Would you like to know more about effective thinking? Buy this book now!

Edward B. Burger, Michael Starbird - Princeton - 2012 - 168 p.


2019 June 13 | by Arduino Mancini Effective thinking

Here is one of the most robust, useful and enjoyable books I’ve ever read.

The authors, university professors and consultants, prove to be first of all two teachers, able to lead the reader to the discovery of the 5 elements that will guide him towards effective thinking.

Before going into details, we would do well to ask ourselves two valuable questions:

  • What is effective thinking?
  • How can we define it?

A very personal definition of effective thinking describes it as a tool that is essential to use when we need to solve complex situations and achieve our goals efficiently.

What Burger and Starbird do in this book is to point out the 5 factors that can help us improve our ability to think effectively: let’s see them briefly.


  • Analyse and fully understand situations before making assumptions about what you can do to solve complex situations.
  • Recognise your ignorance and build the necessary knowledge, free from prejudice.
  • Clarify the context, look for the essential, without running into easy simplification.
  • Don’t be content with a superficial understanding: accessing a higher level of knowledge of what you already know will open up new horizons for you.


  • Value your errors: changing your attitude towards mistakes will open new horizons for you.
  • Learn to fail intentionally: success also passes through mistakes, especially if you decide to make mistakes your guide.
  • Welcome accidental mistakes: find the right question for the wrong answer.


  • Questions are the tool that will help you to broaden your knowledge: learn to be your Socrates.
  • Learn to doubt, because doubts help to break down the wall that separates you from solid knowledge.


  • Learn to observe the flow of ideas.
  • Looking forward and behind you, you will find that your idea is nothing more than the starting point for discoveries: and you will learn to generate them continuously.

Your determination to change

  • Learning to use the previous four elements will make you the fifth element, that is, a person who has learned to think effectively and to generate change, inside you and in the environment.
  • Before concluding, here are some videos in which the authors talk about the book and address the issues you will find yourself in.

Before concluding, here is a video clip in which one Edward Burger talks about the book and addresses the topics you will find there.



I have read this book several times, and it has deeply inspired me in the design of training courses and programmes about change management, cognitive flexibility, critical thinking and the ability to solve complex situations in general.

You will have also understood that the authors do not provide easy recipes: after all, nothing that has value can be obtained without effort.

Therefore, I recommend you read the book. Now!

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