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Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life 1st Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0130647603
ISBN-10: 0130647608
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Critical Thinkingis about becoming a better thinker in every aspect of your life: in your career, and as a consumer, citizen, friend, parent, and lover. Discover the core skills of effective thinking; then analyze your own thought processes, identify weaknesses, and overcome them. Learn how to translate more effective thinking into better decisions, less frustration, more wealth Ñ and above all, greater confidence to pursue and achieve your most important goals in life.

About the Author

DR. RICHARD W. PAUL is Director of Research and Professional Development at the Center for Critical Thinking and the Chair of the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking. He has authored six books and more than 200 articles on critical thinking. In over 35 years of teaching experience, he has won numerous awards and honors, including Distinguished Perry Lecturer for the year 2000.

DR. LINDA ELDER is an educational psychologist, President for the Foundation for Critical Thinking, and Executive Director of the Center for Critical Thinking. She is highly published and has done original research into the relation of thought and emotion. She is a regular keynoter at the International Conference on Critical Thinking and is a recognized leader in the field.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (June 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0130647608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0130647603
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John C. Dunbar on July 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book presents a process of analytical thinking that will help you make rational decisions. It also presents many thinking exercises you can apply immediately. Of great importance is the author's descriptions of how the brain tricks itself into making wrong decisions.

The writing is very readable and generally keeps you riveted to the material. However, you must frequently stop and think about the ramifications of what the author is presenting. Each sentence, paragraph, section, chapter is deeply thought out. There is great detail and information to consider.

The exercises were useful, although there were a few that were too simplistic. Sometimes the exercises were too repetitive to material just presented in the text (repetition of the same questions, in the same order). But overall, the exercises were most valuable and I will probably return there on later readings of this book.

There is one reviewer of this book that took issue with the sections discussing how to analyze controversial issues. I had the same reservations. After presenting detailed logic on how to think through issues objectively, I thought the authors let their own anarchist biases effect their proposed analyses of controversial issues, turning these sections into a rhetoric for their political positions. If they had said that their logic was just one analysis of the issues then that would be OK, but instead they presented their controversial analyses as the correct one. These really detracted from the power of the material as I thought of many poor assumptions made on their part.

But fortunately, the political rhetoric and controversial issues section of the book was small... at most 2 chapters.

However, there is so much to like about this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Richard Paul and Linda Elder are affiliated with the Center for Critical Thinking, which I discovered several years ago when it was operating under the auspices of Sonoma State University. I first encountered Dr. Paul's writing through several fine pieces on the CCT web site, and they established my expectations for this book.
I should mention my misgivings about the phrase 'critical thinking.' It has critical mass as a buzz-phrase, and is susceptible to all of the risks that go with that--chiefly the risk that an assortment of people advocating widely different intellectual practices all find it advantageous to paste that popular name on their disparate wares. Even worse, I have encountered people to whom 'critical thinking' turns on the sense of 'critical' that means captious or disputatious, and who think of it as something nice people don't do; another entire camp seems to maintain that 'critical thinking' is achieved by nothing more than disparagement of reason and an inclination to question and deconstruct everything in sight. Taken far enough, these divergent uses of any 'in' buzzword can threaten to strip it completely of meaning; one cannot be grateful enough that the Center for Critical Thinking is still around and pushing the real deal: rigorous intellectual standards, commitment to clarity and reason and fairmindedness, with all that commitment demands.
But this book makes a disappointing vehicle. Contributing not least to the disappointment are lapses of editing and proofreading that should never be seen in a finished book. Perhaps embarrassments of grammar, spelling, and punctuation do not count directly against the book's intellectual content--but they could lead many readers to underestimate what the book has to offer. That's too bad.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a major disappointment. The writing is quite poor, grammatically and logically in places. The opening 3 or 4 chapters seem like nothing more than an advertisement for a a new type of spirituality. I felt like I was being preached at to find a higher pwer more than I was being talked to about ways to improve critical thinking. Perhaps the term "critical thinking" is the issue. It means different things to different people. To me it means thinking in a more analytical, questioning fashion to help you reach more well thought out conclusions. This book does not provide that.
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I'll first comment on a few common criticisms I've seen in other reviews:

"POOR GRAMMAR": There are slips of grammar (including poor subject-verb agreement, omitted words, extraneous words, some instances of "other's" instead of "others'" as the plural possessive), but these don't occur frequently enough to sink what's otherwise excellent grammar. The main writing problem is POOR STYLE.

"POSITIVE THINKING": Although the book comes dangerously close to so-called positive thinking, it never really reaches that point. According to the bio on Amazon, Dr. Elder is an educational psychologist who's done work on the relation of thought and emotion. That's a clear sign that at least one of the two authors may be coming from a cognitive-therapy background, and the claims in the preface, along with the techniques in the two strategy chapters at the end, are consistent with such a background, never entering positive-thinking territory.

"LIBERAL BIAS": There's no denying a liberal slant to the book's in-depth dissections of political and social issues (euthanasia, capital punishment, foreign policy, etc.), even though these in-depth dissections are punctuated by brief interludes paying lip service to intellectual balance and even though you get even-handed exercises on hot-button issues, such as abortion. You're told the "dominant thinking" in capitalist societies "encourages people to accept a large gap between the haves and have-nots as right and normal" (pg. 307). (Incidentally, a rigorous application of critical thinking would demand to know why a large gap isn't "right and normal.
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