Quick Looks Thinking Books
The New Word 'Po' —Edward de Bono
As in po-lease skip this book. The author is not to be confused with Snoop Doggy de Bono or J. Lo de Bono.
The Power of Logical Thinking: Easy Lessons in the Art of Reasoning… and Hard Facts About Its Absence in Our Lives by Marilyn Vos Savant
Looks like a power shortage. Where’s the logic? Mostly letters from readers and the author’s responses.
Power resembles books thrown together to meet a deadline--shallow Sunday supplement logic. Easy and grossly incomplete. Bad fallacy organization and explanations. Bad fallacy omissions. Bad overall organization. Bad problem selection. Bad reasoning. Bad moral value. Bad pragmatic value. Bad. Bad. Bad. Not recommended. Contains one interesting tidbit: In 1948, 95 percent of the population gave the government info the government asked for. By 1985, 72 percent did.
Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer
This is a jeremiad of human wrongs, not much factually wrong with this book, but it lacks pragmatic value. It's a couple hundred pages of obvious human vice and ignorance. The lessons on reasoning are inadequate. Not worth the bother.
Parallel Thinking: From Socratic to de Bono Thinking—Edward De Bono
I'm not making up the title of this work. I cannot figure out why the so called experts on creativity write in uncreative, laborious prose. You do not learn to be creative by drawing lines through dots in a book on creativity. If you want to be creative in some field, you learn from the best performers in the discipline. You learn the rules of the discipline. You learn when to ignore the rules. You practice the discipline on the cutting edge. You do not let fleeting successes, failures, or irrelevant factors distract you. This is atrocious, egregious rot.
Goodbye, Descartes —Keith Devlin
Hello, brain of baked Pop Tart. 301pp. (C) 1997
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark —Carl Sagan
Looks like a free writing exercise from a research pile. Not recommended.
Studies Show: A Popular Guide to Understanding Scientific Studies by John H. Fennick
This is for a technical rather than a popular audience. Worth a look. 240pp. (C) 1997
The Flight from Science and Reason —ed. Paul R. Gross and others
593pp. (C) 1996
Collection of academic essays. Some engrossing, some as exciting as eating chalk.
Dumbth! by Steve Allen
This work is among the most thoughtful things to come out of Hollywood. That doesn’t make it any better, a bunch of banalities and platitudes. Dumpth!
Teaching Reasoning Skills in Schools and Homes: A Gamebook of Methods —Phyllis F. Goodman and David S. Goodman
81pp. (M) 1991
Hate the sin and praise the sinner is a bad idea. If a person unrelentingly does vile things, she is not good and one should not praise her. She may have potential for good. Not recommended.
How to Argue and Win Every Time by Gerry Spence
The target audiences for this book: Individuals who think things are spinning out of control and are desperate. Hint: This isn’t the place to look for improved control. Winning through intimidation works when you already have power. And winning is not the most important reason for arguments.
Think Like a Genius —Todd Siler
Genius step number one: Don't waste a cent on this book.
How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life by Thomas Gilovich
216p (H) 1991
Not oriented toward everyday reasoning. Other books cover these topics more concisely. Not a bad book but not worth the bother.
Fuzzy Logic —Bart Kosko
Talk about taking a few principles and misapplying them to excess. "Wonderful. Kosko is the logical successor to Rene Descartes."—San Francisco Chronicle. Or to put it more fuzzily: Dagwood Bumstead. Not recommended.
Use Your Head: How to Develop the other 80% of Your Brain —Stuart B. Litvak
Or was it 70 or 90 percent? Or perhaps 84.98 percent? Argues that a verbal paradox “clearly exposes the impotence of logical reasoning.” False cause claims and demands for impossible perfection abound. Much of this book makes claims similar to this form: If no one ate, there would be no children with leukemia, no pollution, no crime, no wars, no anything bad. But then, there would be nothing good, either. Don't buy this book.
—J.T. Fournier, last updated July 24, 2009