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The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking Hardcover – August 26, 2012
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Winner of the 2013 Silver Medal in Self-Help, Independent Publisher Book Awards
What do earth, fire, air, and water have to do with effective thinking? Everything, according to mathematics professors Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird. In The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking, the authors draw on these metaphor-laden elements from the natural world to demonstrate how to ask better questions, take calculated risks, learn from mistakes, and, ultimately, transform ourselves into more engaged and thoughtful citizens of the world. . . . The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking is a useful guide for anyone interested in tackling difficult subject matter, particularly in the classroom. The book also could serve as a solid supplementary text in courses on critical thinking.---Jennifer Moore, ForeWord Reviews
If you remember being told by your teachers to think harder and having no idea how, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking should help. . . . This is a snappy, illuminating read that should appeal to anyone who has ever dreamed of being a genius and is willing to strive, step by step, to become one.---David Wilson, South China Morning Post
Thinking is good, enthuses this book by two distinguished teachers of mathematics. You might think you're being creative or having intuitions or conducting a romance or whatever, but it's all thinking, right? And you can learn to think better! So you can, and the advice herein, which includes many practical tenets of 'critical thinking', will surely be useful to many a schoolchild or business leader.---Steven Poole, Guardian
The authors aim to teach readers how to expand their intellectual and creative capacity by adopting habits that train the mind to see beyond the surface level of ideas in order to find innovative ways to solve problems. . . . Overall, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking is a quick, easy read that is entertaining and engaging. It's the type of book that you can read in one sitting or read over time as you grapple to master the elements.---Catherine A. Cardno, Education Week
The challenge of books such as these is that, in the wrong hands, the contents can come across as banal generalities and just so much hokum. But the appeal of The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking lies in that its authors are mathematicians by profession, and it shows in how the book is written. It's a very systematic book about being organized and critical in one's thinking, written by individuals whose work demands that they are organized and critical in their thinking. Yet it isn't at all imposing; in fact, the discussion is often down-to-earth, and the fact that the book is structured like a playbook readers can easily apply certainly has its merits. In short, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking is the kind of book I know would have helped me a lot in my days as a student. I'd like to think it will be helpful to students of today, too.---Brian L. Belen, Brain Drain blog
The root of success in everything is thinking--whether it's thinking disguised as intuition or as good values or as decision making or problem solving or creativity, it's all thinking. The surprising fact is that just a few learnable strategies of thinking can make you more effective.---John G. Agno, Business Week's Coaching Tip blog
Inspirational and engaging but also educational and immensely practical.---Anthony J. Sadar, Washington Times
The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird is a fun little book with great tips to improve overall thinking skills. . . . Suited for students who can employ the techniques in the book to earn better grades and become better thinkers.---Brandon Kroll, NACADA Journal
There is undoubtedly much here that would be of practical use to professionals from all walks of life, and indeed other educators, such as management trainers and coaches. As a practical and helpful guide, particularly for students seeking to improve the quality of their thinking and learning, The Five Elements of Effective Thinking is a thought-provoking and useful manual.---Jonathan Gravells, Teachers College Record
From the Inside Flap
"I remember as a kid in school being told by teachers to think harder and having no idea what to do. This book solves that once and for all. We now have a guide for people of all ages to learn how to think more effectively. I highly recommend this book."--Jack Canfield, cocreator of the New York Times best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul® series andThe Success Principles
"Think...fail...question...understand...change...learn: in their powerful new book, Burger and Starbird show students, teachers, and everyone else how to harness the genius of learning.The 5 Elements argues that the door to knowledge is not opened by a magical test. Instead, the key is for each of us to boldly embrace a willingness to fail while organizing persistent approaches to thinking. Even more than helping one master content, this book can lead to a satisfying and rewarding life of the mind."--Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association
"The authors invoke Michael Jordan, Warren Buffett, and Winston Churchill to illustrate practical approaches--including failing--to understanding, creativity, and wisdom. Their observations apply to honing any skill from sports and school to leadership and citizenship. Knowing how to listen and learn has become a rare art--The 5 Elements is a timely tutorial."--Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates
"In this compact and remarkable book, two renowned professors share decades of teaching experience with anyone--from students to business people--seeking advice on how to improve skills and expand learning. It should be read, studied, and cherished--then reread."--Fay Vincent, former commissioner of Major League Baseball and former president of Columbia Pictures
"This book is just what American education needs. It guarantees invention and discovery."--Barbara Morgan, former NASA "Teacher in Space" astronaut
"The 5 Elements is an enormously insightful examination of what constitutes effective thinking. Everyone will find something of value in it."--Morton O. Schapiro, president of Northwestern University
"I highly recommend this book for instructors who care more about their students than test scores, for students who care more about learning than their GPA, for leaders of society and masters of the universe who care more about serving the public good than increasing their profit margin, and for artists who constantly remind us of the human condition.The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking provides comfort in a world that has lost its equilibrium."--Christopher J. Campisano, director of Princeton University's Program in Teacher Preparation
"Our brain is our greatest asset in life, so it is a 'no brainer' that we should invest some time learning how to use it effectively. In this concise and carefully crafted book, renowned professors Burger and Starbird demonstrate their talent for making difficult concepts accessible. An average reader can peruse this book in only a few hours, but for many people those will be the best hours ever spent on a book. Highly recommended."--Brett Walter, president of the Homeschool Buyers Co-op
"Edward Burger and Michael Starbird became renowned scholars and educators by demonstrating that mathematical expertise is within the reach of the general population and not confined to those with the 'right' aptitude. With the publication of this remarkably wise and useful book, they extend their pedagogical principles to the general realm of practical affairs and the entire range of academic endeavor. Regardless of the reader's background,The 5 Elements offers highly applicable and original lessons on how to think."--John W. Chandler, president emeritus of Hamilton College and W
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It is a short book, but conveys realistic suggestions for improving one's learning and reasoning skills. I would recommend this book, especially to students and teachers but also to any that would like to improve their reasoning abilities.
This book does not present a cookie-cutter formula to improve thinking. Rather, the authors have given broader categories and outlines to frame their approach to think more effectively.
I found that the very act of reading this book improved my own approach to critical thinking and definitely bolstered the creative process. The concise size of the book easily lends itself to re-reading several times. There is a lot of meaning below the surface of the text that will reward the thinker in you. This book makes the discovery process fun and enjoyable.
Our minds need challenges to grow and learn. This book presents many examples of people who were initially challenged by a large or forbidding problem, but were able to persevere and subsequently find solutions that weren't apparent at first. Many geniuses were not born that way, but only through systematic and meticulous thinking, by "connecting the dots" of what came before them, were they able to effectively improve their knowledge base. This book shows you how.
This book should be required reading for educators and teachers. Our current system has to change. Education in our country is getting worse, not better. A book like this can serve as a platform to throw out old notions, and start afresh.
To conclude, this book is a welcome and important addition to the growing body of literature about how the mind works and how we can enhance its function. It belongs on the shelf of scientists, artists, engineers, teachers, and neuroscientists. It should particularly be read by students or anyone interested in lifelong learning. The more people gathered from various and diverse disciplines, assembling together to solve our many problems, the better our society will be prepared for the future. We all need to improve and refine the thinking process, to think more effectively, and this book is a great place to start. Highly recommended.