An iconoclast’s blueprint for a new era of innovation.

THE EXPLANATION AGE

Lewis’ guide to the changing landscape of modern society calls for a new method of processing information.

The mental models that drive businesses, schools and government institutions are outdated, Lewis contends. In today’s economy, ideas are currency and creativity is essential to effective decision-making. So why rely on old, factory-inspired thought models from the Industrial Age? Lewis argues that it’s time to move into the “Explanation Age” with a new model more aligned with how the human mind actually learns. Drawing from the brainy field of epistemology, he aims to combine “First Philosophy” with today’s technologies. Doing so, Lewis says, will allow readers to recognize that explanations, not simply data and information, provide the foundation on which innovation stands. Once we understand our own “Innate Lesson Cycle,” Lewis says, we’ll embrace mental models that produce pioneers and thought-leaders rather than simply experts. Corporations will cultivate inventiveness, not just productiveness; Internet search engines will present explanations, not just data. Armed with tools like the “Options Outline,” policymakers will be able to untangle society’s most contentious issues, such as climate change. Grasping the topics Lewis covers may require more than one reading, but his nimble style and simple analogies can make intimidating subjects more accessible, although readers may be put off by the book’s many diagrams, which sometimes stumble when translating complex ideas into visual form. This can be forgiven because the text never strays far from practical, real-world applications: Lewis applies his concepts to everything from how the Wright brothers built their airplane to the invention of the Post-it Note. His “8 Degrees of Reason,” alongside other models, illuminates not only how people learn but also, he says, how you know what you know. Ultimately, wisdom still reigns, but it rests on lessons and decisions—not just data and knowledge.

An iconoclast’s blueprint for a new era of innovation.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1452811062

Page Count: 274

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more