24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
A good thesis with reservations,
By A Customer
This review is from: Dumbth: The Lost Art of Thinking With 101 Ways to Reason Better & Improve Your Mind (Paperback)
Steve Allen's thesis is sound and I agree very much with his idea that many Americans do not think as well as they could. He gives many good ideas about how to improve thinking in general, as well as discussing why it is important for everybody to continually learn throughout their lives and why children should be taught to think critically from an early age.
However, before you get to the 101 ways for improving your thinking, you must wade through chapters worth of Allen's seemingly endless, elitist personal anecodes, which, if I hadnt agreed with his thesis from the start, would have made me drop the book very quickly. Not to give too much away, one of Allens points is to avoid bias - he then goes on to expose one his own biases - that the only good musicians were from the 1920's, 30's and 40's and maybe from a few modern jazz musicians. He claims that modern music is a cause of some of the thinking malaise afflicting America right now as opposed to a symptom of it.I was very much annoyed by these double standards of the author. There are other annoying aspects of Allens writing but I wont go on.
Overall, I liked the 101 ways - if people just follow a few of them they would be more critical of the junk they encounter nowadays. If you can handle Allens writing this book could be very useful.