Ljubomir's Reviews > How to Be Twice as Smart: Boosting Your Brainpower and Unleashing the Miracles of Your Mind

How to Be Twice as Smart by Scott Witt
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Sep 07, 11

bookshelves: non-fiction
Read from June 07 to September 07, 2011

I normally keep as far away as possible from books of this kind, but in this particular case (the book was given to me), I thought it easier to just read "How to Be Twice As Smart" than to try explaining my prejudice without being offensive.
Well, I read it, and it turns out I have been right in my aversion to such titles.

Some of the advices in the book are not really applicable, and many of those who would probably work, would hardly be any faster or better than more conventional solutions. And the rest you have certainly already found out by yourself. Here are two examples:
Witt tries to convince the readers (as if he has discovered America) that practice is good for you, and illustrates this statement with a short story about a guy who learned a foreign language better by practicing it. Really? Who would have expected?! He also says that to solve a problem, you have to think about it and imagine what the various outcomes might be. I would never have thought of that.

The book is full of convenient stories and clichés (like the one about the man who learned a foreign language), which all, as Witt claims, happened to friends of his, and which are obviously made up for the occasion. The result is, that instead of convincing me in something, they are having the opposite effect.

The author's scientific claims are also questionable and as a rule, he never quotes his sources.

Witt sounds all the time as if he were a salesperson from a teleshopping program, repeating the same things over and over again, trying hard to sell some product. Well, the reader has already bought the book, hasn't he/she?
In a similar fashion, the author explains everything as if the readers were a bunch of imbeciles, which is probably not true (even if the very fact that they are reading a book called "How to be twice as smart" might suggest that it is), and therefore is not very polite, or at any rate is quite annoying.

In the chapter about fast and effective reading, the author tells us how to skip through introductions, "filler" and other unnecessary information in various texts, for example history books. This ridiculous underestimation of literature (fiction or not) maybe comes from his own experience, since you can easily skip about 75% of this very book and you won't miss anything.

But what annoyed me most in "How to be twice as smart" was the author's attitude to the topic. The reader is left with the impression that according to Witt, intelligent equals fake, pragmatic and manipulative, that there are hardly any people outside the corporative and capitalist world, that the only reason to communicate with other people is to make use of them, and that everybody is driven by the same basic needs and wants. (Here is the moment to mention that many of the methods in the book are based on oversimplified psychology and Witt's lack of understanding for the subconscious.)

As a conclusion, I would suggest that you don't lose any time with this book. (It took me a few hours to read it, which however were spread throughout a few months, because of my reluctance to keep on reading it.) I have to admit that there are some useful tips in there, but none which you can't think of by yourself or at least stumble across on the Internet.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Yanni Some solutions are indeed actually a well - known method. And what you says are probably correct, and most books of this type are written in that kind of tone. I just one to correct you on one sentence "He said a man learning foreign language get better by practice"
The thing is, the practice he mentioned is a 'mental practice', not an actual practice. So it's like he is imagining someone chat with him with a foreign language and he practice it like that. No need to find an actual chatting partner, you could do it just anywhere, and that's what's great about it.

Maybe it's common practice, but me and most of my friend are not familiar with that kind of practice and it's a huge help, like for me to 'practice' something which tools I can't bring everywhere. I just want to clarify that one, thank you

Ljubomir Thanks for pointing that out. I don't have the book with me any more, but perhaps I misunderstood that part or the translation didn't make it clear.

'Mental practice' is a good tip, similar to what our English teacher at school once told us: "Try to think in English, and not in your native language, and make a habit of that".

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