Thinking 101 Book Summary - Thinking 101 Book explained in key points
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Thinking 101 summary

Woo-kyoung Ahn

How to Reason Better to Live Better

4.4 (429 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

Thinking 101 by Woo-kyoung Ahn encourages readers to become better critical thinkers. It provides practical tools to evaluate information and make sound judgments.

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    Thinking 101
    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    Our minds overestimate our abilities to do things that seem easy.

    Have you ever watched a YouTube video for a recipe, makeup tutorial, or home repair that seemed simple until you tried it and had to file it away as a failure? Woo-kyoung Ahn runs a similar experiment with her students: They watch a six-second dance routine eleven times plus a slower instructional video. Then, they can volunteer to do the dance with the promise of prizes for doing it successfully. There’s no shortage of volunteer dancers, yet no one nails it.

    Why? Because fluency, meaning how easily our brains process new information, can fuel overconfidence, decision-making, and outcomes.

    While fluency informs metacognition – which is the critical process by which we judge situations to determine the next steps – we can’t rely on it entirely to ensure good outcomes.

    Thankfully, there’s a pretty simple way to overcome the fluency effect: you can practice new things, like rehearsing a speech or interview responses. Of course, there are situations when you don’t get a trial run, like tackling a home renovation project. In those cases, you can plan, but you should be aware that studies show people also tend to be overly confident and optimistic about planning. To counter that, add padding to your initial estimate of what it will take to accomplish your goal, whether that’s time, money, effort, or a combination. The author recommends adding 50 percent to your initial estimate. So for example, if you think you can meet a deadline in two days, tell your boss to expect it in three.

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    What is Thinking 101 about?

    Thinking 101 (2022) asserts that by understanding and overcoming thinking biases, we can better solve or even avoid most problems, from everyday conflicts to larger societal issues. 

    Thinking 101 Review

    Thinking 101 (2021) by Woo-kyoung Ahn is an enlightening exploration of the human mind and the power of critical thinking. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • Packed with practical insights, it equips readers with the tools needed to think critically and make informed decisions in our complex world.
    • By examining real-life examples and psychological experiments, the book offers a fascinating look into how our minds work and how we can improve our thinking processes.
    • With its accessible and engaging writing, the book manages to make even the most intricate concepts exciting, ensuring that readers won't find it boring.

    Who should read Thinking 101?

    • Problem solvers interested in thinking differently
    • People who want to understand the actions and motivations of others
    • Students or other academics interested in cognitive psychology

    About the Author

    Author Woo-kyoung Ahn is the John Hale Whitney Professor of Psychology at Yale University, where she created and teaches a course called Thinking, It’s one of the university’s most popular undergraduate classes.

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    Thinking 101 FAQs 

    What is the main message of Thinking 101?

    Thinking 101 emphasizes the importance of developing critical thinking skills for personal and professional success.

    How long does it take to read Thinking 101?

    The reading time for Thinking 101 varies, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is Thinking 101 a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Thinking 101 is a thought-provoking book that inspires us to think in new and innovative ways. It's definitely worth a read.

    Who is the author of Thinking 101?

    Woo-kyoung Ahn is the author of Thinking 101.

    What to read after Thinking 101?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Thinking 101, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Lagom by Linnea Dunne
    • 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think by Brianna Wiest
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
    • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
    • Good Leaders Ask Great Questions by John C. Maxwell
    • Build the Life You Want by Arthur C. Brooks & Oprah Winfrey
    • Start With Why by Simon Sinek
    • Everything is F*cked by Mark Manson