book review -

Societal Necessity To "UnThink"

“If you don’t look back at yourself and think, ‘Wow, how stupid I was a year ago’, then you must not have learned much in the last year”. This is what Ray Dalio, the founder and manager Bridgewater Associates (world’s largest hedge fund) told Adam Grant, the author of “Think Again”. In today’s world, we often find ourselves curating an environment that just feeds our egos, beliefs, political position, and ideas. We entrench ourselves in our respective camps and create social echo chambers that creates this determinantal cycle to continue. An observer today does not have to look far to see the political, social, and economic harm this is causing. It is undeniable that the United States political system has become dangerously partisan. Having such a polarized democratic republic is leading to lack of political discord that is necessary to move the greater good of our nation ahead. Grant identifies this physiological diagnosis early on in this riveting publication, follows up with concept of the Rethinking Cycle, and provides actions for impact  

 We can see that there is much value in identifying our predispositions and exploring the opposing view in all aspects of our life. In classic Grant fashion, he points out human shortcomings and provides statistical evidence gathered by renowned physiologists to prove the importance of breaking this echo chamber.   

 Using a play on words from the band, Journey, greatest hit “Don’t Stop Believing”, Grant implores the reader to “Don’t Stop Unbelieving”. Or more directly put, the process of rethinking. Grant is not commanding the reader to abandoning any view they may hold; he simply is encouraging the reader to have intellectual humility (i.e., knowing what we do not know). Embarking in questioning our current understanding of an issue, we encourage ourselves to be curious about what information we are missing. One can discover new information that can either strength our position or even change our view. The Rethinking Cycle involves having humility, which could create doubt, then cast curiosity in one’s mind which leads to discovery.  

 

We enjoy literature that provides a call to action. Throughout all the studies, scientific commentary, and societal observations, Grant leaves the reader with Actions for Impact. He provides his top thirty practical takeaways (we are not going to list out all 30 here, but we implore you to embark in this journey yourself). Here are the top 3 we thought of sharing with the OG community:  

 

  1. Define your identity in terms of values, not opinions 
  1. Build a challenge network, not just a support network  
  1. Seek out information that goes against your views 

 

Here at OG, we continue to educate ourselves and continue to seek to know the unknown. We believe it is important to know the unknown as it is the only way to develop as a productive member of society. Digging our heels into ground and drowning out the opposition is not what made the United States. Our nation was created through debate, compromise, and listening to one another. Armed with the insight by Grant, we are confident that our society can break down these self-built echo chambers and move forward.