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

3.9 out of 5 stars 122 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0130647603
ISBN-10: 0130647608
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

You are what you think...

Everything you do in life is determined by the quality of your thinking. If you aren't thinking clearly, you're at the mercy of everyone else-from dishonest politicians to aggressive, stop-at-nothing ad agencies. Unfortunately, many people never give any thought to how they think. No wonder they're susceptible to the frustration, pain, ineffectiveness, and financial loss that result directly from poorly considered thinking.

Critical Thinking is about becoming a better thinker in every aspect of your life—as a professional, as a consumer, citizen, friend, parent, and even as a lover. Drs. Richard W. Paul and Linda Elder, leaders of the Center for Critical Thinking, identify the core skills of effective thinking, then help you analyze your own thought processes so you can identify your weaknesses and overcome them.

As you learn how to think more effectively, you'll empower yourself as never before, discovering new opportunities, avoiding disastrous mistakes, and gaining new clarity throughout your entire life.

* The six stages of thinking: which stage are you in? Discovering where you stand in the hierarchy of effective thinking * The poor thinking habits everyone falls into-and how to get out of them Getting past the egocentrism and sociocentrism that shackle our progress * Setting higher standards for our thinking Imbuing our thinking with clarity, relevance, logic, accuracy, depth, significance, precision, breadth, and fairness * Thinking more effectively in the workplace Overcoming the unique obstacles to effective thinking in businesses and organizations * Strategic thinking: taking responsibility for your own growth Directing your thinking toward your most important goals and purposes * Critically assessing the views of experts Assessing matters of fact, matters of opinion, and matters of judgment * Practical techniques for making more intelligent decisions Applying critical thinking to life's key decisions * The ethical implications of effective thinking Why thinking and character are inextricably linked-and how to become a more ethical thinker

Get smarter—in every part of your life!

  • Practical skills for thinking more clearly-and making more effective decisions
  • Thinking strategically: using effective thinking to achieve your goals and enhance your life
  • Evaluating thinking: yours and everyone else's
  • Overcoming the obstacles to effective thinking
  • Thinking more effectively in your personal and business relationships
  • Includes exercises for honing your thinking skills every day

The world gets more complex every day. There's only one way to cope—get smarter. Thinking more effectively gives you greater control over your life, helps you overcome adversity, and makes it easier to transform your dreams into reality. Effective thinking is no mystery. It consists of practical skills anyone can learn, practice, and improve. Critical Thinking gives you those skills.

Richard W. Paul and Linda Elder show you how to "take thinking apart" and assess it for quality. You'll learn how to improve all three components of thinking—analysis, evaluation, and re-thinking. Then, through "brains-on" exercises, you'll discover and hone new thinking skills that'll soon become second nature.

Critical Thinking will help you in hundreds of ways. It will enable you to solve problems more effectively, make better decisions, recognize pathological thinking, and avoid being manipulated. Above all, it will give you the confidence and courage to recognize the path that's right for you—and take it.

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 (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #704,053 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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