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

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,567 ratings  ·  146 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 ar ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 25th 2013 by PublicAffairs
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Mary I really found this book interesting, although in parts it is not an easy read. I highly recommend it to anyone who is puzzled about the disconnect ab…moreI really found this book interesting, although in parts it is not an easy read. I highly recommend it to anyone who is puzzled about the disconnect about what organizations say and what they do.(less)

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Morgan Blackledge
Dec 19, 2014 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
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
So coincidences and curiosities do turn into a-ha moments.
What sparks an insight?
What happens that lets us make sense of a jumble of unconnected and sometimes contradictory facts, events, and impressions?... (c)
No one had heard of Markopolos, who was rumpled where Madoff was smooth, excitable where Madoff was calm. Markopolos himself admits that he is a bit eccentric—for example, naming his twin sons Harry Louie and Louie Harry. More seriously, you have to be a bit nuts to embark on
a prolon
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: decision-making
I learned almost nothing from this book. It was filled with assumptions about how people come to gain insight. Some of the stories were interesting-- a firefighter started a fire to escape a bigger fire; Darwin, Einstein, and Watson and Crick had insights about science; Daniel Boone's daughter was captured by Native Americans -- but there was nothing in any of his arguments that convinced me the author had discovered anything real about how someone comes to gain insight. The best he seemed to be ...more
Jay Deiboldt
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Full of fluff. This book used 300+ pages to say what could have been said in 50
Denis Vasilev
Not very logical book about insights. Bunch of stories, vague ideas.
Michael Kallan
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
Some interesting little anecdotes, but the author's premise was stretched way too thin. Very repetitive, as the book could have gotten its same point across in 50-100 less pages. ...more
Aug 20, 2013 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
Steve Brown
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Please note that my reviews aren't really review, they are more like my cliff notes that I take while reading books.


1. Hunting For Insights
Martin Seligman is the father of "Positive Psychology" as described in the Happiness Advantage
This inspired Klein to balance out the decision researchers who were trying to reduce errors, while he wanted to help people gain expertise and make insightful decisions.
Insight - an unexp
Douglas Mangum
Dec 13, 2014 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 TF&S ...more
Niloy Mukherjee
Nov 04, 2016 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. ...more
May 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Spent A LOT of time talking around the subject of insight, but only ends up with a couple of suggestions to get "better" at it. ...more
John Meagher
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Insightful look on how we gain insights. He compiled interesting stories and then dissected them to find similar traits. This broke down into subcategories of the most common ways we stumble upon new discoveries: connections, coincidences, curiosities, contradictions, and creative desperation. Some of which are the complete opposite of each other. The method of problem solving varies greatly depending on which path is taken. Advice to gain insight in one direction may hinder it in another. Some ...more
Ryan Frantz
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Klein performs naturalistic research into the ways insights are formed and discovers three paths that lead to them: connections, contradictions, and creative desperation. His research is driven by a set of stories he selected across many decades, events, people, and experiences. The work was contrasted with lab experiments used to understand insights, especially to highlight the idea that those trials typically limit our understanding to a narrow set of ways insight is gained.

This book gave me s
Nderitu  Pius
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An interesting book I must say. Gary Klein has some amazing findings here which indeed show not just something that happens but something that I have seen happening to me too. Well done research with models provided for tracing how insights come into work. What is the aha! Moment and where in our mind does that happen. Many many things that call this book to be read with a pen and paper in hand. Good for research and thesis writing as well.
Dane Cobain
Mar 15, 2014 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
Cody Faldyn
Apr 10, 2015 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
Jan 23, 2016 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
Andrea James
Feb 21, 2014 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
Nov 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Breezy written book that practices what it preaches: use storytelling to make your point. Many of the 120 stories Klein uses to get more insights in insights feature throughout the book; "Eventually I was able to sort these 120 cases into five different strategies for gaining insights: connections, coincidences, curiosities, contradictions, and creative desperation." (although, as another reviewer commented, the proud dad is a sometimes a bit too much with stories about his brilliant daughters). ...more
Roger Wu
Dec 28, 2014 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. ...more
Mark Fallon
May 28, 2015 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?
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good read.

Overall nice to have a book articulate what is going reprocessing an new revelation called insight. The ending could have been a better summary or recap of book.
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
How is it that an idea pops into your head? Where does the solution to that niggling problem at work come from? What keeps you from having more of those ideas? And more importantly, how can you get better at having those ideas and solving problems?

Those are all questions that Gary Klein sets out to answer in his book entitled “Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights”.

Unlike most books that assert answers without acknowledging or revealing the underlying— and often messy—
This is a bit of a strange book to review. On one hand, it was a good presentation of research on insight by Klein, which balances well the use of expertise (ability to see connections for instance) and how the noticing of something contradictory by a relatively novice eye can also yield insightful ideas. The case stories that he chose were interesting, I particularly enjoyed the section on creative desperation during the Mann Gulch fire. He then goes on to build a strong-ish argument of how bur ...more
Doug McColgin
Nov 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Gary Klein writes a very affectionate, romantic book on the insight, complete with his favorite stories. While his breakdown of how insights are arrived at stands true in my experience, it didn't feel as if it truly revealed anything new. The cliches of insight stand true: experience new things, challenge your existing beliefs, put yourself under pressure, etc. His methodology for creating his framework also feels a little suspect... he reviewed 120 articles about insight and used them as the ba ...more
Noah Sachs
Mar 21, 2017 rated it liked it

I appreciate the structure that Klein has used to present his findings. He starts by explaining what triggers insight. Moves on to explain the limiting factors holding us back from gaining insight. Finally, Klein offers practical ideas of ways to improve our ability to gain insight. The structure is simple, yet effective and takes you on a journey of Klein's process of developing his own insight that led to the creation of The Triple Path Model.


At times, I found Klein to repeat
Justin Drew
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
The author looks at ways people might have acquired insight looking at an old model which included incubation and three other ideas which I can't recall and then looking at a collection of stories the author has collected where insight has been a success and groups them into a serious of ideas and theories of how that insight came to occur including curiosity, connections, situational and others either in isolation or as a combination. I think the book underplays how much luck might of been a fa ...more
Хулан Э.Б.Х
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeremy Gardiner
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book for my Critical Thinking class at Moody Bible Institute.

Gary Klein says that gaining insights along with decreasing errors are the two things we need to do to improve our performance (4). He describes four strategies for gaining insights which include connections, coincidences/curiosities, contradictions, and creative desperation. Each strategy receives its own chapter in the book. In addition to learning how to gain insights, there is also a section that overviews what interfer
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
At the beginning the author mentioned Graham Wallas ideas and his approach to explain insights. Although the author claimed that it is insufficient to explain the process, I doubt that he added much to it. Over the book he puts together a triple path model of insight which is basically the books summary.

The stories were fun to read but the whole book only touches the surface of the topic. It feels as if though the author only did some minor preparations to group and organise the stories just to
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Gary Klein, Ph.D., is known for the cognitive models, such as the Recognition-Primed Decision (RPD) model, the Data/Frame model of sensemaking, the Management By Discovery model of planning in complex settings, and the Triple Path model of insight, the methods he developed, including techniques for Cognitive Task Analysis, the PreMortem method of risk assessment, and the ShadowBox training approac ...more

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43 likes · 4 comments
“Intuition is the use of patterns they’ve already learned, whereas insight is the discovery of new patterns.” 8 likes
“We can increase insights by exposing ourselves to lots of different ideas that might help us form new connections.” 6 likes
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