Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews
The bestselling author of Originals (2016) returns with an exploration of the theoretical and practical values of rethinking and mental agility.
Though rethinking and unlearning are not new intellectual exercises (Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living”), they are worth revisiting. Our worldview—that assemblage of instincts, habits, assumptions, and experiences—is something we hold dear. Grant, who teaches organizational psychology at the Wharton School of Business, challenges readers to rethink their outlooks on an ongoing basis, and he often makes time-tested concepts feel fresh. The author consistently emphasizes the importance of lifelong learning and maintaining an open, flexible mind. Grant investigates rethinking in three areas—the individual, changing others’ minds, and collective environments—and supports his text with research in numerous disciplines as well as entertaining anecdotes on a variety of topics, including the Blackberry, the presidency of Iceland, confirmation and desirability biases, the mindsets of totalitarians, and the values of scientific thinking (“favors humility over pride, doubt over certainty, curiosity over closure”) and confident humility. Regarding the last, leaders of all stripes can learn from Grant’s incisive discussion of how “you can be confident in your ability to achieve a goal in the future while maintaining the humility to question whether you have the right tools in the present.” As in his previous books, Grant employs earnest, crisp prose and thorough research. While readers will nod along in agreement with many of his points, some may give pause. For example: “Even if we disagree strongly with someone on a social issue, when we discover that she cares deeply about the issue, we trust her more.