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The mental models that drive businesses, schools and government institutions are outdated, Lewis contends.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.