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The Art of Thinking Clearly

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  25,329 ratings  ·  2,348 reviews
In engaging prose and with practical examples and anecdotes, an eye-opening look at human reasoning and essential reading for anyone with important decisions to make.

Have you ever:
• Invested time in something that, with hindsight, just wasn't worth it?
• Overpayed in an Ebay auction?
• Continued doing something you knew was bad for you?
• Sold stocks too late, or too early?
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Harper (first published January 1st 2011)
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The Wanderer I agree with you entirely. It had a lot of great content, but the author comes across as a bit arrogant. I wonder if that's partly due to translation,…moreI agree with you entirely. It had a lot of great content, but the author comes across as a bit arrogant. I wonder if that's partly due to translation, or whether he sounds like that in the original, too.(less)

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May 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
Nice packaging and design may give this book an aura of credibility. They certainly worked; I skimmed a few pages of it and bought it, thinking I would learn important lessons that I wouldn't get from other books about critical thinking. Alas, that won't be the case since the book reads like bull in a china shop; Dobelli massacres the art of critical thinking and puts in its place a Frankenstein doppelganger called cynicism and uncritical use of anecdotes.

Let's take for example: Lesson# 19 "The
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you had lots of time (and interest in becoming aware of your cognitive biases), you should read Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, everything by Steven Pinker, Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb, and others. But since not everyone has the time and interest, instead read The Art of Thinking Clearly. This book has 99 short chapters (all of them are almost exactly 2.5 pages) that cover the major hiccups in our thinking process. A ...more
Manoj Arora
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My learning from the book:
(1) Never underestimate the hard work and lower probability of success, just because we are shown more successful people than many more actual failures
(2) Confirmation bias is the mother of all misconceptions. It is a tendency to interpret new information so that it becomes compatible with our existing theories. Warren Buffet has seen people losing money with this because they ignore facts which contradict the theory in the mind of the investor. Dis confirming evidence
Thomas Harris
Sep 29, 2013 rated it did not like it

It can be useful as a starting point for a list of cognitive biases. However, it is mere plagarism of other texts.

Dobelli uses examples taken directly from other sources, changes the names of characters and wording slightly, and uses them as if they were his own. Why not just quote from the original text?

Also, some of his examples are so diluted and simplified that they are actually WRONG. One of the most glaring ones is his water treatment example for "Neglect of Probability". A: redu
Kara Babcock
This book is the dead tree equivalent of a BuzzFeed post. Its title could be “I Got 99 Cognitive Biases But a Psychology Degree Ain’t One.” Or maybe not.

Rolf Dobelli enumerates 99 thinking errors, or cognitive biases, in The Art of Thinking Clearly, dispensing as he does tips for leading a more rational, less error-prone life. Anyone who has done even the least amount of reading in this subject will recognize many of the cognitive biases that Dobelli describes here. Unlike most popular cognitive
Iman Shabani
If you're looking for a book to help you get ahead, or improve you as a human being, don't look here; but if like me, you want to see how a book of such reputation with no scientific ground, or even much common sense, can be so popular among some people, get this book and start reading.

(I tried not to include any spoilers, so read with peace of mind if you have it in your to-read list.)

The fact that this is a terrible book became known to me very early in the book, however I decided to keep read
Pooja Kashyap
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
I bought this book just because I saw Taleb eulogizing the book right on the book cover and so I fell for it. If you have read The Black Swan, The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb then I would strongly re-commend do NOT go for the book but if you haven’t dipped into the ocean of Taleb’s thoughts then this book is for you. More or less, The Art of Thinking Clearly harps on the same line of thoughts, as is the case with Black Swan. Each chapter in the former case is like bu ...more
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
FYI: I won this book from goodreads Giveaways, but that in no way influenced my review.

The Art of Thinking Clearly presents a bunch of anecdotal evidence to support commonly known fallacies in logical thinking. You know that hindsight is 20/20, we cling to our narratives, and think we'll be like the models in makeup ads if only we buy their product, plus a bunch of other semi-obvious ways in which we end up making bad decisions (or poorly rationalized flukes that still turn out okay). This book
May 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
It's a PLAGIARIZED anthology of cognitive errors. The biases it presents are, mostly, well summarized from a series of books from Taleb, Ariely, Kahneman and others(which, as shown by Taleb in the link, Dobelli used without permission). The author made no research on any of the items, but merely put forward the work of others. He does say so in the beginning, that his book comprises of research from other people, but it doesn't absolve him of copying.

Other than that, I consider it a good mix of
Yevgeniy Brikman
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is a list of 99 common thinking errors and cognitive biases. Some of these you've probably heard many times before, but many will likely be new. I found it a quick, fun, interesting read, but it has 3 major flaws:

1. Because it's just a list of 99 disconnected items, with no common "story" to tie them all together, you will forget the vast majority of it shortly after finishing the book.

2. The book will tell you about the thinking errors, but not the solutions. Granted, there is value
Zhiyar Qadri
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely In love with this books, I fulfils its title. A good way of reading it would be highlighting the clearest example in each fallacy in addition to the conclusion. I would say at the end sit down with a pen and paper and try to apply each to your life to consolidate the learning, make a list of all and in important decisions make sure they are error free.
A passage from the epilogue
"Even highly intelligent people fall to the same cognitive traps. Likewise, errors are not randomly distri
Daniel Taylor
Entrepreneurs profit from understanding cognitive biases in two ways: first, you’ll make rational decisions; second, you’ll be an effective marketer.

The Art of Thinking Clearly exposes 99 cognitive biases – simple errors all of us make in our everyday thinking – and shows us how to become rational thinkers.

Author Rolf Dobelli brings a fresh perspective because of his unique skill-set. He’s a Swiss writer, novelist and entrepreneur. And he’s founder of an invitation-only society of the most disti
Ali Sattari
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Good wrap-up on cognitive errors and shortcuts.
Andrew Wright
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Enjoyed somewhat, but ultimately couldn't finish. What otherwise is an entertaining collection of findings from social psychology and other thinking and human behavior focused disciplines is ruined by the author's strange compulsion to "explain" the biases he identifies with random and entirely unconvincing musings about evolutionary origins. It's not enough to explain that we overweight the potential for loss over the potential for gain, which is interesting. Dobelli is compelled to clarify tha ...more
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
Nice book, extremely readable because of the 52 three page-chapters. The fallacies are very recognizable, often open doors, though Dobelli uses a lot of expensive words (action bias, endowment bias etc). All in all a beautifull collection of the dubious motives behind human actions.
But...Dobelli very often refers to practices in the world of management and financial investments; that says something about the public Dobelli is writing for. Most of the behaviour he describes is to a high degree in
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very useful overview of the biases and fallacies that impede clear thinking with emphasis on acquiring a variety of mental models.
Shadin Pranto
Apr 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Very popular book on psychology. In Bangladesh this book is sold like cake. The essence of Ralph Dobley's book is logic. Nothing in the world is beyond logic. Any decision or work of yours and mine can be explained with logic. However, the author has shown that we always live in different kinds of illusions. Even the logical explanation of our own wrong-doings makes our minds stand still. Ralph Dobley has proved the futility of those logic.

Those who examine everything on the basis of reasoning
Abhijeet Jain
Feb 15, 2018 added it
Recommends it for: everyone
The book is a collection of small chapters, each focusing psychological wrongdoings.

I loved a few chapters while others felt vague. Overall I loved it, mostly because author gave sufficient psychological experiment results to support his arguments. The author also made sure to give due credit to books and people who're ideas he used.

A lot of people have said in the reviews that this book is just a miniature of "thinking slow & fast".
Well, I am yet to read it, so can't comment on it.

You can find
Nov 25, 2015 marked it as dnf
I DNFed it at 25%. Not worth finishing.
Aug 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A poor man’s “Thinking: Fast and Slow”.
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Art of Thinking Clearly has great insight in every day thinking errors and how we can avoid them (I mean that is what the book is about lol) I read it over a span of several months, every few days a chapter, and while reading I kept thinking "yes! exactly, this is fantastic I have to adjust my thinking process and remember this" but now that I have finished it I can barely remember anything I have read :D It's sad really. But nonetheless a really interesting read. Maybe it is a good idea to ...more
Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 0-humanities
Good, sometimes too unilaterally formulated a summary of known research results

Please note that I put the original German text at the end of this review. Just if you might be interested.

Where other authors could already put together a whole book with a handful of the topics covered, along with detailed consideration of each aspect, the essentials are distilled out briefly and succinctly on three pages each. Moreover, explain the essence of various psychological phenomena related to human evoluti
Sanarya Saud
Jan 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Long short story, the book is about cognitive errors we make and got to the point where we don't realize they're 'mistakes' but most of what he mentions is already discussed, so nothing life changing. What I loved about this book is how the author managed to make it feel like we're sitting together and he's 'philosophizing' everything around us. It gets unnecessarily long at some points but it's fun, I guess. I loved how he mentioned that entrepreneurs and successful business leaders write books ...more
Benoit Lelièvre
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Left me a tad disappointed. Not that the knowledge in there is wrong or displayed arrogantly, but it's superficial and rather gimmicky. Nothing in this book is going to change the way you're thinking about anything. In fact, most people I believe are aware of cognitive dissonances, but are just defeated by them.

It was a pleasant read overall, but it would've benefited from having less chapters and going more in depth about the art of thinking about certain issues the proper way. In fact, this bo
Linh P. Truong
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lots of bad comments have been made, mostly regarding the book's originality. Now name me three things that r completely authentic top of ur mind. R they really?
Back to this phenomenal piece, love the way how words of wisdom concretely laid out in 99 chapters. Thus personally no doubt a highly recommended one or "a fireworks show of insights into how our minds work" (Iris Bohnet, Harvard Kennedy School)
"We think like lawyers, crafting the best possible justification for a predetermined conclusio
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good collection of fallacies inherent to our thinking. It does get repetitive at times. The human evolution examples seem a bit stretched at times. it's succinct descriptions of an exhaustive list of human errors makes it a good handbook. Aims to list out the points and that it does. I think it's a good text book - it covers the subject matter well. My thirteen year old son found it interesting! That's a strength - it should make for an easy read for anyone. Reason definitely needs advocates l ...more
Michael Huang
Jul 13, 2015 rated it liked it
If you read some social science studies, chances are you already knew most of the biases the book covered. On the balance, not a huge waste of time if you read it cover to cover, and quite safe to skip.

Incidentally, this book came up in blinklist. I find the summary to be perhaps much more preferable to the whole book. So if these biases (eg, confirmation bias, group think, decision fatigue and paralysis) aren’t completely new concepts, the blinklist summary is a far better option.
Jan 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2015-readings
Banal. Nothing a psychology freshman wouldn't learn in his first week. ...more
Raoum Bani
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wake-up call or a reminder of how flawed our thinking can be.
Ananya Ghosh
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ananya by: Tushar Kochar
A favourite read of this year. It is a list of 99 cognitive biases in crisp chapters and with engaging examples. Good primer to Kahneman's work. ...more
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Rolf Dobelli is a Swiss author and businessman. He began his writing career as a novelist in 2002, but he is best known internationally for his bestselling non-fiction The Art of Thinking Clearly (2011, English 2013), for which The Times has called him "the self-help guru the Germans love". ...more

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  Mateo Askaripour is a Brooklyn-based writer whose bestselling debut novel, Black Buck, was published in January. It's been a Read with Jenna...
50 likes · 5 comments
“Whether we like it or not, we are puppets of our emotions. We make complex decisions by consulting our feelings, not our thoughts. Against our best intentions, we substitute the question, “What do I think about this?” with “How do I feel about this?” So, smile! Your future depends on it.” 43 likes
“If 50 million people say something foolish, it is still foolish.” 33 likes
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