Top critical review
57 people found this helpful
on November 20, 2013
I do not regret buying this book, or listening to it. Up through Chapter 7 it provided a nice context for the reader to understand where the authors' theory comes from. And the fairly simple system of thinking "modes" probably has some value for making quick observations or decisions, perhaps for analyzing potential employees or partners.
However, I think the theory behind the book is much weaker than it could have been. It is an oversimplified approach based on a dichotomy between top and bottom brain regions -- ironic, because the authors are critical of the left-right brain dichotomy that is a favorite subject for banal observations people make about each other while engaging in small talk. They've done almost the same thing with the top-bottom dichotomy. They do emphasize that these two gross brain regions are systems, and that they work together to take in, process, and act upon the world. But the idea that there are exactly 4 "modes" of thinking comes off as preposterous. Why not simply discuss brain regions and discreet functions like they did in the early chapters?
Starting with Chapter 8, it apparently becomes unlikely that someone could be strongly specialized in *some* thought activities of the lower brain regions, and at the same time be strongly specialized in some or all of the upper brain processes. Suddenly it is all or nothing -- if you strongly prefer making lists, you will strongly show the trait of completing what is on those lists, and strongly show the trait of controlling emotional outbursts, and strongly show the trait of creating narratives to make sense of and remember large amounts of random data. That's the underlying assumption of the top-bottom theory. You might be equally proficient in both parts, but you won't be strongly proficient in only a subset of the activities native to one of those parts. Fortunately or unfortunately, that is simply not supported by research, and it doesn't hold up to anecdote.
Are there normal people who have strong goals, and accomplish those goals, yet hate making lists? How about people who are interested in fabric textures and negotiating the best prices with suppliers for the textiles they are interested in, but have a weak sense of direction and are not at all interested in 3 dimensional shapes? Brains are not so simple that they will fit into a system with only two elements. It is an interesting train of thought to start on, but I think it should have come to more than it did.