Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Seeing What Others Don't: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights Hardcover – June 25, 2013
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
His analysis of how Google searches and corporate culture inhibit insight is intriguing, while suggestions for improving the chances of having a breakthrough are practical and useful for many facets of life.” Publishers Weekly
No one has taught me more about the complexities and mysteries of human decision-making than Gary Klein.” Malcolm Gladwell
"Intriguing findings that should play a transformative role, not only in the field of psychology, but also in corporate boardrooms."Kirkus Reviews
"A valuable resource for business professionals to return to over again.”Library Journal
Written in a breezy yet informative conversational style, Seeing What Others Don't is a good read and helps to stimulate our own thinking about how insights occur.”Strategy & Leadership
Gary Klein pins down what until now has been the elusive topic of insight in his best and most personal work yet. The examples are memorable and Klein translates them into subtle and powerful lessons for practitioners and academics alike.” Karl Weick, Rensis Likert Distinguished University Professor, Emeritus, University of Michigan
Gary Klein's brilliant book is a superb analysis of why and how some people are able to understand things others do not. As one of Gary's students and disciples I can attest to the exceptional value his insights have added to my own leadership and decision making ability. This new book is a must read for all leaders and should be added to his other works as the definitive collection on how decisions are, and should be, made.” General Anthony C. Zinni USMC (Retired)
About the Author
Top customer reviews
Klein began by observing instances of creative problem solving that did not fit the accepted four-stage model of creativity consisting of preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification (from economist Graham Wallas' 1926 The Art of Thought). He also saw important differences between the lab experiments and unfamiliar problems used to study problem solving and the real-life insights of experienced professionals working in their areas of expertise. Klein started from scratch, collecting his own set of critical incidents and examining them for patterns. He was careful to include instances of failed insight as well as instances of success.
Klein concluded that we achieve insights by reorganizing our thinking into a new story about the problem we are trying to solve. His model highlights the importance of five factors in achieving insights. "Eventually I was able to sort these 120 cases into five different strategies for gaining insights: connections, coincidences, curiosities, contradictions, and creative desperation. Did the incident rely on a person making a connection? Did the person notice a coincidence as a trigger for the insight? Was the insight triggered by some curiosity-- an odd fact or event? Did it depend on seeing a contradiction? Or was the person stuck, desperately seeking some way out of an impasse?"
The first section of the book describes Klein's research methods and how each of the five factors was identified. It also debunks common beliefs about problem solving. For example, an incubation period is unnecessary for creative insight, reasoning by analogy is productive when it involves an expert applying analogies from previously-solved problems, and computational models of searching a problems space to choose between possible solutions do not match how human experts think.
The final two sections describe how insights are often blocked and what can be done to facilitate insightful problem solving. Most interesting is Chapter 12: How Organizations Obstruct Insights." It discusses how the high value many organizations place on predictability and reduction of errors discourages risk-taking and pursuing new strategies. "Insight is the opposite of predictable. Insights are disruptive. They come without warning, take forms that are unexpected, and open up unimagined opportunities. Insights get in the way of progress reviews because they reshape tasks and even revise goals. They carry risks-- unseen complications and pitfalls that can get you in trouble. So insights make you work harder." Another nugget is Klein's tongue-in-cheek list of methods to block insight. If you have a distaste for arbitrary deadlines and other organizational nonsense, you will find it enjoyable as well as useful.
This is a useful discussion of the nature of insight and how to recognize and foster it. It strikes a good balance between research depth and practical application. Researchers will also find it useful for Klein's candid discussion of this methods and the value of a naturalistic approach to studying decision making. Readers who enjoy Klein's approach might also take a look at Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions,Working Minds: A Practitioner's Guide to Cognitive Task Analysis, and The Power of Intuition: How to Use Your Gut Feelings to Make Better Decisions at Work.
Recognition-primed decision making is at the heart of naturalistic decision making research and literature. For insight that means drawing inferences from recombining frames of reference from prior experience, from intuition, and taking the ensuing steps to draw a novel insight. In his book, Klein constructs his insight framework based on the groundbreaking work of Graham Wallas from the early 1900's. Wallas' Stages of Control are comprised of Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, and Verification. The discussion on incubation is where the book really comes into its own. As a standalone subject, incubation may be addressed in the insight literature but is underrepresented in applied psychology and human factors research. It was intriguing to see how the lens of Klein's experience working through his 120 case studies casts notable work in human systems interaction by Donald Norman, Ben Shneiderman, Stu Card, and others in a different light.
Dr. Klein refers to the notion of the "prepared mind" at various points in the book. Having bought this book as a gift for multiple people and also presented what I took away from reading it, what jumps out at me about the work is the range of feedback I have heard. The tone of the book is very conversational, and leaves several key questions unanswered. The prepared mind we each bring could drive the takeaways from the book in a multitude of directions. That may be frustrating to some, but for those who embrace the questions to reconsider their own experiences with insight will find a very rewarding read. A person I admire once told me the key to great research is asking the right questions, and viewed from that perspective the book is a significant achievement in case-based research. Highly recommended for technical and general audiences alike.