A Roadmap to Clearer Thinking
Paul Sloane’s latest book about the ways we think provides a marvelous boost to the brain. Filled with research, puzzles, jokes and brainteasers, How to Be a Brilliant Thinker challenges readers while teaching them a variety of easy ways to redirect their thinking into more productive areas. It also takes the science of cognition out of the laboratory and puts it into a context from which anyone can gain an improved perspective on intelligence.
Sloane is already renowned in the world of cognitive science for his 17 previous books, including The Leader’s Guide to Lateral Thinking Skills and The Innovative Leader. In his latest book, Sloane continues to break down the latest advances in problem solving into thoroughly understandable terms and examples that easily develop the points he wants to make. As a seasoned public speaker, Sloane fills How to Be a Brilliant Thinker with dozens of straightforward ways anyone can improve his or her memory, solve problems, win arguments and come up with better ideas.
The Enemy of Brilliance
Sloane explains in a multitude of ways how conventional thinking can be the enemy of brilliant insight. To show how "divergent" or "lateral" thinking differs from "convergent" thinking, Sloane describes the benefits of both, but points out how the most brilliant minds move past convention to bring the world better ideas. While "vertical" or convergent thinking involves looking at problems from a conventional, predictable and direct perspective, Sloane writes, "Lateral thinking involves coming at the problem from new directions — literally from the side." To improve how you find the solutions you seek, Sloane and the many experts he introduces throughout his book offer better ways to approach difficult problems. Looking at a problem from different ways allows people to get past the rules and conventions that keep them stuck. Lateral thinking also helps thinkers get over their assumptions and biases that prevent more creative solutions from emerging.
Sloane explains that one of the ways anyone can find better answers is to use the simple technique of asking "What if?" questions to explore new possibilities. Writing down the ideas that pop up when asking "What if?" questions to stretch possibilities into sometimes ridiculous areas is a useful technique that can often capture some radical insights. This is because making new connections between diverse stimuli has the power to create fresh ideas that just might include the perfect solution.
How to Tell a Joke
What makes How to Be a Brilliant Thinker
so much fun to read is its abundance of clever puzzles and research results that show how lateral thinking works in a variety of contexts. These tools help to illustrate numerous topics in the realm of brain expansion, such as ways to think visually, humorously, mathematically and positively, and how to tell stories, hold conversations, win arguments and even how to tell a joke.
Sloane encourages joke tellers to slow down and speak clearly when telling a joke. Pausing for effect before delivering a well-practiced punch-line, he adds, can also help anyone deliver a joke with greater impact.
One wonderful thing about How to Be a Brilliant Thinker is Sloane’s love of well-concocted lists, such as his list on ways to boost your brain, which includes encouragement to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Sloane’s lists and research combine to create a fascinating resource. In his book, he presents a variety of mental tools and smart advice that can help us get a firmer grasp on our brains and behaviors.