Archive for August, 2006


Think, Think, Think

Not Pooh Bear, Michael LeGault.

I don’t know whether to call it serendipitous, apropos, or just lucky that I read this book just after the sequence of the last few posts. The book in question is Think by Michael LeGault and it turns out to be an argument for more critical and creative thinking, as opposed to the emotional and intuitive as epitomized by Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink.

LeGault’s subtitle “Why Crucial Decisions Can’t Be Made in the Blink of an Eye” caught my attention. I immediately thought of a story I’ve heard attributed to an arbitrary American Indian (if you have an actual source please let me know). The idea is that big decisions can be made quickly and small decisions take much deliberation. How does that work? Because you have already thought and planned out the important things in your life (your strategy if you will) the big decisions are easy — they fit or they don’t. The small decisions have not been thought through yet so each takes some time to process as it occurs (tactical decisions – depend on the current situation).

Alas, nothing about Indians, strategy, or tactics. However, I was pleasantly surprised at most of what this book does contain. I found several quotable statements that reinforced my recent epiphany, a number of interesting references to track down, and a lack luster ending.

Almost immediately (page 20) I was validated and encouraged by this:

But why are critical-thinking skills still important in the day of the computer, the Internet, television, and the DVD? For it is this book’s most basic premise that clear, rational thinking and its fundamental nourishment, knowledge, both broad and specialized, are crucially important. Superior thinking is important not only to our jobs, community, and national interest, but to our identity as human, our happiness and fulfillment in our professional and personal lives. Thinking is literally power, sexy and inspiring.

Emphasis is my own. I was validated because I readily believe in rational thinking (even when I willfully suspend my own use of it). I was encouraged to continue sharing the randomness that I run across that may only seem vaguely relevant to the topic of Life, Love, and Learning. To use the feeding metaphor LeGault started: if we don’t have a varied diet containing fresh foods we can become malnourished. The same idea applies mentally: if we don’t have a varied diet containing fresh knowledge we can become mal-ignorant (and possibly malignant).

LeGault goes on to talk a lot about pragmatism, empiricism, and how America was founded on critical and creative thinking. He also points out (often) that America is currently in an age of Blink-esque intuition and feeling that belies our logic based origins and gets us stuck on ideas that have no factual or logical basis.

I liked Blink a lot and overall I like Think quite a bit (maybe more than Blink). I enjoyed both books even though they are antithetical in many ways. My biggest disappointment with Think is that it almost exclusively talks about the what and LeGault relegates the how to taking a class in logic. The extent of his lessons on how to think critically were a few pages talking about commonly used ill-logic. Having taught some symbolic logic skills to computer students I believe that I am justified in feeling that LeGault copped out – he should have at least given us the basics with a few examples in an appendix.

Stay tuned as I post more on a couple of LeGault’s pet-myths: stress and information overload.

P.S. If anyone is interested in collaborating on an online project to teach critical thinking skills please get in touch. Or if you already know of such a beast, please send me a link.

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan | No Comments »

My Fusion-Reactor-Idea (for the week)

I realized that I set out to tell you about the great idea I was pummeled with recently. Then I got distracted.

A while back one of my friends recommended the book “Now, Discover Your Strengths” as an alternative to “The Purpose-Driven Life.” She found that the drive inherent in “The Purpose-Driven Life” was totally not jiving with her lifestyle. On the other hand she was highly motivated by the idea of focusing on her strengths.

Now Discover Your Strengths” belongs to the cluster of books from the Gallup Group that are centered around their Clifton Strengths Finder survey. These books emphasize knowing, focusing on, and using your strengths at work, in service, and in life. They identified 34 areas that cover nearly the full range of possible strengths. Not demonstrating one of the 34 areas does not mean that area is a weakness. They define a weakness as a non-strength that is limiting you in some way. The only reason you would want to improve a non-strength is because it is limiting you in some way. And you would only need to improve that area enough that it no longer limits you. (The whole premise puts an interesting spin on forced “character building” experiences, whether forced on ourselves by ourselves or on us by our parents, or forced on our children by us.)

So I got one of the books, took their online test (which you can only do with a code, found in one of this cluster of books or via, and was pleased to find out my top five strengths (in their eyes). Four of the five strengths were very much in line with my vision of who I am. I knew that I enjoy collecting information and objects for non-specific use “later” (Input), love learning for learning’s sake (Learner), am excited by making new mental connections (Ideation), and like to think about many things (Intellection). The final strength took more reflection to justify, however I did begin to notice the times that I take the lead and make things happen (Control). This has all given me a baseline from which to begin working with my strengths.

In the last couple weeks I have read several different authors beliefs that you must use your passion/skills/talents to fulfill your purpose/vision/raison d’etre. I also have been really doing some soul searching regarding how I can best be of service to other people using my own strengths and interests.

All of this has been feeding my intellection and ideation and I have been making some fun connections. I even managed to work in SMIILE (check the “RAW States” post if you think that is a typo). So what have I learned from all this input?

I’ve established my personal mission/motto/mantra of “Change the world from the inside out.

In light of this discovery I am rethinking and retooling the site. I am convinced that NLP is a useful meta-tool to bring about many of the changes in people’s lives. I am starting on the intelligence increase by sharing this tool set. We can get a jump on the space migration and life extension by leveraging the increased intelligence level.

Your part in this is to join me in increasing our intelligence. Read a book, think about it, and do something with the new information. You may just turn it into knowledge or even wisdom if you’re not careful!

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan | No Comments »