Think Again

by Adam M. Grant · read May 23, 2021


This book wasn't as rigorous or groundbreaking as I had hoped it would be, but I came away with some useful new ideas — the four mindsets for approaching new ideas, the distinction between relationship and task conflict, and the reason why showing the 'other side' doesn't work (spoiler: binary bias).


Part One — Individual Rethinking

There are four different mindsets we can adopt when approaching new ideas.

  • Preacher: sacred beliefs, moral dimensions
  • Prosecutor: identify flaws, use arguments
  • Politician: win over audience, want approval
  • Scientist: make hypotheses, run experiments, assess evidence

Armchair quarterback is confidence > competence

Imposter syndrome is competence > confidence

Dunning-Kruger effect — the less you know, the more you think you know

Confident humility is security in your self but uncertainty about your tools

Detaching opinions from identity helps us to acknowledge being wrong

Two types of conflict — relationship and task

   Good kinds of conflict improve creativity and decision making

Part Two — Interpersonal Rethinking

Logic bully — instigates resistance by overwhelming with arguments

Negotiating — find common ground, stick with the strongest arguments, and ask questions

Change minds by reflecting arbitrariness of prejudice

Problem in persuasion is that what doesn't sway us can make our beliefs stronger

Motivational interviewing as a persuasion technique

  • ask open-ended questions
  • engage in reflective listening
  • affirm the person's desire and ability to change

Part Three — Collective Rethinking

Presenting "the other side" doesn't help (binary bias)

   Portray shades of grey, with caveats and contingencies

In education: active learning is more challenging but more effective; important to teach students new ways of thinking and learning

Always ask — "How do you know?"

Process accountability: explaining procedures behind our decisions helps us to think criticall

Part Four — Conclusion

Escalation of commitment: doubling down into a plan that's not working

The benefit of performing career checkups — reassessing if what you decided in the past still holds

  1. When did you form your aspirations and how have you changed since then?
  2. Have you reached a learning plateau and is it time to pivot?

Happiness depends more on what we do than on where we are

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