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Liminal Thinking

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Why do some people succeed at change while others fail? It's the way they think! Liminal thinking is a way to create change by understanding, shaping, and reframing beliefs. What beliefs are stopping you right now?

You have a choice. You can create the world you want to live in, or live in a world created by others. If you are ready to start making changes, read this book.

224 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2016

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Dave Gray

6 books272 followers

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5 stars
841 (32%)
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3 stars
610 (23%)
2 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 269 reviews
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,037 reviews2,042 followers
January 16, 2023
The only thing that is preventing you from achieving your goal might be your belief. Henry Ford told it in the following statement.

Liminal thinking is the way to embellish these beliefs. It helps us to ascertain its core meaning in a sapid tranquil heuristic manner. The ideas that come to our mind when we are relaxed and open to possibility, like when we are showering, are one of the best examples of liminal thinking. Liminal moments are valuable sources of transcending boundaries of creativity.

What I learned from this book
1) Why do people read novels? Why can't they read non-fiction books which give more ideas in a shorter time?
This is a question that most readers might have faced at least once in this twenty-first century. We can answer this question in multiple ways enlisting all the reasons. I am not enlisting all the explanations as almost all of my friends here are amazing readers and will know the answer themselves.

But, we can also answer this question from a liminal thinking point of view. This explanation is pretty simple but really effective

"If you give people facts without a story, they will explain it within their existing belief system. The best way to promote a new or different belief is not with facts, but with a story."

2) Why is it said to have a difficult conversation with a warm cup of tea in our hands or around some delicious cookies?
When we are having a difficult conversation with an angry person, a warm cup of tea can ameliorate the tension and absolve the acerbic differences with those accosting us. It is impossible to get angry with a warm cup of tea in our hands.

Cookies also have a similar way of making the situation less intense and creating a bond between people.
"The conversation around cookies helps to increase the trust among the people in the team."

3) How can you prevent your dog from barking at other dogs when you are going for a walk?
If you are an enthusiastic cytophilic but off late is having trouble when you are going for a walk with him, the author will give you a perfect solution. He mentions it with the help of doom loop and delight loop. Your dog might have had a bad experience in the past with another dog when he was given a bone or any food to eat. The stranger dog might have tried to snatch it from him. So whenever you go for a walk with your dog, he will create a lot of fuss when he sees a stranger's dog as he sees him as a threat and as competition for scraps of food. We can solve this problem by replacing this doom loop with a delight loop. Whenever another dog approaches your dog, give a bone as a reward to both the dogs. So both the dogs will become happy. At last, your dog's conditioning will be changed so that a stranger dog means something delightful and relates it with a company to play with and food to eat. This will make him stop barking at a stranger's dog. This is a very effective way of rewiring his well-established doom loop.

“One belief leads to doom loop and the other to the delight loop. Changing stories can change reality”

He also elucidates in detail about the Toyota way, the misunderstanding that caused the Vietnam war that could have been avoided, and why some grocery stores and department stores with excellent in-store sales are doing bad in their online stores.

My favourite lines from this book
“When people confuse their beliefs with reality, they get into arguments and conflicts.”

"We construct our beliefs, mostly unconsciously, and thereafter they hold us captive. They can help us focus and make us more effective, but sadly, they also can limit us: they blind us to possibility and subject us to fog, fear, and doubt"

“The obvious is not obvious. It is constructed”

“Most boundaries are convenient fictions.”

What could have been better?
The author mentions NLP (Neurolinguistic programming) in a palatable manner in this book. He says everything related to it. But sadly, he is not using the term NLP and is reluctant to give more scientific details about it.

4/5 This will be a good choice if you think that you haven't yet got your belief systems correct in your life.
Profile Image for Oleksandr Golovatyi.
411 reviews32 followers
December 30, 2017
Another brilliant book that fell into my hands in this 2017 year. The book is small without extra "water", it is very simple and understandable written. The main idea of the book is "liminal thinking" - the art of changing the world around yourself with the help of rethinking and changing persuasions. To make this definition more lucid and complete, we still need to add a definition of what "persuasion" is, this is - the sequence of events in our head, according to which we act.

Principles of liminal thinking:
1) Beliefs are models of reality.
2) We create our own convictions
3) Based on belief we create our own world
4) Beliefs create "blind spots" (beliefs can be an artificial barrier, beyond which we do not see the available opportunities)
5) Beliefs are protected
6) Beliefs are connected with personality

Methods of development of liminal thinking:
1) Recognize that you are not objective
2) Empty your "cup"
3) Create a safe environment
4) Cross-checking and recognition
5) Ask questions, establish contacts
6) Break down the templates
7) Act as if you are "here and now"
8) History - the way to understanding
9) Change and develop

Еще одна гениальная книга, которая попалась в мои руки в этом 2017 году. Книжка маленькая без лишней "воды", очень просто и понятно написана. Основная идея книги это "лиминальное мышление" - искуство менять мир вокруг себя с помощью переосмысления и изменения убеждений. Чтоб это определение было более поянтным и полным нужно еще добавить определение, что такое "убеждение", - это последовательность событий в нашей голове, в соответствии с которой мы действуем.

Принципы лиминального мышлений:
1) Убеждения - модели реальности.
2) Мы сами создаем свои убеждения
3) На основе убеждений мы создаем свой мир
4) Убеждения создают "слепые пятна" (убеждения могу быть искуственной преградой, за которой мы не видим имеющихся возможностей)
5) Убеждения защищаются
6) Убеждения связаны с личностью

Методы развития лиминального мышления:
1) Признайте, что вы не обьективны
2) Опустошите свою "чашку"
3) Создайте безопасную обстановку
4) Перекрестная проверка и признание
5) Задавайте вопросы, устанавливайте связи
6) Ломайте шаблоны
7) Действуйте так, будто вы "здесь и сейчас"
8) Истории- путь к пониманию
9) Меняйтесь и развивайтесь

I read books on Scribd or Google Books by
Readlax Chrome Extension
Profile Image for Dave.
141 reviews
October 3, 2016
This is a concise (and in paperback, beautifully designed) set of principles and practices for thinking clearly, acting deliberately, keeping an open mind.

In short:
1. Those beliefs we use to navigate the world are essential for sense-making and terribly limiting if we take them as truths unexamined. They are what shape our worldview, what lead to action, can lead to failure, conflict, misunderstanding.
2. Our identities and shared experience are tied in with these beliefs, and so they are hard to examine, even harder—at times self-sealing in their resistance—to change.
3. Thinking Liminally is a recognition of the above: a willingness to test new assumptions, a desire for learning over dogma, and practices to discard the ways of thinking and acting that don't serve us (persons, organizations, society) beyond the ease and comfort of their familiarity.

It's no call to "visualize the future you want to achieve" or a promise of spiritual self-help. Among other strong influences, it sets the razor of American Pragmatism against a Zen Buddhist-inspired recognition of reality, and the practices are informed by a studied understanding of how people interact individually and within organizations. It's a practical and useful lens for re-evaluating ones' actions and the underlying foundations upon which they stand.
Profile Image for Libby.
575 reviews157 followers
December 2, 2018
I've already started thinking about the upcoming New Year and how I want to set goals, so this book fit in very nicely with that. I listened to an audible version that I borrowed from Hoopla. The narrator is Dan Woren and he is fantastic. He read the book as though he had authored it, giving justice and respect to Dave Gray's well written work. I often have difficulty giving my attention to the audible format, but I had no problem with this one.

A lot of the book is presented as being advice on how to succeed in business and / or one's career. I'm retired, but I had no difficulty in transposing the ideas that Gray gives into ones that make sense for my world. I was familiar with some of the ideas, but Gray has a very clear and concise way that was impactful, gives stories and quotes that I believe will resonant with many.

Gray's definition of liminal thinking is "the art of creating change by understanding, shaping, and reframing beliefs." He talks about liminal as being places of transition, like transitioning from sleeping to waking, or thresholds, borders, between two things, but neither one thing, nor the other. Our beliefs, the way we think, although they've helped us become who we are, can often stand in the way of our peace, happiness, or success the way we envision it. Gray zeros in on ways to change beliefs. This is not positive thinking, but it is very affirming. There's work involved. He gives some exercises to help.

One of the factoids that I really liked is that the brain processes 400 billion bits of information per second. However, only a few of them come to our conscious awareness, thereby giving so much importance to how we focus our attention. Gray says that we can't learn new things without letting go of old things. This is a book I need to listen to again and again.
Profile Image for Jay French.
2,035 reviews74 followers
August 7, 2017
Well written take on how to approach problems taking into account the impact your own beliefs have on the process. The book describes how beliefs can determine how you think about things, and provides some ideas on how to set aside those beliefs and rethink the problems and solutions you are working on. I found this quite similar to other books I’ve read over the years, but put together in a well written, simple way. The author combines the science, expert opinion, process description, and examples to explain the issues. Excellent as a reminder to question yourself on what you take for granted when thinking through problems. The “Look Inside” in Amazon for “Liminal Thinking” includes a two page executive summary of the topics covered in the book and would be a good place to start if you are thinking of reading it.

BTW, I listened on audio, but I noticed a number of reviews mentioned the design of the paperback. Audio listening is good for relaxed contemplation, but I've found books that are list-heavy are better understood in print. While this wasn't really list-heavy, there was an overall theme of a list as mentioned in those other reviews. Perhaps readers will get a different take on this book than listeners.
June 15, 2019
While this one had a bunch of Powerpoint-ish vibes, still, it was an interesting read and quite a few of the stories actually made sense (which is rare in the trend of bullshit storytelling of late).
Liminal thinking as a useful concept. Why not? Change, beliefs, concepts and preconceptions. Asking questions and listening to the answers. Liminality.
Profile Image for Kare Anderson.
Author 18 books33 followers
September 28, 2016
“How our beliefs create blind spots” to “our assumption that we understand a situation” are just some of the barriers we inadvertently put up between our opportunities and our relationships that Liminal Thinking can alleviate. I value the actionable insights and the sequence in which they are offered to enable us readers to become more self-aware and able to make wiser choices – for ourselves and with others. As Gray advises, “Assume that you are not objective.” The book is a helpful complementary companion to Nicholas Epley’s Mindwise, Liz Wiseman’s Rookie Smarts, Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, and Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational.
Profile Image for Simon Vandereecken.
Author 2 books49 followers
March 14, 2017
If you're searching for ways to "think differently" and approach problems and issues with another mind, this book could help you. But if you have read already a lot of things about business and for example design thinking, then unfortunately this book won't offer you much.

While it's greatly written, illustrated and constructed, I've felt quite disappointed when reading it. I think I was expecting a lot of new things, a new way of thinking, but the whole book proposes advices that are quite usual when you have a bit of a Design / DT background : approach from another angle, keep your mind open, give up your conceptions & ideas, ... To me this looks like a short book you could put in the hands of some executives to invite them to keep an open mind, talk to their teams, ... but for the other kind of people this falls a bit flat.

Nevertheless it wasn't bad, but I was clearly expecting more.
Profile Image for mia 美愛 d.
21 reviews2 followers
October 6, 2020
sharp + concise. I enjoyed this book! could have been a bit longer but I think that’s a sign of something good when you’re sad that it’s over. 4.5 stars for Dave Gray ⚡️

“Liminal thinking is a way to create change by understanding, shaping, and reframing beliefs.”
Profile Image for Carielyn Mills.
266 reviews
June 3, 2017
that's a LOT of filler to just say "be open-minded"
not enough filler to cover over 100 pages either. double fail.
154 reviews17 followers
July 27, 2017
A book about changing beliefs and perception. Plenty of examples and case studies to visualize lessons and facts. Many of the lessons are reiteration from "How to win friends and influence people". The message runs well into well-developed societal fundamentals, shaking up reality for the reader. This books is one to ruminate about for a while into the future - I look forward to connecting the dots as I continue to observe and navigate through life.
Profile Image for Salavat Ghabdulla.
19 reviews3 followers
March 1, 2018
I like this book. It opens new ways of seeing the world and other people's behavior. After reading Liminal thinking, you will notice why people act in a way they act, why you respond to something in a way you respond. And if you found something wrong with it, this book teaches you how to change the way you see things.

Having read Liminal thinking (and having done all exercises in it) I really feel that I stepped up on a new level of understanding the world around. Really!
Profile Image for Arina Sukach.
17 reviews2 followers
March 31, 2020
very nice and easy to read book. i wish every person read this one to finally understand that everyone is right in his/her own way. all the people has their own beliefs which create certain point of view but it’s important to remember that your opinion ≠ reality, it’s only one small side/part of it.
Profile Image for g BRETT.
80 reviews16 followers
September 13, 2016
I had the pleasure a couple of years ago of hearing Dave Gray talk about and explore some ideas he had for a new book, throwing them out to the audience and having a conversation around them. Earlier this year I had the privilege of reading some early versions of pages that had evolved from those explorations and which now form the heart of Dave’s new book, Liminal Thinking. I was excited to get the final version of the book and looking forward to sitting down and breezing through it, to soak it all in like a blast from a fire hose. And, at about 150 pages, it would be easy enough to do. To just read through it in one sitting, in probably just a couple of hours. Which is what I was expecting to do. Until…

Until I read Chapter 1, titled “Beliefs are models”. And then I wasn’t in a hurry any longer. I wasn’t interested in getting to the end, I wanted to read that chapter again. Even though he started with the story of the blind men and the elephant, a story I’ve heard many times before. A story I’ve heard before, but not really “seen” before.

Not surprisingly, this process repeated itself as I made my way through the book. Though I only made it from front to back once over the weekend, I figure I read the entire book at least 3 times in that period. Reading a chapter, re-reading it, maybe going back a chapter or two to make a connection. And I realized that, contrary to my original thought of just blasting through the book, I didn’t really want to get to the end. I didn’t want the experience of the book to be over.

And speaking of the experience of the book, I need to mention here just how beautifully designed the book is. Beyond the insight and knowledge in the words and drawings Dave gives us, the team at The Heads of State have created a work of art in this book. The most obvious aspect is the cover, but as you read through the book the design elements guide you along, quite unobtrusively, to help you get the most from those words and drawings. Simple touches like the spare use of color, consistent layout of the chapters so that you know when one is starting and when it is ending, and materials that feel luxurious in the hand. Not to mention the fountain pen friendly paper. Do yourself a favor, and get the hard copy book. (Though I will probably also pick up a Kindle version so that I can always have the book on hand.)

At one point in the book Dave acknowledges that some people naturally or intuitively think liminally, and I count myself among those just as you may. I’ve always thought “in systems”, trying to understand the why behind rules, traditions, and behavior. But, as I learned from Dave in this book, I have only been scratching the surface, getting down to maybe the level of a person’s beliefs, maybe their theories about life and the world. Beliefs, as Dave explains, go much deeper than that.

More importantly, I realized that I’ve never really turned that systems view on myself, on my own thinking, to understand how it is I’ve come to be the way I am. I’ve always thought I understood, but now I’m not so sure. I am looking forward to finding out.
Profile Image for Mark.
519 reviews66 followers
May 17, 2021
GREAT concepts and strong presentation. I'm disappointed that this (at the time of this writing) only has a 4.04 rating on GoodReads. It's better than that. Not sure whether the message is uncomfortable or hard to grasp, etc. But it's possible that the very people who need this message may have a hard time seeing the truth here.

In any case, the core is how we should be open to frequently testing our beliefs for less-biased methods of detecting truth. This is very difficult when we assume so many truths. But the exercise is so worth it.

Thanks Dave Gray for a fantastic trigger for self-improvement and seeing the world a little closer to reality. Your work will accelerate my improvements.

I highly recommend this book but it's not a feel-good bedtime story. It's a sometimes difficult set of methods to grow beyond our assumptions/beliefs. If you're ready for that, definitely absorb this book.
Profile Image for Ronald J. Pauleus.
606 reviews6 followers
November 11, 2021
Man, this is sooooooo rich. Challenging perspective and humble. I appreciate the truths shared in this book.

“The obvious isn’t obvious, it’s constructed.”

This book was more eye opening the 2nd time around. I plan to go through this book more throughout the years as I put it’s principles into practice

“People act in a ways that makes sense to them. If something doesn’t make sense to you, then you are missing something. What are you missing?”
59 reviews2 followers
January 9, 2023
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this book. Ironically, the framework fit many of my own beliefs (that one is encouraged to question while reading). Gray shares many interesting anecdotes about how various people have employed concepts of Liminal Thinking successfully. And he is incredibly adept at describing extremely complex (otherwise confusing concepts) in almost deceptively simple ways. Highly recommended to those looking to learn how to be more open-minded.
Profile Image for Sergii Khlivnenko.
23 reviews8 followers
April 16, 2018
Легка, структурована і корисна книга. Лімінальний з латині означає "прикордонний", а під лімінальним мисленням мається на увазі здатність виходити за межі своїх переконань. Це чудовий спосіб розширити свідомість. Можна сказати що це вихід із ментальної зони комфорту.
Дуже рекомендую до прочитання усім, хто формує open mindset.
Profile Image for Iren Udovenko.
73 reviews3 followers
January 9, 2018
Лиминальное мышление это примерно в ту же степь, что и критическое мышление. Главное не зацикливаться на своих убеждениях и смотреть на все вопросы с как можно большего количества разных точек зрения.
Profile Image for Eunkyung Park.
29 reviews1 follower
January 5, 2021
I really long way of saying 'take a risk'

- Be open-minded
- Explore alternative beliefs
- Suspend judgement
- Disrupt patterns

Profile Image for J.
1,834 reviews
October 27, 2020
This was a quick listen, and free on Audible with a membership. It's basically about holding a beginner's mindset and staying open to new ideas. I'm currently volunteer text-banking for a political election and getting several responses from people who are very stuck in their beliefs. They're not interested in learning more about a proposition if it doesn't conform to what President Trump believes. I also had a really difficult time within my own family during the last 4 years--as I saw them rejecting science in favor of their political beliefs. Wearing a mask for safety was suddenly a political act. It wasn't until President Trump contracted Covid19 that they decided to vote against him, b/c suddenly a belief was broken.

I'm passionate about trying to help rather than harm but I know that I can get very entrenched in my own thinking patterns and beliefs as well. This book has helped me question my own thinking--and how to avoid getting stuck in thought loops and resentment, and that's a good thing.
Profile Image for Wendel de Boer.
385 reviews1 follower
November 20, 2022
Voor wie nog niets van het onderwerp afweet is ‘De kracht van liminaal denken’ een goede introductie op de invloed van (belemmerende) overtuigingen en de ruimte voor verandering. Als je al wel iets van het onderwerp afweet, krijg je er wat extra voorbeelden bij, maar kan het ook overkomen als meerdere manieren om steeds hetzelfde te zeggen.
Geluisterd als audioboek om mijn eigen open luistervaardigheid te oefenen. Dit boek bewijst dat je slordiger luistert wanneer je al een deel van het verhaal kent of denkt te kennen.
Profile Image for Daniel Hrenak.
180 reviews15 followers
January 10, 2021
Počúval som iba ako audioknihu, ale je to jedna z mála kníh, ku ktorej sa o krátky čas znovu vrátim, aby som si ju pripomenul. Veľmi dôležitá kniha v dnešnej dobe nielen preto, že sa snaží naučiť ako sa spoznať a vyvolať v sebe chcenú alebo požadovanú zmenu, ale aj to ako lepšie pochopiť ľudí s iným názorom, citlivo k nemu pristúpiť a pomôcť im pozrieť sa naň z druhej strany. Snáď bude raz preložená do slovenčiny :)
Profile Image for Jude.
374 reviews6 followers
June 7, 2022
I listened to this book on the way back from the UP in northern/central Michigan. This book will challenge you to question your beliefs and provide a new understanding of what beliefs truly are. It certainly did that for me. Keeping the thesis of this book, that you can change your life by operating on the threshold of thought, can help in maintaining your cool, checking your biases, and keeping a healthy perspective on life.
February 16, 2021
A simple yet powerful book on reflecting and reframing your beliefs. I like how easy it was to read this book (~200 pages) and the occasional illustrations definitely helped in delivering the points across. I especially liked the exercises at the end -- do it or you're only using half of the potential of this book.

Are the ideas in the book novel and unique? A few are, most are not. However, the book excelled in the delivery. I think you'll come out at the end of the book hopeful and open-minded. And in that sense, the book accomplished its mission.
Profile Image for Rakesh Subramanya.
32 reviews2 followers
January 9, 2022
I found this book a very interesting read. It basically provides the reader a glimpse of the human behaviour and the assumptions and baggages it holds which in a way shapes one's social behaviour.

Author's explanation on Priming effect, Self sealing logic, Johari Window and many more concepts is commendable.
Profile Image for Chris Waterguy.
121 reviews37 followers
September 12, 2020
A book about beliefs and the power of exploring, playing with or suspending them.

Part 1 will be familiar to readers experienced with design thinking it choosing.
Part 2 I found thought-provoking.
Profile Image for Dinika.
89 reviews
September 15, 2020
I actually really liked this. Short and concise yet with enough examples to drive home the point. I also enjoyed the exercises that are worth doing. Very good book if you are feeling a bit stuck in your ways and want to disrupt your thinking.
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