Many books have been written about how to think, ranging from the technical to the superficial, not to mention the supercilious. Harrison’s approach must be the most amiable and helpful this reviewer has ever encountered.
But why do we need a book like this?
“Bad thinking is our invisible pandemic, the plague popular culture ignores.” p.15
Harrison outlines what this amounts to:
“Irrational beliefs hurt us collectively by acting as a massive drag on society, slowing human progress every moment, everywhere. Indifference about billions of people trusting their health to medical quackery, squandering their money on lies, and looking to superstition for motivation and meaning in their lives equates to not caring about humanity.” p.37
If we do care, a solution is readily available:
“Good thinking is an umbrella term for understanding the human brain and using it in ways that enable one to make rational decisions, identify deception, and avoid or discard delusions as often as possible.” p.16
For Harrison, good thinking should be on the short list of humanity’s basic needs and values, along with nutrition, sleep, sanitation, healthcare, education and security.
Harrison includes a useful overview of current knowledge of brain functions, to help readers understand how memory works and fails us, how we perceive the world, how we take decisive short cuts.
Illuminating, honest and compassionate, this book is warmly recommended, and would be a useful book to suggest or offer to anyone who may be in the grip of exploitative or debilitating ideas and habits.