10 Books to Alleviate Your Critical Thinking

10 Books to Alleviate Your Critical Thinking


Critical thinking is a cognitive process that takes place in human beings enabling them to solve problems effectively and make decisions easily. It is a skill necessary to survive in this fast-paced world. While some people have an innate tendency to think critically, others are capable of developing this skill. Ideally, critical thinking should be instilled from a younger age. However, it is never too late to get into the practice of it. This article mentions ten books, in no particular order, that you can read to start your critical thinking journey. Remember, as you think smart, you will live smart.

Read More: Mastering Critical Thinking: Your Key to Smart Living!

Books on Enhancing Critical Thinking Skills:

If you’ve found yourself going through this article, chances are that you recognize the importance of critical thinking in life, and you want to work on your skills to be able to do exactly that. However, it gets difficult to start any journey. The main reason for that is people don’t know how to move forward. This section of the article will be exactly what you are looking for, as it recommends some books that can be a good start at understanding how you can foster the ability to think critically.

1. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

Kahneman is an author and psychologist who received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences Award in 2002. His 2011 book talks about multiple cognitive biases and heuristics, the knowledge of which can make you more aware, giving way to effective critical thinking. The author also talks about Systems 1 and 2, which is responsible for the way humans think. The book enables readers to reflect on their thought processes. It further covers topics such as the decision-making process and the influencing factors, making this book an ideal first read for someone who is trying to develop critical thinking skills.

Read More: What is Decision Fatigue?

2. “The Art of Thinking Clearly” by Rolf Dobelli

This 2013 book can be a good fit for those people who are not much into reading. It is an easy and light read, as compared to many others on the list. So, as a beginner, following this book might be easier. One feature of the book that makes it a light read is the use of multiple examples throughout. So, this book might also be good for you if you are better at understanding through examples than by reading theory. The author has brought a lot of different concepts about critical thinking and summed them up neatly in this book.

3. “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know” by Adam Grant

This book was recently published and was made available to the public in 2021. Grant focuses on the importance of changing your mind, while also telling you why you don’t do so. He focuses on motivation as a critical factor in developing this skill and identifies how to align with motivated reasoning to achieve your goals. Grant, through his book, encourages its readers to constantly question everything around them. His viewpoint focuses on challenging your views, not to prove yourself wrong, but to upgrade the way you think, and to be positive about the beliefs you hold.

Read More: The Psychology of Self-Perception

4. “Critical Thinking: Your Guide to Effective Argument, Successful Analysis and Independent Study” by Tom Chatfield

This book is short and to the point. Through it, the author makes sure that a concept is learnt properly. After teaching, he allows the reader to test it out to know if they’ve understood the point of what they’ve just read. Chatfield lets you intelligently structure your arguments, and also write them down in a smart manner. His materials include cognitive biases along with more logical arguments. His book prepares you to wisely direct your attention, know how to test out different ideas and prioritize workload meaningfully. Thus, one can say that this book is a shortened version of an entire course.

Read more: Cognitive Biases in Everyday Life

5. “Fooled by Randomness” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

This book from 2001 is important for developing critical thinking skills as it focuses on the role of randomness in life. It lets the readers understand the word as a whole, giving it meaning. The book further talks about the serious consequences of randomness, catching the reader’s attention. Further, he talks about the role of luck and success. He also prepares the readers to face failure, acknowledging the fact that sometimes, smart decisions can also lead to poor outcomes. What makes his book so special is his approach towards critical thinking and his views on outcomes. This goes against the conventional manner of thinking, bringing attention to his book.

6. “Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World” by Carl Bergstrom & Jevin West

This 2020 book stands out as it addresses all the misinformation that people are surrounded by today. It focuses on identifying this ‘ bullshit’ that is spread and also believed by many people, so you do not follow the herd. Instead, by doing this, you can think for yourself and stick to what is right. The book highlights the consequences of misinformation. It extensively talks about the importance of the truth. The book not only addresses this problem at a general level, it dives deep by including statistical data as evidence. Further, it talks about misleading information from a psychological point of view.

7. “Problem Solving 101” by Ken Watanabe

A Japanese bestseller from 2009, this book is different from the rest of the list as it can be picked up by an elementary school student. This is one of those books that can be used to have an early introduction to critical thinking. However, it covers a lot of practical elements which might be useful for you. The book focuses on identifying problems and reaching the root causes to be able to effectively deal with them. It also supports the skill of making quick and confident decisions in all areas of life, but mainly from a business point of view. Thus, it can be a good guide to move forward in developing these skills.

8. “A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas” by Warren Berger

Berger, through his 2001 book, stresses the ability to ask the right questions. He believes that this is the starting point in enhancing critical thinking, as well as creativity. This book teaches its readers to be active in challenging assumptions. It encourages the readers to look at problems from different lenses, instead of settling for what is being handed to them. By doing so, it enables them to identify people’s perspectives and biases with ease, bringing them closer to their goal. Berger aims to make his readers comfortable with uncertainty, letting them fearlessly explore different ideas.

Read More: The Psychology of Discipline

9. “Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success” by Matthew Syed

In this 2015 book, author Matthew Syed has a unique take towards the concept of failure. He mentions that the biggest obstacle one can face in terms of failure is not being able to learn from their own mistakes. His book mentions how people are likely to bend evidence, or their attitude towards it, to keep their beliefs unaltered. People do not readily change their beliefs, even when provided with evidence against them. The book teaches its readers to break down the bigger problem and deal with it effectively, rather than making small changes to delay facing the consequences of these problems.

10. “Asking the Right Question” by Neil Browne and Stuart M. Keeley

A book from the year 2000, lets readers effectively practice critical thinking. It encourages readers against accepting information blindly. The authors convey to the reader how they can ask meaningful questions that stimulate greater understanding. This lets the reader make informed decisions later. This book emphasizes the fact that answers might be important, but the quality of questions you ask is equally necessary to maintain. This book lets you make more meaning of your learning process by understanding the implications of each question that you ask.

Now that you’ve gone through this list of books, there’s one important thing to remember. Choose the book that seems right for you, and go for only one at a time. This is not going to be your regular light reading that you skim through. You are trying to learn something new, so focus on trying to understand what each book is trying to tell you, and grow with it. These are just some of the many books on critical thinking. After referring to a few of these, you will be more equipped to surf the internet and find those books that align with your goal. Remember- always question before believing what is in front of you. Wishing you all the best on this journey of building yourself!

References +
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Kahneman
  • https://www.samuelthomasdavies.com/book-summaries/business/black-box-thinking/
  • https://fivebooks.com/best-books/critical-thinking-nigel-warburton/
  • https://globisinsights.com/career-skills/critical-thinking/books-on-critical-thinking-and-problem-solving/
  • https://themindcollection.com/books-on-critical-thinking/#3-what-if-by-randall-munroe
  • https://www.crossknowledge.com/blog/tom-chatfield-seven-key-insights-building-critical-thinking/
  • https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/asking-the-right-questions-a-guide-to-critical-thinking_m-neil-browne/253910/#edition=2217784&idiq=818841

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