Book review: The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking

Emma de Vita reviews the new book by Edward Burger and Michael Starbird

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking
The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking

We never stop to think about how we think. Perhaps it's time we did. This lively and slim volume by Edward Burger and Michael Starbird, two US professors, promises to inspire you to become more successful through better thinking.

Their idea is simple: you can learn how to think better by adopting specific strategies. Brilliant people, they assure us, are not a special breed: they just use their minds differently.

Their five learnable habits are: understand deeply; make mistakes; raise questions; follow the flow of ideas; and change. The first four 'elements' are building blocks towards effective thinking. Understand deeply means reducing complex issues to simple ideas. "Clear the clutter and expose what is really important," the authors write. Letting yourself make mistakes will allow you to learn far more than constant success. And asking the right questions will help you clarify your understanding of a problem. Finally, embrace new ideas: they are the start of a journey - and who knows what you might discover on the way?

The final element - change - is the fruition of mastering these four elements. Can you become the smartest manager you could be? Make it your resolution to think differently.

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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