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Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,409 ratings  ·  142 reviews

"The most influential thinker, in my life, has been the psychologist Richard Nisbett. He basically gave me my view of the world." -Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times Book Review

Scientific and philosophical concepts can change the way we solve problems by helping us to think more effectively about our behavior and our world. Surprisingly, despite their utility, many of these

Kindle Edition, 337 pages
Published August 18th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Uninspiring, somehow. Maybe I've just read too much on behaviouristics but I sort of expected handy tools on mindware and I got things that have been retold many times over, elsewhere.

So far, a DNF. I might go back to this one and maybe make some shiny new discovery of the purported mindware, yet.
Li Li
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read "Think Fast and Slow" last year, and thought it would be good to read Mindware to refresh my mind via a different angle. But I am a bit disappointed. I read the 1st half of the book, and skim through the rest of the book

The author has some good points. But in deed, it needs professional edits such that "normal" readers like me can get the points loud and straight.

I wouldn't recommend the book if you have read "Think Fast and Slow".

Notes I took:
Mindware - Tools for Smart Thinking (Richa
Brian Clegg
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's no doubt that Richard Nisbett's book, subtitled 'tools for smart thinking' is great, despite two issues. I want to get those issues out of the way first before we get onto the good stuff, with which it is packed. One issue is the writing style. This is a touch clumsy and could do with a little professional help. Nisbett has a tendency to overuse unnecessary jargon in sentences like this:
Our construal of objects and events is influenced not just by the schemas that are activated in partic
If you've been hiding under a rock the last 10 years and missed Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely or Freakonomics by Steven Levitt or Switch by Chip Heath then Mindware might interest you. I didn't find anything new here but books about critical thinking should never be dismissed. The world needs them too much.
Diego Leal
Aug 28, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disappointed. My favorite author Malcolm Gladwell endorsed this book therefore I automatically bought it. Human behavior is one of my favorite topics, but somehow this author found the way to make it boring. Lots of redundant examples and technical word choices made this a painful read.
Aug 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the many books trying to teach rationality, some sense of statistics, avoiding logical fallacies. Can't hurt to read one of those now and then. Overall, the well-know things; in the end of the book the writer goes a bit overboard with trying to find some western-thought/eastern-thought syncretism, without too much evidence for it.

Not a bad read, but, to paraphrase Churchill, the good stuff wasn't very original, and the original stuff wasn't very good.
Aug 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The information here is generally interesting and I enjoyed numerous nuggets of debunking. But I can't give this book a great review because some of his points are logically and factually wrong. For example, he confuses stock market volatility with risk of loss, ignoring the evidence and expert advice from Warren Buffett.
Most disappointingly, his overall conclusion is a mess. He tells us to trust the consensus of experts. This defeats the purpose of the book, which is to teach the reader how to
Florin Pitea
Instructive, but boring.
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to read this book. I did it at 15 pages a day and that was doable. I had taught logic at a private high school and was interested in all Nisbett had to say. I was amazed at how easy it is to make mistakes in thinking, reasoning, and deciding. He has lots of ideas on how we can reason better. We are easily fooled by advertisements, the way they are constructed and the words used. I liked the way he identified how our thinking is influenced before he gave the tools to think in a ...more
Pieter Van der walt
I guess I missed the "tools" aspect as per the title of this book...
Vanessa Princessa
I read this book thanks to Blinkist.

The key message in this book:

Everyone wants to be rational, but there are common and invisible habits that prevent us from thinking objectively. By noticing such traps and defending ourselves against them, we can avoid irrationality and make logical choices.

Actionable Advice:

Use Occam's Razor to find the simplest solution.

Sometimes we’re faced with situations in which more than one theory is correct. How do you know which one to trust? Go with an approach na
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got interested in the author of this book upon viewing the Edge's feature on his "crusade against multiple regression analysis". This book delivers quite significantly on its title, and reflects the arguing style of the author fairly. And I tend to think this even having read it after Kahnemann's magnum opus, which came earlier and overlaps with the present to a good extent. "Thinking fast and slow" (referenced here) has more depth and is more ponderous in showcasing behavioral biases and heur ...more
Eric Soderstrom
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half is a survey of behavioral economics, drawing mostly from the research of Tversky and Kahneman. The second half is a historical summary of formal logic, dialectics, and scientific epistemology. A fairly fun read if you're interested in a broad but shallow academic view of "thinking about thinking."
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: braaains
This leans more toward behavioral science than Neuroscience, so there were a number of points that I haven't come across in other brain books. It focuses on some of the cognitive errors we make based on our flawed rule sets. A lot of good stuff in there.
Fernando Rodriguez
This is the most 'meh' book I've read in a long time. It tries to say too much and just scratches the surface of the topics it talks about. Unless it's the first book you read about psychology, logic, economics, etc. i'd stay away from it, you'll learn nothing new from the book.
Hussain Ali
Nothing more than Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow.
Sergei Silnov
Just one more book about traps inside our own mind
May 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, speed-read
Your opinion of this book will vary greatly depending on what other similar materials you've read earlier, that went through better marketing strategies. I tried my best to not make a negative comparison after this disclaimer, but to instead focus on what a potential reader could get out of this book if they weren't too familiar with its topic from other more mainstream sources.
The author is very well renowned, which for me is always a plus. The book itself is intended to help you improve your l
Joe Flynn
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good if uneven book on 'thinking tools' or rather on thinking flaws humans have and how to see, understand, and limit them.

Mostly a phycology book that surveys the current understanding of both the big hitters of the field and the authors (good) work. So you have lots of Kahneman and Tversky, Thaler, Levitt and Taleb - well summarised and criticised where appropriate.

You also have good chapters on statistics and probability - how poor people are in general and how easy it is to teach people 't
Bartosz Majewski
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Nisbett has written a manual on how to suck less at thinking. And after reading it i think we all suck at it and do super easy mistakes when using logic, statitics and reasoning. This is not an easy read however i think it can help to think a bit better after reading it.
Anders Rasmussen
In this excellent and practical book the prominent psychology, Richard Nisbett, translates psychological research into practical advice that will help the reader to better evaluate situations and to make better decisions. The book is in many ways similar to Kahneman’s book “Thinking fast and slow”, in that it explains where our reasoning, deductions and inferences tend to go wrong. However, Nisbett takes the extra step of trying to formulate simple laws that one can follow to avoid the psycholog ...more
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book ahs promising introduction - how to reframe common problems in such a way that these powerful scientific and statistical concepts can be applied to them. Indeed introudction of problem-solving concepts as the law of large numbers, statistical regression, cost-benefit analysis, sunk costs and opportunity costs, and causation and correlation are enlightening and useful.

However, there are areas that suggestions offered by author are not useful. When it comes to testifying health claims rep
Tey Shi
The first part of the book is a general overview of the cognitive biases that we hold and goes into explaining some basic statistics and how to understand them meaningfully in evaluating scientific studies. The second half brings in more of the author's research on the comparative differences in thinking styles of Eastern and Western cultures-- logic versus dialectical (contextual/holistic) thinking. Nisbett also talks about the importance of falsification and how without experiment, we are pron ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first chapter is pretty much taken from thinking fast & slow
the second starts with the not true story of bill gates, I thought copied from a Gladwell book
but the author doesn't give credit to Gladwell, so I guess Gladwell is like this author,
not much original thinking, just copy from other people.

Gates didn't succeed because he spent hours on the computer,
he succeeded because he broke the law every day as head of microsoft.

After losing 2 antitrust trials he quit in a snit
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice and fun book to read. It certainly has some tools and thought processes that can make us do smarter decisions but it also shows us how flawed our view on our surroundings are and how quickly we believe certain things. I expected more of the titular "tools for smart thinking" but nevertheless I enjoyed reading it quite a bit.
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A whole lot of probability theory and a little calling Autistic people "retarded", very little practical application in real life scenarios that don't exactly match the author's examples. Not even practical theory, just vague theory, such as comes up in statistics and algorithms classes. Someone might benefit, if they haven't gone to college.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a book that helps one lay the foundation of some logical thinking, such as "correlation is not causation", and "human fear risk more than they relish gain". Quite some examples of what common mistakes we make in daily life application.
Dwight Walker
This gives some very useful heuristics such as value of Big Numbers so that only statistics using proper survey are reliable not just one occurrence. There are statistical analysis tools. I found it incredibly valuable.
Chris Esposo
A decent book on heuristics and frameworks one can leverage to make sound personal and professional judgements. The first 1/3 of the book focuses on psychological errors people tend to make when forced into ad-hoc decision making, most of this section was almost entirely forgettable and there's a lot of redundancy with other pop-psychology books, as well as behavioural economics work popularized of the past decade. There's also a bit on using cost-benefit analysis for decision-making, but unless ...more
Raz Pirata
“Think and act more effectively”

I’m willing to bet that at least once in your life you have uttered the phrase, “what was I even thinking”? C’mon, you know that you have. We all have, and what is so funny about that phrase is 9 times out of 10 the answer to that question is, “nothing”. We weren’t thinking anything at all. Nada, zip, zilch.

That’s ok though because the award-winning professor Richard E. Nisbett is here to help. His book Mindware - Tools for Smart Thinking is the antidote we need
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