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Seeing What Others Don't: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  772 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
Insights—like Darwin’s understanding of the way evolution actually works, and Watson and Crick’s breakthrough discoveries about the structure of DNA—can change the world. We also need insights into the everyday things that frustrate and confuse us so that we can more effectively solve problems and get things done. Yet we know very little about when, why, or how insights ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 25th 2013 by PublicAffairs (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

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Morgan Blackledge
Jan 23, 2016 Morgan Blackledge rated it it was amazing
In a nut shell, the book is an exploration of the phenomena and process of insight.

The through line of the book is the wonderfully simple but oddly profound idea of the up and down arrow. The up arrow represents insights (which we would all like to increase) and the down arrow represents mistakes (which we would all like to decrease). It's pretty much a no duh so far right?

The authors simple but actually profound observation is that these two drives are often (if not always) at odds. in other w
...more
Jasmine
Mar 17, 2014 Jasmine rated it liked it
The book is the author narrating how he conducted his study on the idea of 'insights,' when what the readers - or at least I - really want is just what he found from it; he keeps explaining this thought processes that don't necessarily add much to the subject at hand (or to the ultimate conclusions about 'insight', that's where it kept getting boring for me.

Also,there were so many sentences that just could've just been taken out, and the only difference it would make is making it more concise a
...more
Tyler
Aug 20, 2013 Tyler rated it liked it
This is a good follow-up book to read after Imagine: How Creativity Works and Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, Where Good Ideas Come From is even referenced(and kind-of dismissed). Not surprisingly, no mention of Imagine but I still like that one a lot.

Insight definition and the path to having them is fleshed-out very well here. I really like all the specific stories he uses to make his points. Most of which were from history(intersting tidbits I had never heard) an
...more
Douglas Mangum
Dec 13, 2014 Douglas Mangum rated it it was amazing
I read Kahneman's Thinking Fast & Slow earlier this year, and this was a great book for balancing the ideas from that book. Klein does a good job explaining his view of how people have come to surprising ideas that solved seemingly intransigent problems, but his model deals with more than just the "impasse" approach to problem-solving. He also explains how making connections, seeing contradictions, and experiencing happy coincidences contribute to great insights. In terms of how he balances ...more
Peter Mcloughlin
This is a book about insights and how they happen. The author looked into cases of insight large and small and tried to find out what insights have in common and ways to foster them. The author identified five factors that are involved in insight. One was Coincidence a random piece of information from an unlikely place can lead to an insight. The second factor was curiosity where exploring a new phenomenon or idea extensively and following this lead for a long time can develop an incite. The ...more
Dane Cobain
Mar 15, 2014 Dane Cobain rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.

Now, I’ll be honest – when I started reading this, I was a skeptic. I didn’t believe in the so-called ‘science of insights‘, or the field of naturalistic decision-making that the author helped to pioneer. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

Klein writes with such passion and such conviction that you quickly come round to his point of view, and he’s done the hard-work for you by researching over a hundred cases of insig
...more
Cody Faldyn
Apr 10, 2015 Cody Faldyn rated it it was amazing
In his book Klein shares stories involving his years of cognitive learning research that uncover the origins of creativity and how many successful innovators were able to create their marvelous ideas. The goal of the book is to help you train your brain to be more creative, effectively solve more problems, avoid disruptive idea blockers, and think faster than the average person.

For your convenience, I had Gary Klein on my podcast, The Entrepreneurs Library, to give a deep dive on Seeing What Oth
...more
Andrea James
Feb 25, 2014 Andrea James rated it liked it
Shelves: decision-making
There were a few good points in this book but there were also quite a few stories that were used to make essentially the same point, which is that a focus/an obsession with accuracy and predictability crowds out out ability to have insights.

It's probably a reasonably entertaining book (I'd already read almost all of the stories that were not the author's own so it was somewhat less entertaining for me). Though the book overall was a very quick read and the stories help us to remember the points
...more
Roger Wu
Dec 28, 2014 Roger Wu rated it liked it
It was an OK book, I would have appreciated the anecdotes better minus the forced framework. I don't think that you can create a framework around serendipity. I did like the comparison with corporations and why they don't have much innovation.
Mark Fallon
May 28, 2015 Mark Fallon rated it really liked it
Much of my work as a consultant is to help my clients reduce errors and increase efficiencies. According to Klein, my efforts may also be hindering my clients' abilities to gain insights and find innovative solutions. Now what do I do?
د.أمجد الجنباز
Feb 26, 2015 د.أمجد الجنباز rated it it was amazing
من أروع الكتب التي قرأتها عن الإبداعي
يتحدث فيها المؤلف عن نموذج ابتكره لكيفية الحصول لللأفكار الإبداعية
وال Insight

ومن جمال الكتاب، أنه يسير معك خطوة خطوة في آلية قيامه بالبحث وكيف جمع القصص وكيف استخرج منها النموذج

كتاب ممتع حقا
Jay Deiboldt
Feb 19, 2015 Jay Deiboldt rated it it was ok
Full of fluff. This book used 300+ pages to say what could have been said in 50
Kurt Jensen
Nov 28, 2016 Kurt Jensen rated it liked it
A meandering, unfocused book about behavior.

The book meanders around its thesis so long, in fact, that it takes some time—nearly the length of the book—to realize that the book is best applied to organizational behavior, and that's where Klein's expertise lies.

There are insights to be had in this book—I use the word "insights" in the weak sense of information, rather than the creative spark Klein describes.

It's an excellent collection of case studies and stories that end up teaching you at least
...more
Ravi Sinha
Nov 18, 2016 Ravi Sinha rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Curiosity, connection, coincidence, contradiction, and creative desperation can all lead to insights, and all five have different rules (according to the author's research conclusions) whether one should be open minded or skeptical. Replete with complete stories, it's a fairly decent read/listen on the psychology of what makes 'aha moments' happen. Although reading it alone won't make anybody suddenly more insightful, it's nice to know what goes on in the minds of individuals who do make ...more
Niloy Mukherjee
Nov 04, 2016 Niloy Mukherjee rated it liked it
Interesting book on how we generate insights but offers minimal ideas on how we can boost our ability to garner insights. Maybe this wasn't the goal of the author but it would have made this book significantly more useful. Still, a decent read to at least get a better understanding of how our minds work when we craft a new insight.
Sam
Oct 08, 2016 Sam rated it liked it
Ambitious topic. Model he comes up with fir fifferent paths to insight seems pretty solid, am no expert on the academic literature around the topic but felt like he moved it forward. Great chapters on failure of scientific research community investigating research solely through lab experiments; and also in corporations structural inability to protect and promote insight generation. Also just a nice collection of stories, from the workd changing to the mundane, as the authors hunts down insight. ...more
Frans Saxén
In this book on insights, Gary Klein sumarizes his studies on insights, now they are arrived at, what works, and to some extent, what does not work. Through a study of 120 different cases ("stories") of insights, the author tries to convey some insights on insights.

Klein sees the broader topic as improving performance, where improvement is made up of two main components: 1) reducing error (downside), 2) gaining insights (upside). Research, as well as businesses tend to focus a lot on the downsi
...more
Volkan
Nov 05, 2013 Volkan rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly, our understanding of how we stumble upon new insights hasn't come far beyond to say, "And then a miracle happens." The more scientific accounts divide discovery into stages marked preparation, observation, incubation, and reflection. This semi-miraculous formula of insight, owing to Graham Wallas, permeates our understanding of creative process, but many questions remain unanswered. Little is known about what happens in the incubation stage of insight acquisition, for example.

Gary
...more
May
Dec 10, 2015 May rated it really liked it
The book discusses insight, where it comes from, what it is, and what it might mean to foster it. He lays out the anatomy of insight, valiently attempting a definition and clarification. I gave it four stars, reserving five only for the very best, as I did find it helpful to my brainstorm on this topic and fostering it within my organizations.

Key Take Aways:
Three stages and subsequent activity to understanding:
Triggers - a) a contradiction, b) connection, c) creative desperation
Activity: a) Use
...more
Sarah Rolewicz
The book is separated into 3 sections. I liked the first and third the most. The middle section takes perseverance to get through it and can see why other reviews didn't like it.
I'm a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell's style of writing and he borrows from Klein's work. I think the "thing" I like about Gladwell is his stories and this book's strength is in the stories Klein tells us. There is even a story about storytellers; how we gain insight from stories of others. I suppose that is why someone is
...more
Ninakix
Jan 26, 2014 Ninakix rated it it was amazing
It's interesting the way this book is written, almost as a scientific mystery, slowly peeling back layers of an onion on how insight really works. I think something about this makes it very easy to read, and his writing style in general. But it isn't simplistic: I found the book really encouraged me to be more of an active reader: making notes, referring back to pages, thinking about how this reflected in my own experiences and mental models.

Of course with stuff like this you always worry about
...more
Rdt
Oct 11, 2015 Rdt rated it liked it
In this book on insights the author has some pretty good insights, but no great ones. Part of his point is that insights do not always have to be deep or world changing to fit the pattern of a sudden realization that changes a person's thinking pattern and leads to a new discovery. He puts forth a theory of three different pathways to insights --starting with either connections, contradictions or creative desperation. Interesting, perhaps a good starting analytical structure, but not very deep. ...more
Johan
Sep 13, 2016 Johan rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
largely anecdotes
Robert Miller
Feb 02, 2014 Robert Miller rated it it was ok
The author starts out by saying that his concept for writing the book originated from a "collection of clippings" from newspapers and magazines wherein someone had made a smart and unusual discovery or observation. To illustrate, he provides the example (from a clipping) of two police officers waiting for the light to change at an intersection when the younger of the two notices a "fancy new BMW in front of them. He observes the driver of this expensive vehicle "ash" inside the car. The young ...more
Rrrrrron
Jan 21, 2015 Rrrrrron rated it did not like it
Shelves: mid-to
Yet another terrible business book. Klein has documented 120 insights from those which won noble prizes (such as Einstein) and the more mundane such as how he dropped off his house keys at the mechanic to save a trip. The problem is that Klein proposes to tell us how to have more insights and he doesn't. He just talks about stories of insights - of which we already have plenty. It would be nice if this was a book where he gathered them all in one place but he doesn't do that well either. ...more
John
I got out of this book what I hoped for, a more structured way to think about how insights emerge or how they are generated and how they can be impaired. And it was helpful in thinking about such issues from the perspectives of both individuals and organizations.

Klein downplays or even refutes the importance of the model originated by Graham Wallas: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification. He does this primarily because of insights that emerge without either preparation or incub
...more
Lauren
Mar 25, 2016 Lauren rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I tried for a month with this book, but just couldn't finish it. It provided a lot of interesting information (thus the two stars), but Klein wrote it in an entirely unengaging way. He used a pile of newspaper and magazine clippings he'd collected through the years to craft a rubric on how people gain insights. I'm okay with that. What didn't really work for me was how he constructed the book around the rubric. Each part of his theory on insight was assigned a chapter and within that chapter he ...more
Vanessa Tan
Mar 21, 2016 Vanessa Tan rated it liked it
Gary Klein has a conversational tone of writing which made the book generally easy to understand, but he could have put some points across more succinctly. His research involved reviewing a collection of stories, both historical and personal, on how insights are formed. This culminated in a 'Triple Path Model' which seems to be more retrospective-looking rather than prescriptive, in my view.

What spoke out more to me was being aware of how organisational design and culture can stifle innovation
...more
Alex
May 14, 2016 Alex rated it liked it
There are two threads in this books. One is dedicated to insights, how they happen, what facilitates them, what hinders them; another relates the story of how author get to his conclusions, his way of reasoning. Both are equally interesting and have certain value. But overall, more pages are dedicated to stories of people getting insight than useful information about them.

The book didn't give me impression of a rounded excursion into the topic of insights. Once author introduces Triple Path mod
...more
Ian Kruger
Oct 01, 2014 Ian Kruger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: analytics
A very interesting and profitable approach to the analysis of Insight, and how we gain it. But as with all Klein's writing it lacks proper theory building, of course this is a product of the methodology used but one would like him to be a little more rigorous, there is always a leap to a model and one is never sure how he got there. For example how does the Triple Path Model of Insight relate to RPD, how does RPD relate to Scheme theory? There are hints but let's see you put your money where ...more
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