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Summary

The secrets of perfect decision-making.

Have you ever...Invested time in something that, with hindsight, just wasn't worth it? Overpayed in an Ebay auction? Continued doing something you knew was bad for you? Sold stocks too late, or too early? Taken credit for success, but blamed failure on external circumstances? Backed the wrong horse?

These are examples of cognitive biases, simple errors we all make in our day-to-day thinking. But by knowing what they are and how to spot them, we can avoid them and make better choices - whether dealing with a personal problem or a business negotiation; trying to save money or make money; working out what we do or don't want in life, and how best to get it.

An international best-seller, The Art of Thinking Clearly is essential listening for anyone with important decisions to make. It reveals, in 100 short chapters, the most common errors of judgment, and how to avoid them. Simple, clear and always surprising, this indispensable audiobook will change the way you think and transform your decision-making - at work, at home, every day.

©2013 Rolf Dobelli (P)2013 Hodder & Stoughton

What listeners say about The Art of Thinking Clearly

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It is a list

Although I enjoyed this book it is somehow pedestrian. Dobelli makes no bones about this : he is reporting the work of others, and the book's origin is his own notebook of useful mental glitches to avoid. There are lots of things to like - the completeness of his review, listing, it seems to me, most of the fascinating examples from behavioural economics of the past four decades, and his European perspective, in contrast to the many US-based authors in this field. (Dobelli has defected to New York, but his heart is still in Switzerland, and his memories and friends are still Euro-centric). What the book lacks, is the dazzle, coherence and wit of someone like Kahneman, or the personality of Jamie Whyte (Bad Thoughts) but that is clearly an inhuman standard to apply.

This is more like a reminder and check list. Still good listening.

Narration is professional quality.

13 people found this helpful

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Massive disappointment

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Despite his claims of 'researching a vast amount of scientific evidence and literature' there's nothing terribly original here. Overall the book feels like a reworking of Daniel Kahneman's and other's works (including his hero Warren Buffet, who's cited innumerable times). In fact, the book could have very well being cut by 50% without much loss. The first few chapters are okay overall (hence my two star rating), but then it descends into a succession of platitudes and half-cooked arguments.There are other bits that are at the very best amusing, and at times annoying, like the over-representation of Swiss contribution to the human knowledge or some tints of 'misogynistic' innuendo... Anyway, that's not the worse of this books faults.The overall tone of the book is patronizing, made much worse by the pompous tone of the narrator. There are parts that require an enormous self-control effort to not smash the audio while listening. The author takes an arrogant perspective on many of the subjects he approaches, even classifying as 'idiotic' some behaviors, but he lacks the sincerity to admit his lack of knowledge in key aspects of psychology and neuroscience that is broadly evident across the book (funnily enough, the author stresses we should be warned against stepping out our 'circle of competence'). In summary, probably you're better off by reading Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink", Daniel Kahneman's "thinking fast and slow", Ben Goldacre "Bad Science" and Chip and Dan Heath's "Decisive". At least these carry on considerable more weight.

What could Rolf Dobelli have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Keep it within his 'circle of competence'. He tries too hard to guide us all mere mortals to scape our errors, but in doing so he portraits himself as the expert he is not.The book feels like just another poor 'self-help' attempt (a genre, by the way, heavily condemned by the author).He should have tried a more humble and down-to-earth approach to the problem he's trying to approach.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Jonathan Keeble?

Either Jonathan Keeble has done a superb job in reflecting the patronizing tone of the book or his narrating style is making it a hundred fold more obvious. I would have appreciated a more 'approachable' voice, one of us mere mortals...

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Massive disappointment and at times anger about the nonsense included in it.

21 people found this helpful

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Interesting is muddled

If you could sum up The Art of Thinking Clearly in three words, what would they be?

Interesting, random, thoughtful.

What did you like best about this story?

It challenges the way you think about everyday situations, statistics and news.

What does Jonathan Keeble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He narrates it with humour and notably engaging inflection. It is not a 'story' but a collection of observations and advice on how to analyse and consider news, statistics and life in general, so it needed someone who could liven up the 'dry' content which he mostly does successfully.

Any additional comments?

This is a book that makes you think about how you think, what you take for granted and why a lot of what you see in the media might, in fact, be rubbish! It concentrates a bit too much on 'money' but having said that I really enjoyed it. It will certainly help me stop and think before reaching erroneous conclusions in the future. My only criticism is that it could provide a bit more of an 'overview' as this amounts to a collection of fairly random musings without much guidance on when and how to apply them.

5 people found this helpful

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Weak and opportunistic

What disappointed you about The Art of Thinking Clearly?

This book reads like each wikipedia page on cognitive bias had been edited into a short chapter long essay with some very weak personally reflections on the biases discussed.

The only art I could hear, was the art of making a bit of cash with an opportunistic side project; the art of spending ten minutes a day taking notes from the internet.

It isn't in the same league as titles like You Are Not So Smart, Your Brain at Work, or even How the Mind Works, in which new research and primary sources take the fore.

I would not be at all surprised to learn that Rolf is a software programmer who has written some kind of bot to trawl wikipedia to generate non-fiction.

What could Rolf Dobelli have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Some real research of the real research

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Sure

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Art of Thinking Clearly?

All of them

4 people found this helpful

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Not that in depth

For me there are much better self help books on the market, try Black Box Thinking first. This book is a little simplistic and is too broad for any of the ideas to be truly developed and for them to sink in. Too much of a scatter gun approach to actually make any difference.

If you have the time to expand on the topics yourself then you could benefit a lot. But I am guessing if you are the type of person who can do this and has the time to then youre not the type of person who would benefit from it in any case.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant work!

Excellant narration. Many useful tips on day-to-day decisions. Loved from 1st word to last word!

1 person found this helpful

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Good to dip into

Well written and easy to digest, easy to dip into when you need a refresher, concepts well articulated and structured

1 person found this helpful

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  • JJ
  • 31-08-21

A must read!

This is the second time I’ve read this book. The first time was a paperback and this time I listened. It was an excellent performance of the book although it was a little jumpy at the beginning.

Well worth a read and/or listen!

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Interesting but difficult to put into practice

Good statement that we have a lot of biases. But the only advice is "keep in mind this bias". Not likely to keep them all in my mind at all times. Maybe having a paper version would have been better. He references several times the book Thinking, fast and slow of Kahneman, it made me wonder if I should read this book instead. Otherwise, the examples are clear and it is easy to follow the book. And the reader did a good job.

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Good

Good book. Felt that it could have been shorter. Overlap between chapters. Otherwise great narration and examples.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-05-21

Good Job

At the root of critical thinking, we need to spot rubbish and distinguish sound from irrational thinking... This book covers a hundred of the latter. More, the closing words also covers some advices regarding when critical thinking matters, must be considered, and why.

This' my first book from Rolf Dobelli and he's excellent at it. It's far from being boring as I thought when starting off.

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  • Andrew Riungu
  • 30-05-20

Great book ..fantastic topic

Enjoyed listening to it very much. It had lots of well researched info and a great conclusion

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  • Saminathan Suresh Nathan
  • 22-05-19

Common sense critical thinking by a novelist

I was skeptical that a story teller could right a self help book and was happily wrong.

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  • mahesh
  • 01-04-18

Tremendous learning of decision making

The narrator has clear and convincing voice that keep you engrossed till the end. The knowledge is shared in form of nuggets of 4 to 5 min. audio. And this helps to revisit. All form of thinking process rational, intuitive is explained beutifully with example and minute differences.

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  • Ronel
  • 31-03-14

A summary of so many books

What did you love best about The Art of Thinking Clearly?

It's a summary of Thinking fast and slow / invisible gorilla / predictably irrational: Overall quick and precise reflection of a big collection of theories.

What other book might you compare The Art of Thinking Clearly to and why?

Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Khanemann - very similar just shorter with less detail on case studies

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes