16, 2008 | Wall Street Journal | by ROBERT COSTA. Russert
stopped by Notre Dame this April, a month before my graduation, to give
the Red Smith Lecture in Journalism. He talked about the need to
prepare for every interview. "It is essential that I do what I didn't do
when I was in college," he said. "I had been taught that if I read my
lesson before class, show up in class on time, review my notes after
class, then the exam would be easy. They were right. I did not do that,
but it is what I do now, each and every day." Russert told us at Notre
Dame to challenge ourselves to think critically about what we saw and
read. "It is not enough to confirm your political views by only
accessing and reading outfits that reinforce your views but do not
challenge them," he said.
interview_preparation  Tim_Russert  career  advice  critical_thinking  inspiration  reminiscing  journalists 
february 2010 by jerryking
Unlearning 101: Study Carneades
July 09, 2008 | unlearning 101 | by Jack Uldrich. " I say that
I’m not entitled to have an opinion on this subject unless I can state
the argument against my position better than the people who support it. I
think only when I’ve reached that state am I qualified to speak.” "
F. Scott Fitzgerald who once said: “The test of a first rate mind is the
ability to hold two diametrically opposed ideas at the same time and
still function.”"
critical_thinking  history  philosophy  skepticism  strategic_thinking  Nassim_Taleb  opposing_actions  books  incompatibilities  Greek  Stoics  dual-consciousness  disagreements  F._Scott_Fitzgerald 
february 2010 by jerryking
The Art of Integrative Thinking
Fall 1999 | Rotman Management | by Roger Martin and Hilary Austen. Modern leadership necessitates integrative thinking.
Integrative thinkers work to see the whole problem, embrace its multi-varied nature, and understand the complexity of its
causal relationships.They work to shape and order what others see as a chaotic landscape.They search for creative resolutions.
to problems typically seen by others as a simple ‘fork in the
road’ or an irresolvable bind brought about by competing organizational
interests.
strategic_thinking  critical_thinking  Roger_Martin  Rotman  filetype:pdf  media:document 
february 2010 by jerryking
The future of the library
Posted by Seth Godin on January 09, 2010. What should libraries
do to become relevant in the digital age? Seth's proposal: train people
to take intellectual initiative. Since information is now free, what's
needed is training leaders, sherpas and teachers who will push everyone
from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using
information and in connecting with and leading others.
future  libraries  Seth_Godin  critical_thinking  infoliteracy 
january 2010 by jerryking
The Age of External Knowledge - Idea of the Day Blog
January 19, 2010 | NYTimes.com.

Today’s idea: Filtering, not remembering, is the most important mental skill in the digital age, an essay says [JCK: filtering =discernment]. But this discipline will prove no mean feat, since mental focus must take place amid the unlimited distractions of the Internet.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Now, anyone with good critical thinking skills and the ability to focus on the important information can retrieve it on demand from the Internet, rather than her own memory.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Edge, the high-minded ideas and tech site, has posed its annual question for 2010 — “How is the Internet changing the way you think?”

David Dalrymple, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, thinks human memory will no longer be the key repository of knowledge, and focus will supersede erudition. Quote:...... The bottom line is that how well an employee can focus might now be more important than how knowledgeable he is. Knowledge was once an internal property of a person, and focus on the task at hand could be imposed externally, but with the Internet, knowledge can be supplied externally, but focus must be forced internally.
cognitive_skills  critical_thinking  discernment  distractions  external_knowledge  filtering  focus  ideas  inner-directed  tools 
january 2010 by jerryking
Leading Blog: A Leadership Blog: Roger Martin on Assertive Inquiry
12.07.07 | LeadershipNow | Posted by Michael McKinney at
08:38 AM. “When we interact with other people on the basis of a
particular mental model, we usually try to defend that model against any
challenges. Our energy goes into explaining our model to others and
defending it from criticism.

“The antidote to advocacy is inquiry, which produces meaningful
dialogue. When you use assertive inquiry to investigate someone else’s
metal model, you find saliencies that wouldn’t have occurred to you and
causal relationships you didn’t perceive. You may not want to adopt the
mental model as your own, but even the least compelling model can
provide clues to saliencies or causal relationships that will generate a
creative solution.”

Ask:

* “Could you please help me understand how you came to believe
that?”
* “Could you clarify that point for me with an illustration or
example?”
* “How does what you are saying overlap, if at all, with what I
suggested?”
Roger_Martin  Rotman  questions  critical_thinking  saliencies  mental_models  ego  humility 
january 2010 by jerryking
Multicultural Critical Theory. At Business School? - NYTimes.com
January 9, 2010 | New York Times | By LANE WALLACE. "
students needed to learn how to think critically and creatively every
bit as much as they needed to learn finance or accounting. More
specifically, they needed to learn how to approach problems from many
perspectives and to combine various approaches to find innovative
solutions" . "...design thinking is, it’s focused on taking that
understanding you have about the world and using that as a set of
insights from which to be creative"....”...Yale has also added a
“problem framing” course that tries to have students think more broadly,
question assumptions, view problems through multiple lenses and learn
from history.
“There’s a great deal to learn from Bismarck, Kissinger, F.D.R. and
J.F.K. about problem framing".
Roger_Martin  Rotman  uToronto  design  ideo  critical_thinking  problem_framing  Tim_Brown  Yale  history  business_schools  FDR  JFK  Henry_Kissinger  von_Bismarck 
january 2010 by jerryking
C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success
July 21, 2007 | New York Times | By HARRIET RUBIN. Serious
leaders who are serious readers build personal libraries dedicated to
how to think, not how to compete. If there is a C.E.O. canon, its rule
is this: “Don’t follow your mentors, follow your mentors’ mentors,”
suggests David Leach, chief executive of the American Medical
Association’s accreditation division. Forget finding the business
best-seller list in these libraries. “I try to vary my reading diet and
ensure that I read more fiction than nonfiction,” Mr. Moritz said. “I
rarely read business books..." Favourites: T. E. Lawrence’s ‘Seven
Pillars of Wisdom,’ Machiavelli’s “The Prince.”, Omar Khayyam’s
“Rubáiyát,”
book_reviews  CEOs  reading  books  collectors  fiction  critical_thinking  strategic_thinking  personal_libraries  poets  Michael_Moritz  Ogilvy_&_Mather  mentoring  Niccolò_Machiavelli 
november 2009 by jerryking
How to Ask Better Questions
May 6, 2009 | Management Essentials - HarvardBusiness.org | by Judith Ross.

The most effective and empowering questions create value in one or more of the following ways:

They create clarity: “Can you explain more about this situation?”
They construct better working relations: Instead of “Did you make your sales goal?” ask, “How have sales been going?”
They help people think analytically and critically: “What are the consequences of going this route?”
They inspire people to reflect and see things in fresh, unpredictable ways: “Why did this work?”
They encourage breakthrough thinking: “Can that be done in any other way?”
They challenge assumptions: “What do you think you will lose if you start sharing responsibility for the implementation process?
They create ownership of solutions: “Based on your experience, what do you suggest we do here?”
howto  Harvard  JCK  indispensable  HBR  questions  value_creation  clarity  relationships  critical_thinking  inspiration  reflections  breakthroughs  assumptions  owners  fresh_eyes 
june 2009 by jerryking
Science Journal - WSJ.com
OCTOBER 20, 2006 | Wall Street Journal | by SHARON BEGLEY.
Critical thinking means being able to evaluate evidence, to tell fact
from opinion, to see holes in an argument, to tell whether cause and
effect has been established and to spot illogic.....critical-thinking
skills are different from critical-thinking dispositions, or a
willingness to deploy those skills."

A tendency to employ critical thinking, according to studies going back a
decade, goes along with certain personality traits, not necessarily
with intelligence. Being curious, open-minded, open to new experiences
and conscientious indicates a disposition to employ critical thinking,
says Prof. Bensley. So does being less dogmatic and less authoritarian,
and having a preference for empirical and rational data over intuition
and emotion when weighing information and reaching conclusions.
critical_thinking  Sharon_Begley  evidence  inquisitiveness  argumentation  open_mind  curiosity  intuition  emotions  rationalism  assessments_&_evaluations 
may 2009 by jerryking
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