• Users Online: 350
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page
Home About us Editorial board Ahead of print Current issue Search Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 72-74

Think again: The power of knowing what you don't know

Department of Communication, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines

Date of Submission04-Dec-2021
Date of Decision16-Mar-2022
Date of Acceptance19-Mar-2022
Date of Web Publication26-Apr-2022

Correspondence Address:
Louie Galvez Giray
Department of Communication, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpcs.jpcs_67_21

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Giray LG, Rivas MG. Think again: The power of knowing what you don't know. J Pract Cardiovasc Sci 2022;8:72-4

How to cite this URL:
Giray LG, Rivas MG. Think again: The power of knowing what you don't know. J Pract Cardiovasc Sci [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Mar 30];8:72-4. Available from: https://www.j-pcs.org/text.asp?2022/8/1/72/344136

Author : Adam Grant

Genre : Cognitive Psychology, Motivational Leadership

Publisher : Viking

Release Date : February 2, 2021

Pages : 320

USD : 16.75

OCLC : 1191456279

ISBN : 978-1984878106

Dewey Decimal : 153.42

Country : United States

Language : English

Subject : Leadership, personal development, rethinking

Media type : Print (hardcover), ebook


In this posttruth world where many people, especially politicians, arrogantly talk about their beliefs and truths and posit alternative facts, disregarding objective realities, Think Again is a catalyst. It tries to do the opposite which is to emphasize confident humility and scientific mindset. Composed of four parts and 11 chapters, this book glorifies the value of rethinking and its advantages and evaluating our beliefs. Adam Grant is a celebrated American organizational psychologist and author who is presently a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also won several accolades in teaching, writing, and research. Before Think Again, he wrote bestseller books such as Give and Take[1] and Originals.[2]

Chapter 1, Preacher, Prosecutor, Politician, and Scientist, starts that, in this hyperchanging world, we should utilize rethinking both as a skill and mindset. Here, Grant discusses different mindsets, named after some professions, that we commonly slip into (1) preacher, when our sacred beliefs are threatened and we deliver sermons to safeguard them; (2) prosecutor, when we highlight the flaws in others' argumentation and try to win the situation; (3) politicians, when we attempt to seek an audience's approval; and (4) scientists, when we seek truth and undertake experiments to test hypotheses. He contends that we miss many occasions to think again because of biases such as (1) confirmation bias, seeing what we expect to see; (2) desirability bias, seeing what we want to see; and (3) “I am not biased” bias, believing we are more objective than others. According to the author, we should think like scientists for, not only do we have healthy skepticism of other people's arguments, but we also have healthy skepticism of our own. He advises that we should be intellectually modest and open-minded because the goal of learning is to evolve rather than confirm our ideas.

Chapter 2, The Armchair Quarterback and the Impostor, discusses two syndromes: (1) armchair quarterback syndrome, when confidence exceeds competence and (2) impostor syndrome, when competence exceeds confidence. He highlights the Dunning‒Kruger effect, which states that when we lack competence, we are more filled with overconfidence. Furthermore, he claims that feeling like an impostor has benefits: (1) it can stimulate us to work harder because we feel like we have something to prove; (2) it can motivate us to work smarter because we think we will not win; and (3) it can motivate us to improve because we have suspicions about our knowledge and skills. Great intellectuals, he claims, begin as impostors. They have self-doubt and do not brag about what they know. They are self-assuredly humble and think that everyone has something to teach them.

Chapter 3, The Joy of Being Wrong, accentuates that being comfortable with and excited by being mistaken can teach us how to be more gracious and accommodating when we discover that our views are incorrect. According to the author, there appears to be a dictator in our heads who controls the facts and shields our incorrect ideas. He proposes that we must separate present from present, and opinions from identity, to experience the delight of being wrong. Many of us are used to identifying ourselves in terms of views and ideas, which can be detrimental since it hinders us from changing our thoughts as the world evolves. Better judgment begins with the confidence to question our own assumptions. While we are all entitled to have ideas, the author maintains that it is our job to establish them in logic and facts when we speak them out loud and to be willing to modify our ideas when better evidence becomes available.

Chapter 4, The Good Fight Club, pinpoints that while relationship conflict—personal and emotional clashes—is damaging and prevents rethinking, task conflict—clashes over ideas and opinions—is healthy because it brings a variety of views and prevents us from being imprisoned in overconfidence. Grant argues that avoiding an argument is impolite because silence devalues the worth of others' perspectives and our capacity to reach a peaceful compromise. Disagreeable individuals not only force us to reconsider our positions, but they also help agreeable individuals feel at ease while arguing.

Meanwhile, Chapter 5, Dances with Foes, enumerates the attributes of skilled negotiators. Backed up by research, it is found out that skilled negotiators (1) find common grounds, (2) give fewer reasons, but cogent, compared to neophyte negotiators; (3) express curiosity; (4) appear less assertive and ask questions, leading for the other party to step forward; and (5) comment on their sentiments about the procedure and test their understanding of the other side's feelings. Furthermore, Grant advises treating a debate as a dance rather than a war in which we become adversarial. The process of dialog, interest, and curiosity can be facilitated by viewing it as a dance.

Chapter 6, Bad Blood on the Diamond, highlights that when we have prejudice, we exalt our own group while disparaging the other group, even if it means doing wrong or harming others. Humans have an innate need for status and belonging, which we can both obtain by being a part of a group. It is inherent for human beings to seek status and belonging which we can both have by being part of a group. Grant contends that rivalries are most likely to develop between groups that are geographically close and compete regularly. He also shares the concept of group polarization, a phenomenon that as we interact with people who share the same beliefs, the more extreme we become. He also hypothesizes some ways that can help to curtail prejudice and stereotypes: (1) sharing common identity; (2) learning about individual group members; and (3) knowing what it feels like to be disliked and realizing that conflict has real implications.

Chapter 7, Vaccine Whisperers and Mild-mannered Interrogators, maintains that when we refute the views of others, even if it is logical or data-driven, the more that they resist and hold their convictions. However, there is a new approach in which instead of attacking beliefs, the goal aiding them to find their own motivation to change which can be done through motivational interviewing.[3] The main goal is not to instruct them on what to do, but to assist them to break the cycles of overconfidence so as they can see new opportunities. Grant believes that people sometimes ignore advice, not because they disagree, but because they want to repel pressure and the sense that someone controls their decision-the author also proposes that people are more willing to change their minds, when caring about them and their goals are offered.

Chapter 8, Charged Conversations, reimagines that life is diverse and complex. We have to relearn the knowledge we accumulate in life because others have views that are unlikely to what we affirm. The aspiration to rethink what we believe can be challenging. Since we have lived in harmony with the views that are established within our surroundings, we are habituated with challenging conversations that result in difficult arguments. Thus, it will be a healthy structure to match our views to someone that negates them and discover a common ground that can resolve controversial issues such as global warming, racism, and politics.

Chapter 9, Rewriting the Textbook, brings up the problem of not utilizing the rethinking cycle as part of instruction in society. Many people tend to become confident in the content of textbooks. However, there are times, they are not revised in line with the current facts or changes. As a result of this practice, learners mistreat information and become a conveyor of false knowledge. It is significant to learn the knowledge from the past, but this should not shield the learners from accumulating information existing in the present. The rethinking cycle should be encouraged to battle the false beliefs in society. Rethinking can be shared to come up with different resolutions to the social issues in our community. Thus, authorities should structure a learning space that supports rewriting of textbooks and rethinking of knowledge, so that it forms a mutual desire and action promoting the good and service for the citizens.

Chapter 10, That's Not the Way We've Always Done It, emphasizes the importance of accountability and the level of psychological safety in promoting the rethinking cycle in any organization. There is always a standard operation in any organization as they have always done it. However, it should not limit only to routines to be performed by workers. Psychological safety is described as an atmosphere where inquiries are welcomed, and suggestions are recognized with profound respect.[4] It is the accountability of the organization we belong to not to terminate the workforce voicing questions. Thus, we should be encouraged to rethink initiatives, so we can prevent misunderstanding, even when we are already exposed to routines that are structured by the organization itself. Failure to involve in rethinking during operation at work may arise problems. To battle the problem, we should foster respect and openness. We can always double-check our own works and others, so learning can be limitless.

Chapter 11, Escaping the Tunnel Vision, talks about identity foreclosure, the pursuit of meaning, and escalation of commitment. The author finds that a dedicated follower of a premature route tends to commit and to engage in a certain career as support in the presence of prior decisions which can lead, at times, to unhappiness and failure. This notion denounces a role and unfollows relationship that is unfavorable to growth and pursuit of meaning. We must disconnect from identity foreclosure and be available to opportunities. Moreover, we should perform a reflection about our careers. It will serve as a checkup to rethink if we are genuinely happy with our job and if we have found or not the purpose of life to the career we possess. Furthermore, happiness can be gained through the sharing of skills and propelling participation to others; this is how we can win life and be successful.

In a world where people are so certain about their knowledge and skills, this book attempts to do the opposite and that is to challenge certainty. It calls for rethinking. Although not novel because many scholars, authors, and scientists have explored this topic already, this book is still worth reading. The language used here is simple and understandable for lay readers. Not only that it has engaging narratives to support arguments, but it also is coupled with research and scholarly findings translated for public consumption. The author, at the same time, is true to what he is advocating for he has given stories in which he exemplified rethinking; this can reinforce credibility to his arguments. Meanwhile, the book has a smooth flow and is divided properly; these attributes can facilitate understanding among readers. This is highly recommended to everyone, most especially for teachers, doctors, public officials, and administrators, so that they would get to be elucidated about the value of rethinking which can lead to meaningful conversations and successful undertakings.

  References Top

Grant AM. Give and Take. New York: Viking; 2013.  Back to cited text no. 1
Grant AM. Originals. New York: Viking; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 2
Miller WR, Rollnick S. Motivational Interviewing. 3rd ed. New York: Guilford Press; 2013.  Back to cited text no. 3
Edmondson AC. The Fearless Organization. 1st ed. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons; 2019.  Back to cited text no. 4


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded164    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal