The 17 Best Books on Critical Thinking (to Read in 2024)

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The aim of improving your skill of critical thinking isn’t just to be able to reason and give logical arguments about a subject skillfully; your goal is to get to the right answer, to make the right decisions and choices for yourself and others.

Critical thinking helps you:

First , improve the quality of your decisions and judgments, and reevaluate your beliefs objectively.

The human mind is rarely objective. However, mastering the skill of critical thinking keeps your mind objective, at least about those things based on facts.

Take for example the beliefs you have about yourself; Some are based on facts, some on subjective (negative) opinions of others.

Second , become an independent thinker (learn to think for yourself); take ownership of your values, beliefs, judgments, and decisions.

Mastering critical thinking is essential , especially in our modern times, because you must:

  • Make a tone of decisions every day;
  • Think and come to the right conclusion fast;
  • Solve (mostly alone) your problems and issues;
  • Weigh carefully facts and information you receive from the dozens of sources you have at your disposal;
  • Reevaluate your strategies, beliefs, and habits periodically.

Critical thinking is a skill that you must learn; you’re not born with it. To make your journey a little easier, we’ve gathered the best critical thinking books so you can learn from the masters. Get inspired to become a critical thinker in no time!

The best books on critical thinking:

Table of Contents

1. Critical Thinking: A Beginner’s Guide to Critical Thinking, Better Decision Making, and Problem Solving – Jennifer Wilson

2. wait, what: and life’s other essential questions- james e. ryan, 3. think smarter: critical thinking to improve problem-solving and decision-making skills – michael kallet, 4. brain power: learn to improve your thinking skills – karl albrecht, 5. the art of thinking clearly – rolf dobelli, 6. being logical: a guide to good thinking – d.q. mcinerny, 7. predictably irrational, revised and expanded edition: the hidden forces that shape our decisions – dr. dan ariely, 8. a more beautiful question: the power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas – warren berger, 9. a rulebook for arguments – anthony weston, 10. thinking, fast and slow – daniel kahneman, 11. the organized mind: thinking straight in the age of information overload – daniel j. levitin, 12. don’t believe everything you think: the 6 basic mistakes we make in thinking – thomas e. kida, 13. the decision book: 50 models for strategic thinking – mikael krogerus, roman tschäppeler, philip earnhart, jenny piening, 14. weaponized lies: how to think critically in the post-truth era – daniel j. levitin, 15. the demon-haunted world: science as a candle in the dark paperback – carl sagan, ann druyan, 16. how to think about weird things: critical thinking for a new age – theodore schick, lewis vaughn, 17. the 5 elements of effective thinking – edward b. burger, michael starbird.

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As the title says, this book introduces you to the art of critical thinking. You’ll discover in it:

  • What is critical thinking in practice,
  • The different thought processes of critical thinking,
  • How will your life be better mastering critical thinking,
  • The things your brain needs to enjoy exercising critical thinking,
  • Techniques you can use for solving problems,
  • How to become a better decision maker, Strategies to use in your critical thinking processes,
  • Ways to make good decisions when more people (not just you) are involved,
  • Tips to frame your questions in order to maximize the efficiency of your critical thinking.

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Wisdom comes from observation, learning, practice, and asking the right questions.

Using examples from history, politics, and his own personal life, James e Ryan shows you the importance of knowing how to:

  • Ask questions and gain a better understanding,
  • Get to be more curious,
  • Push yourself to take action,
  • Make your relationship stronger,
  • And stay focused on the important things in life.

Related:  Critical Thinking Examples

The book starts with the five fundamental questions:

  • Couldn’t we at least…?
  • How can I help…?
  • What truly matters….?

Knowing how to formulate, address, and deliver the right questions doesn’t leave room for misunderstandings, misinterpretations; asking the wrong questions will most probably give you a wrong answer.

This book (Wait, What?: And Life’s Other Essential Questions) will make you feel (more) courageous; after all, asking questions thanks courage. Asking yourself and others the right questions helps you make informed decisions and decisive action.

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This book is a guide on how to train your brain to work even more for you. The author (Michael Kallet) is a critical thinking trainer and coach and gives you a practical set of tools and techniques for critical thinking in your day-to-day life and business.

If you want a clear, actionable step by step program to:

  • Improve your critical thinking skills,
  • A better understanding of complex problems and concepts,
  • And how to put them in practice, then this book is for you.

Learn how to discover the real issues that need a solution, so you don’t waste your time in trying to solve imaginary problems. Increase your mental toughness, useful and productive thought.

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In this book, Karl Albrecht shows you how to:

  • Build your mental strength,
  • Think more clearly logically and creative,
  • Improve your memory,
  • Solve problems,
  • Make decisions more effectively.

Karl Albrecht talks in this book about the six functional abilities you need to have and become more adaptable and an innovative thinker.

The book is packed with practical exercises, fascinating illustrations, games, and puzzles to improve your mental capabilities.

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The art of thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli is a window into human psychology and reasoning; how we:

  • Make decisions;
  • Evaluate choices and options;
  • Develop cognitive biases.

This book helps you notice and recognize erroneous thinking and make better choices and decisions, change unwanted behaviors and habits.

It will change the way you think about yourself and life in general because you have in this book 99 short chapters with examples of the most common errors of judgment and how to rectify them.

If you wish to think more clearly, make better decisions and choices, reevaluate your biases, and feel better about yourself, this book is for you.

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When you decide you want to study the field of logic more closely and improve your critical thinking, this book might be exactly what you need. It’s written clearly and concisely laying out for you the basic building blocks of logic and critical thinking.

The ancient civilizations understood better than us how important is to study logic and rhetoric. With the help of this book, you’ll bring back into your life these essential things that our modern society forgot and missed to teach you as a child.

Having increased logical thinking doesn’t mean to ignore your emotions. It means to start from your emotions and together, (emotions and logic) to take better decisions and see more clearly your choices to move forward in life.

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

“Predictably Irrational, The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions” is a book packed with examples of how:

  • Irrational are our choices;
  • We make decisions on impulse;
  • We fool ourselves with optimism- “that must work for me.”

The author presents you, in this book, a large number of mental traps and flawed tendencies which can make your life harder.

After reading this book, you’ll be better informed about a variety of human flaws and how to avoid being trapped by irrational thinking. You’ll be better prepared to make decisions and choices based more on facts rather than subjective personal opinions.

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Knowing how to ask the right questions is determining your success about many things in your life:

  • Influencing others,
  • Getting out of tricky situations,
  • Reevaluating your beliefs,
  • Offering yourself and others compassion,
  • Overcoming mistakes and fears.

Warren Berger shows you in this book examples of people who are successful (partially) because they are experts in asking questions and don’t have preconceived ideas about what the answers should be.

This book helps you avoid wasting your innovative and brilliant ideas by presenting them in the same way over and over and getting nowhere over and over.

Asking yourself (and others) the right questions gives you the opportunity to display your ideas in a way that those around you feel compelled to listen.

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This book is impressive because, Anthony Weston gives you a lot of excellent and practical advice, ordered in a logical and clear manner.

The examples in this book are realistic and useful, ranging from deductive to oral arguments, from argumentative essays to arguments by analogy.

Once you read this book you’ll want to have it on hand to sort out all sorts of situations you’ll encounter in your day-to-day life.

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Daniel Kahneman, the author of this book, is a renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in economics.

In this book, you will discover where you can and cannot trust your intuition; how to use the two systems that drive the way you think.

The first system is fast, intuitive, and emotional; the second system is slower, based on facts, and more logical.

The author argues that knowing how to use these two systems can make a huge difference in how you:

  • Design your strategies,
  • Predict consequences,
  • Avoid cognitive biases,
  • (and even simple things like) choosing the colors for your home office.

If you want to improve your critical thinking, know when you should use logic (instead of using emotions), and become mentally stronger this book is definitely for you.

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Critical thinking can’t be created in a cluttered mind. It’s like trying to prepare a gourmet meal for your loved ones in a cramped and dysfunctional kitchen.

As if is not enough all the information you store in your mind from what you personally experience every day, our modern times forcefully adds to that information a lot of junk.

The book “The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload” by Daniel J. Levitin will help you sort out and organized your thoughts with the help of the four components in the human attentional system:

  • Mind wandering mode;
  • Central executive mode;
  • Attentional filter;
  • Attentional switch.

The book is showing you how you can improve your critical thinking and make better decisions concerning many areas of your life.

This book can (really) change your life if you’re dealing with procrastination, multitasking, the inability to switch off and block the outside world.

All in all, you’ll be better prepared to think straight in the age of information overload.

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Thomas E. Kida talks in this book very elegantly about the six basic mistakes your thinking can make.

  • The first mistake is being mesmerized by stories and ignoring the facts or statistics.
  • The second mistake is searching to confirm what we already know or believe.
  • The third mistake is to discount the role that chance and coincidence play in our life.
  • The fourth mistake is believing that what you see it’s always the reality.
  • The fifth mistake is to oversimplify things.
  • The sixth mistake is to believe (trust) faulty memories.

This book can be for you an eye-opener into critical thinking, accepting who you are as you are, and improving the way you choose and make decisions.

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Did you know you have a strategy for everything you do? From brushing your teeth to making new friends? From choosing a career to dealing with difficult people?

Considering you have a strategy for everything you do, it’s only logical the try to improve every day the way you develop your strategies and don’t leave it to chance, habit, or convenience.

“The Decision Book: 50 Models for Strategic Thinking” can improve your critical thinking and help you make your life easier and more enjoyable.

This book is interactive and provokes you to think about some of the strategies that don’t bring you the results you want.

It contains 58 illustrations offering summaries for known strategies such as the Rubber Band Model, the Personal Performance Model, and the Black Swan Model.

This book is for you if you want to improve the flexibility of your thinking, accept challenges more comfortable, feel more in control of your decisions and choices.


From this book, by Daniel Levitin, you’ll learn how to think critically and avoid being manipulated by things like misleading statistics and graphics, extreme view, or fake news.

The book contains three main sections:

  • Evaluating numbers – how to read statistics and data to find out what lurks underneath and make a more objective analysis
  • Evaluating words – how to assess the information you receive from experts, understanding the difference between incidence and prevalence, risk perceptions, and probabilistic thinking
  • Evaluating the world – how to interpret scientific methods for different types of reasoning (induction, deduction, abduction)

This book will help you improve your critical thinking providing you with a lot of food for thought.

You know how in a criminal trial they call two experts that have divergent opinions on the same facts? Depending on whose side they are? This book teaches you to see the truth.

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Although written in the 1990s, this bestseller book is still relevant in today’s society.

With both intelligence and compassion, Carl Sagan lays out the importance of education, logic, and science. This book will show you a ton of practical skills for assessing arguments, recognizing logical fallacies, and applying the scientific method.

Sagan felt that reason and logic could make the world a better place.

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This book contains invaluable instructions on logic and reason using critical thinking, without being dull or difficult to understand.

Schick and Vaughn effectively laid out the key elements on how to assess evidence, sort through reasons, and recognize when a claim is likely to be accurate, making this book an absolute must-read for all students.

If you want to be better at decision-making based on sound evidence and argument, then this book is for you.

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If you ever found yourself stuck on a problem, or having trouble in forming new ideas, this book will guide you in finding creative solutions to life’s difficult challenges.

This book emphasizes the value of effective thinking, how it can be mastered, and how to integrate it into everyday life.

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Carmen Jacob

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The best books on critical thinking, recommended by nigel warburton.

Thinking from A to Z by Nigel Warburton

Thinking from A to Z by Nigel Warburton

Do you know your straw man arguments from your weasel words? Nigel Warburton , Five Books philosophy editor and author of Thinking from A to Z,  selects some of the best books on critical thinking—and explains how they will help us make better-informed decisions and construct more valid arguments.

Interview by Cal Flyn , Deputy Editor

Thinking from A to Z by Nigel Warburton

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

The best books on Critical Thinking - Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The best books on Critical Thinking - Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About The World — And Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About The World — And Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling

The best books on Critical Thinking - Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success by Matthew Syed

Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success by Matthew Syed

The best books on Critical Thinking - The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

The best books on Critical Thinking - Critical Thinking: Your Guide to Effective Argument, Successful Analysis and Independent Study by Tom Chatfield

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

The best books on Critical Thinking - Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World by Carl Bergstrom & Jevin West

1 Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World by Carl Bergstrom & Jevin West

2 thinking, fast and slow by daniel kahneman, 3 factfulness: ten reasons we're wrong about the world — and why things are better than you think by hans rosling, 4 black box thinking: the surprising truth about success by matthew syed, 5 the art of thinking clearly by rolf dobelli, 6 critical thinking: your guide to effective argument, successful analysis and independent study by tom chatfield.

I t’s been just over two years since you explained to us what critical thinking is all about. Could you update us on any books that have come out since we first spoke?

Calling Bullshit by Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West started life as a course at the University of Washington. It is a book—a handbook really—written with the conviction that bullshit, particularly the kind that is circulated on the Internet, is damaging democracy , and that misinformation and disinformation can have very serious consequences. Bullshitters don’t care about truth. But truth is important, and this book shows why. It is focussed on examples from science and medicine, but ranges more widely too. It’s a lively read. It covers not just verbal bullshit, bullshit with statistics (particularly in relation to big data) and about causation, but also has a chapter on bullshit data visualisations that distract from the content they are about, or present that data in misleading ways. Like all good books on critical thinking this one includes some discussion of the psychology of being taken in by misleading contributions to public debate.

In How To Make the World Add Up , Tim Harford gives us ten rules for thinking better about numbers, together with a Golden Rule (‘Be curious’). Anyone who has listened to his long-running radio series More or Less will know how brilliant Tim is at explaining number-based claims – as I read it, I hallucinated Tim’s reassuring, sceptical, reasonable, amused, and  patient voice. He draws on a rich and fascinating range of examples to teach us (gently) how not to be taken in by statistics and poorly supported claims. There is some overlap with Calling Bullshit , but they complement each other. Together they provide an excellent training in how not to be bamboozled by data-based claims.

[end of update. The original interview appears below]


We’re here to talk about critical thinking. Before we discuss your book recommendations, I wonder if you would first explain: What exactly is critical thinking, and when should we be using it?

There’s a whole cluster of things that go under the label ‘critical thinking’. There’s what you might call formal logic , the most extreme case of abstractions. For example take the syllogism: if all men are mortal, and Socrates is a man, you can deduce from that structure of arguments that Socrates is mortal. You could put anything in the slots of ‘men,’ ‘Socrates,’ ‘mortal’, and whatever you put in, the argument structure remains valid. If the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. That kind of logic, which can be represented using letters and signs rather than words, has its place. Formal logic is a quasi-mathematical (some would say mathematical) subject.

But that’s just one element of critical thinking. Critical thinking is broader, though it encompasses that. In recent years, it’s been very common to include discussion of cognitive biases—the psychological mistakes we make in reasoning and the tendencies we have to think in certain patterns which don’t give us reliably good results. That’s another aspect: focussing on the cognitive biases is a part of what’s sometimes called ‘informal logic’, the sorts of reasoning errors that people make, which can be described as fallacious. They’re not, strictly speaking, logical fallacies, always. Some of them are simply psychological tendencies that give us unreliable results.

The gambler’s fallacy is a famous one: somebody throwing a die that isn’t loaded has thrown it three times without getting a six, and then imagines that, by some kind of law of averages, the fourth time they’re more likely to get a six, because they haven’t yet got one yet. That’s just a bad kind of reasoning, because each time that you roll the dice, the odds are the same: there’s a one in six chance of throwing a six. There’s no cumulative effect and a dice doesn’t have a memory. But we have this tendency, or certainly gamblers often do, to think that somehow the world will even things out and give you a win if you’ve had a series of losses. That’s a kind of informal reasoning error that many of us make, and there are lots of examples like that.

I wrote a little book called Thinking from A to Z which was meant to name and explain a whole series of moves and mistakes in thinking. I included logic, some cognitive biases, some rhetorical moves, and also (for instance) the topic of pseudo-profundity, whereby people make seemingly deep statements that are in fact shallow. The classical example is to give a seeming paradox—to say, for example ‘knowledge is just a kind of ignorance,’ or ‘virtue is only achieved through vice.’ Actually, that’s just a rhetorical trick, and once you see it, you can generate any number of such ‘profundities’. I suppose that would fall under rhetoric, the art of persuasion: persuading people that you are a deeper thinker than you are. Good reasoning isn’t necessarily the best way to persuade somebody of something, and there are many devious tricks that people use within discussion to persuade people of a particular position. The critical thinker is someone who recognises the moves, can anatomise the arguments, and call them to attention.

So, in answer to your question: critical thinking is not just pure logic . It’s a cluster of things. But its aim is to be clear about what is being argued, what follows from the given evidence and arguments, and to detect any cognitive biases or rhetorical moves that may lead us astray.

Many of the terms you define and illustrate in Thinking from A to Z— things like ‘straw man’ arguments and ‘weasel words’—have been creeping into general usage. I see them thrown around on Twitter. Do you think that our increased familiarity with debate, thanks to platforms like Twitter, has improved people’s critical thinking or made it worse?

I think that improving your critical thinking can be quite difficult. But one of the ways of doing it is to have memorable labels, which can describe the kind of move that somebody’s making, or the kind of reasoning error, or the kind of persuasive technique they’re using.

For example, you can step back from a particular case and see that somebody’s using a ‘weak analogy’. Once you’re familiar with the notion of a weak analogy, it’s a term that you can use to draw attention to a comparison between two things which aren’t actually alike in the respects that somebody is implying they are. Then the next move of a critical thinker would be to point out the respects in which this analogy doesn’t hold, and so demonstrate how poor it is at supporting the conclusion provided. Or, to use the example of weasel words—once you know that concept, it’s easier to spot them and to speak about them.

Social media, particularly Twitter, is quite combative. People are often looking for critical angles on things that people have said, and you’re limited in words. I suspect that labels are probably in use there as a form of shorthand. As long as they’re used in a precise way, this can be a good thing. But remember that responding to someone’s argument with ‘that’s a fallacy’, without actually spelling out what sort of fallacy it is supposed to be, is a form of dismissive rhetoric itself.

There are also a huge number of resources online now which allow people to discover definitions of critical thinking terms. When I first wrote Thinking from A to Z , there weren’t the same number of resources available. I wrote it in ‘A to Z’ form, partly just as a fun device that allows for lots of cross references, but partly because I wanted to draw attention to the names of things. Naming the moves is important.

“People seem to get a kick out of the idea of sharing irrelevant features—it might be a birthday or it might be a hometown—with somebody famous. But so what?”

The process of writing the book improved my critical thinking quite a lot, because I had to think more precisely about what particular terms meant and find examples of them that were unambiguous. That was the hardest thing, to find clear-cut examples of the various moves, to illustrate them. I coined some of the names myself: there’s one in there which is called the ‘Van Gogh fallacy,’ which is the pattern of thought when people say: ‘Well, Van Gogh had red hair, was a bit crazy, was left-handed, was born on the 30th of March, and, what do you know, I share all those things’—which I do happen to do—‘and therefore I must be a great genius too.’

I love that. Well, another title that deals with psychological biases is the first critical thinking book that you want to discuss, Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow . Why did you choose this one?

This is an international bestseller by the Nobel Prize-winning behavioural economist—although he’s principally a psychologist—Daniel Kahneman. He developed research with Amos Tversky, who unfortunately died young. I think it would have been a co-written book otherwise. It’s a brilliant book that summarizes their psychological research on cognitive biases (or its patterns of thinking) which all of us are prone to, which aren’t reliable.

There is a huge amount of detail in the book. It summarizes a lifetime of research—two lifetimes, really. But Kahneman is very clear about the way he describes patterns of thought: as using either ‘System One’ or ‘System Two.’ System One is the fast, intuitive, emotional response to situations where we jump to a conclusion very quickly. You know: 2 + 2 is 4. You don’t think about it.

System Two is more analytical, conscious, slower, methodical, deliberative. A more logical process, which is much more energy consuming. We stop and think. How would you answer 27 × 17? You’d have to think really hard, and do a calculation using the System Two kind of thinking. The problem is that we rely on this System One—this almost instinctive response to situations—and often come out with bad answers as a result. That’s a framework within which a lot of his analysis is set.

I chose this book because it’s a good read, and it’s a book you can keep coming back to—but also because it’s written by a very important researcher in the area. So it’s got the authority of the person who did the actual psychological research. But it’s got some great descriptions of the phenomena he researches, I think. Anchoring, for instance. Do you know about anchoring?

I think so. Is that when you provide an initial example that shapes future responses? Perhaps you’d better explain it.

That’s more or less it. If you present somebody with an arbitrary number, psychologically, most people seem prone when you ask them a question to move in the direction of that number. For instance, there’s an experiment with judges. They were being asked off the cuff: What would be a good sentence for a particular crime, say shoplifting? Maybe they’d say it would be a six-month sentence for a persistent shoplifter.

But if you prime a judge by giving an anchoring number—if you ask, ‘Should the sentence for shoplifting be more than nine months?’ They’re more like to say on average that the sentence should be eight months than they would have been otherwise. And if you say, ‘Should it be punished by a sentence of longer than three months?’ they’re more likely to come down in the area of five , than they would otherwise.

So the way you phrase a question, by introducing these numbers, you give an anchoring effect. It sways people’s thinking towards that number. If you ask people if Gandhi was older than 114 years old when he died, people give a higher answer than if you just asked them: ‘How old was Gandhi when he died?’

I’ve heard this discussed in the context of charity donations. Asking if people will donate, say, £20 a month returns a higher average pledge than asking for £1 a month.

People use this anchoring technique often with selling wine on a list too. If there’s a higher-priced wine for £75, then somehow people are more drawn to one that costs £40 than they would otherwise have been. If  that was the most expensive one on the menu, they wouldn’t have been drawn to the £40 bottle, but just having seen the higher price, they seem to be drawn to a higher number. This phenomenon occurs in many areas.

And there are so many things that Kahneman covers. There’s the sunk cost fallacy, this tendency that we have when we give our energy, or money, or time to a project—we’re very reluctant to stop, even when it’s irrational to carry on. You see this a lot in descriptions of withdrawal from war situations. We say: ‘We’ve given all those people’s lives, all that money, surely we’re not going to stop this campaign now.’ But it might be the rational thing to do. All that money being thrown there, doesn’t mean that throwing more in that direction will get a good result. It seems that we have a fear of future regret that outweighs everything else. This dominates our thinking.

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What Kahneman emphasizes is that System One thinking produces overconfidence based on what’s often an erroneous assessment of a situation. All of us are subject to these cognitive biases, and that they’re extremely difficult to remove. Kahneman’s a deeply pessimistic thinker in some respects; he recognizes that even after years of studying these phenomena he can’t eliminate them from his own thinking. I interviewed him for a podcast once , and said to him: ‘Surely, if you teach people critical thinking, they can get better at eliminating some of these biases.’ He was not optimistic about that. I’m much more optimistic than him. I don’t know whether he had empirical evidence to back that up, about whether studying critical thinking can increase your thinking abilities. But I was surprised how pessimistic he was.


Unlike some of the other authors that we’re going to discuss . . .

Staying on Kahneman for a moment, you mentioned that he’d won a Nobel Prize, not for his research in psychology per se but for his influence on the field of economics . His and Tversky’s ground-breaking work on the irrationality of human behaviour and thinking forms the spine of a new field.

Let’s look at Hans Rosling’s book next, this is Factfulness . What does it tell us about critical thinking?

Rosling was a Swedish statistician and physician, who, amongst other things, gave some very popular TED talks . His book Factfulness , which was published posthumously—his son and daughter-in-law completed the book—is very optimistic, so completely different in tone from Kahneman’s. But he focuses in a similar way on the ways that people make mistakes.

We make mistakes, classically, in being overly pessimistic about things that are changing in the world. In one of Rosling’s examples he asks what percentage of the world population is living on less than $2 a day. People almost always overestimate that number, and also the direction in which things are moving, and the speed in which they’re moving. Actually, in 1966, half of the world’s population was in extreme poverty by that measure, but by 2017 it was only 9%, so there’s been a dramatic reduction in global poverty. But most people don’t realise this because they don’t focus on the facts, and are possibly influenced by what they may have known about the situation in the 1960s.

If people are asked what percentage of children are vaccinated against common diseases, they almost always underestimate it. The correct answer is a very high proportion, something like 80%. Ask people what the life expectancy for every child born today is, the global average, and again they get it wrong. It’s over 70 now, another surprisingly high figure. What Rosling’s done as a statistician is he’s looked carefully at the way the world is.

“Pessimists tend not to notice changes for the better”

People assume that the present is like the past, so when they’ve learnt something about the state of world poverty or they’ve learnt about health, they often neglect to take a second reading and see the direction in which things are moving, and the speed with which things are changing. That’s the message of this book.

It’s an interesting book; it’s very challenging. It may be over-optimistic. But it does have this startling effect on the readers of challenging widely held assumptions, much as Steven Pinker ‘s The Better Angels of Our Nature has done. It’s a plea to look at the empirical data, and not just assume that you know how things are now. But pessimists tend not to notice changes for the better. In many ways, though clearly not in relation to global warming and climate catastrophe, the statistics are actually very good for humanity.

That’s reassuring.

So this is critical thinking of a numerical, statistical kind. It’s a bit different from the more verbally-based critical thinking that I’ve been involved with. I’m really interested to have my my assumptions challenged, and Factfulness is a very readable book. It’s lively and thought-provoking.

Coming back to what you said about formal logic earlier, statistics is another dense subject which needs specialist training. But it’s one that has a lot in common with critical thinking and a lot of people find very difficult—by which I mean, it’s often counter-intuitive.

One of the big problems for an ordinary reader looking at this kind of book is that we are not equipped to judge the reliability of his sources, and so the reliability of the conclusions that he draws. I think we have to take it on trust and authority and hope that, given the division of intellectual labour, there are other statisticians looking at his work and seeing whether he was actually justified in drawing the conclusions that he drew. He made these sorts of public pronouncements for a long time and responded to critics.

But you’re right that there is a problem here. I believe that most people can equip themselves with tools for critical thinking that work in everyday life. They can learn something about cognitive biases; they can learn about reasoning and rhetoric, and I believe that we can put ourselves as members of a democracy in a position where we think critically about the evidence and arguments that are being presented to us, politically and in the press. That should be open to all intelligent people, I think. It is not a particularly onerous task to equip yourself with a basic tools of thinking clearly.

Absolutely. Next you wanted to talk about Five Books alumnus Matthew Syed ‘s Black Box Thinking .

Yes, quite a different book. Matthew Syed is famous as a former international table tennis player, but—most people probably don’t know this—he has a first-class degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) from Oxford as well.

This book is really interesting. It’s an invitation to think differently about failure. The title, Black Box Thinking, comes from the black boxes which are standardly included in every passenger aircraft, so that if an accident occurs there’s a recording of the flight data and a recording of the audio communications as the plane goes down. When there’s a crash, rescuers always aim to recover these two black boxes. The data is then analysed, the causes of the crash, dissected and scrutinized, and the information shared across the aeronautic industry and beyond.

Obviously, everybody wants to avoid aviation disasters because they’re so costly in terms of loss of human life. They undermine trust in the whole industry. There’s almost always some kind of technical or human error that can be identified, and everybody can learn from particular crashes. This is a model of an industry where, when there is a failure, it’s treated as a very significant learning experience, with the result that airline travel has become a very safe form of transport.

This contrasts with some other areas of human endeavour, such as, sadly, much of healthcare, where the information about failures often isn’t widely shared. This can be for a number of reasons: there may be a fear of litigation—so if a surgeon does something unorthodox, or makes a mistake, and somebody as a result doesn’t survive an operation, the details of exactly what happened on the operating table will not be widely shared, typically, because there is this great fear of legal comeback.

The hierarchical aspects of the medical profession may have a part to play here, too. People higher up in the profession are able to keep a closed book, and not share their mistakes with others, because it might be damaging to their careers for people to know about their errors. There has been, historically anyway, a tendency for medical negligence and medical error, to be kept very quiet, kept hidden, hard to investigate.

“You can never fully confirm an empirical hypothesis, but you can refute one by finding a single piece of evidence against it”

What Matthew Syed is arguing is that we need to take a different attitude to failure and see it as the aviation industry does. He’s particularly interested in this being done within the healthcare field, but more broadly too. It’s an idea that’s come partly from his reading of the philosopher Karl Popper, who described how science progresses not by proving theories true, but by trying to disprove them. You can never fully confirm an empirical hypothesis, but you can refute one by finding a single piece of evidence against it. So, in a sense, the failure of the hypothesis is the way by which science progresses: conjecture followed by refutation, not hypothesis followed by confirmation.

As Syed argues, we progress in all kinds of areas is by making mistakes. He was a superb table-tennis player, and he knows that every mistake that he made was a learning experience, at least potentially, a chance to improve. I think you’d find the same attitude among musicians, or in areas where practitioners are very attentive to the mistakes that they make, and how those failures can teach them in a way that allows them to make a leap forward. The book has a whole range of examples, many from industry, about how different ways of thinking about failure can improve the process and the output of particular practices.

When we think of bringing up kids to succeed, and put emphasis on avoiding failure, we may not be helping them develop. Syed’s argument is that we should make failure a more positive experience, rather than treat it as something that’s terrifying, and always to be shied away from. If you’re trying to achieve success, and you think, ‘I have to achieve that by accumulating other successes,’ perhaps that’s the wrong mindset to achieve success at the higher levels. Perhaps you need to think, ‘Okay, I’m going to make some mistakes, how can I learn from this, how can I share these mistakes, and how can other people learn from them too?’

That’s interesting. In fact, just yesterday I was discussing a book by Atul Gawande, the surgeon and New Yorker writer, called The Checklist Manifesto . In that, Gawande also argues that we should draw from the success of aviation, in that case, the checklists that they run through before take-off and so on, and apply it to other fields like medicine. A system like this is aiming to get rid of human error, and I suppose that’s what critical thinking tries to do, too: rid us of the gremlins in machine.

Well, it’s also acknowledging that when you make an error, it can have disastrous consequence. But you don’t eliminate errors just by pretending they didn’t occur. With the Chernobyl disaster , for instance, there was an initial unwillingness to accept the evidence in front of people’s eyes that a disaster had occurred, combined with a fear of being seen to have messed up. There’s that tendency to think that everything’s going well, a kind of cognitive bias towards optimism and a fear of being responsible for error, but it’s also this unwillingness to see that in certain areas, admission of failure and sharing of the knowledge that mistakes have occurred is the best way to minimize failure in the future.

Very Beckettian . “Fail again. Fail better.”

Absolutely. Well, shall we move onto to Rolf Dobelli’s 2013 book, The Art of Thinking Clearly ?

Yes. This is quite a light book in comparison with the others. It’s really a summary of 99 moves in thinking, some of them psychological, some of them logical, some of them social. What I like about it is that he uses lots of examples. Each of the 99 entries is pretty short, and it’s the kind of book you can dip into. I would think it would be very indigestible to read it from cover to cover, but it’s a book to keep going back to.

I included it because it suggests you can you improve your critical thinking by having labels for things, recognising the moves, but also by having examples which are memorable, through which you can learn. This is an unpretentious book. Dobelli doesn’t claim to be an original thinker himself; he’s a summariser of other people’s thoughts. What he’s done is brought lots of different things together in one place.

Just to give a flavour of the book: he’s got a chapter on the paradox of choice that’s three pages long called ‘Less is More,’ and it’s the very simple idea that if you present somebody with too many choices, rather than freeing them and improving their life and making them happier, it wastes a lot of their time, even destroys the quality of their life.

“If you present somebody with too many choices, it wastes a lot of their time”

I saw an example of this the other day in the supermarket. I bumped into a friend who was standing in front of about 20 different types of coffee. The type that he usually buys wasn’t available, and he was just frozen in this inability to make a decision between all the other brands that were in front of him. If there’d only been one or two, he’d have just gone for one of those quickly.

Dobelli here is summarising the work of psychologist Barry Schwartz who concluded that generally, a broader selection leads people to make poorer decisions for themselves. We think going into the world that what we need is more choice, because that’ll allow us to do the thing we want to do, acquire just the right consumable, or whatever. But perhaps just raising that possibility, the increased number of choices will lead us to make poorer choices than if we had fewer to choose between.

Now, that’s the descriptive bit, but at the end of this short summary, he asks ‘So what can you do about this practically?’ His answer is that you should think carefully about what you want before you look at what’s on offer. Write down the things you think you want and stick to them. Don’t let yourself be swayed by further choices. And don’t get caught up in a kind of irrational perfectionism. This is not profound advice, but it’s stimulating. And that’s typical of the book.

You can flip through these entries and you can take them or leave them. It’s a kind of self-help manual.

Oh, I love that. A critical thinking self-help book .

It really is in that self-help genre, and it’s nicely done. He gets in and out in a couple of pages for each of these. I wouldn’t expect this to be on a philosophy reading list or anything like that, but it’s been an international bestseller. It’s a clever book, and I think it’s definitely worth dipping into and coming back to. The author is not claiming that it is the greatest or most original book in the world; rather, it’s just a book that’s going to help you think clearly. That’s the point.

Absolutely. Let’s move to the final title, Tom Chatfield’s Critical Thinking: Your Guide to Effective Argument, Successful Analysis and Independent Study . We had Tom on Five Books many moons ago to discuss books about computer games . This is rather different. What makes it so good?

Well, this is a different kind of book. I was trying to think about somebody reading this interview who wants to improve their thinking. Of the books I’ve discussed, the ones that are most obviously aimed at that are Black Box Thinking , the Dobelli book, and Tom Chatfield’s Critical Thinking . The others are more descriptive or academic. But this book is quite a contrast with the Dobelli’s. The Art of Thinking Clearly is a very short and punchy book, while Tom’s is longer, and more of a textbook. It includes exercises, with summaries in the margins, it’s printed in textbook format. But that shouldn’t put a general reader off, because I think it’s the kind of thing you can work through yourself and dip into.

It’s clearly written and accessible, but it is designed to be used on courses as well. Chatfield teaches a point, then asks you to test yourself to see whether you’ve learnt the moves that he’s described. It’s very wide-ranging: it includes material on cognitive biases as well as more logical moves and arguments. His aim is not simply to help you think better, and to structure arguments better, but also to write better. It’s the kind of book that you might expect a good university to present to the whole first year intake, across a whole array of courses. But I’m including it here more as a recommendation for the autodidact. If you want to learn to think better: here is a course in the form of a book. You can work through this on your own.

It’s a contrast with the other books as well, so that’s part of my reason for putting it in there, so there’s a range of books on this list.

Definitely. I think Five Books readers, almost by definition, tend towards autodidacticism, so this is a perfect book recommendation. And, finally, to close: do you think that critical thinking is something that more people should make an effort to learn? I suppose the lack of it might help to explain the rise of post-truth politics.

It’s actually quite difficult to teach critical thinking in isolation. In the Open University’s philosophy department, when I worked there writing and designing course materials, we decided in the end to teach critical thinking as it arose in teaching other content: by stepping back from time to time to look at the critical thinking moves being made by philosophers, and the critical thinking moves a good student might make in response to them. Pedagogically, that often works much better than attempting to teach critical thinking as a separate subject in isolation.

This approach can work in scientific areas too. A friend of mine has run a successful university course for zoologists on critical thinking, looking at correlation and cause, particular types of rhetoric that are used in write ups and experiments, and so on, but all the time driven by real examples from zoology. If you’ve got some subject matter, and you’ve got examples of people reasoning, and you can step back from it, I think this approach can work very well.

But in answer to your question, I think that having some basic critical thinking skills is a prerequisite of being a good citizen in a democracy . If you are too easily swayed by rhetoric, weak at analysing arguments and the ways that people use evidence, and prone to all kinds of biases that you are unaware of, how can you engage politically? So yes, all of us can improve our critical thinking skills, and I do believe that that is an aspect of living the examined life that Socrates was so keen we all should do.

December 4, 2020

Five Books aims to keep its book recommendations and interviews up to date. If you are the interviewee and would like to update your choice of books (or even just what you say about them) please email us at [email protected]

Nigel Warburton

Nigel Warburton is a freelance philosopher, writer and host of the podcast Philosophy Bites . Featuring short interviews with the world's best philosophers on bite-size topics, the podcast has been downloaded more than 40 million times. He is also our philosophy editor here at Five Books , where he has been interviewing other philosophers about the best books on a range of philosophy topics since 2013 (you can read all the interviews he's done here: not all are about philosophy). In addition, he's recommended books for us on the best introductions to philosophy , the best critical thinking books, as well as some of the key texts to read in the Western canon . His annual recommendations of the best philosophy books of the year are among our most popular interviews on Five Books . As an author, he is best known for his introductory philosophy books, listed below:

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Best Books on Critical Thinking

Dive into the realm of logic and reason with this collection – the most recommended books on critical thinking, curated based on frequent recommendations from leading book blogs and publications..

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5 of the Best Books on Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

A man reading books on critical thinking and problem solving

Critical Thinking: Hypothesis-Driven Thinking

Anyone can come up with a good idea. The real challenge is putting that idea into action. In this online course, explore how to form compelling, testable hypotheses and bring ideas to life in your own organization.

Critical Thinking: Structured Reasoning

Even a few simple techniques for logical decision making and persuasion can vastly improve your skills as a leader. Explore how critical thinking can help you evaluate complex business problems, reduce bias, and devise effective solutions.

Critical Thinking: Problem-Solving

Problem-solving is a central business skill, and yet it's the one many people struggle with most. This course will show you how to apply critical thinking techniques to common business examples, avoid misunderstandings, and get at the root of any problem.

Critical thinking is an essential skill to master whether you aspire to compete in the fast-paced startup space or just improve your daily workflow. But no one is born a master problem solver. Like any other skill, you’ll need to study and practice.

When it comes to self-study, all the Wikipedia articles and Quora questions in the world can’t replace a good book. We asked GLOBIS faculty members to weigh in on the books that helped them step-up their critical thinking game.

Decipher the Data

The signal and the noise: why so many predictions fail—but some don’t , by nate silver.

Do you ever feel so lost in data that you forget what you’re looking for in the first place? Do you find it difficult to parse the important details from large sets of data? Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise will help you sift through the numbers and find what’s most useful for your purposes.

In the GLOBIS Critical Thinking course , we teach that the most important step of the problem-solving process is identifying the issue. After that, you’ll need to break down the issue into a set of points (like criteria). Finally, you search for data to support or change these points.

The Signal and the Noise applies this process to the realm of predictions in the age of Big Data.

Ultimately, Silver cautions against overconfidence in predictions, ranging from the stock market to sports and politics, and the importance of assessing the level of certainty in your findings. He also points to the often-hidden assumptions in data—another important lesson you’ll find in GLOBIS’s Critical Thinking class. What makes this book exciting is the way it explores current issues in a quantitative way, challenging what we thought to be true and the prediction process behind it. Aside from that, there are many other tips and tricks to improve your problem-solving and data analysis skills.

While I can’t claim to make many predictions, if you’re looking to hone your critical thinking skills, I can say with confidence that you’ll enjoy this book!

—Brian Cathcart, Critical Thinking Faculty at GLOBIS University

Think about the Way You Think

Thinking, fast and slow , by daniel kahneman.

What if you found out you had a disease with a 10% mortality rate? Would it be worse than a disease with a 90% survival rate? In fact, your chances of making it through are precisely the same, but somehow, we tend to respond more positively to the latter scenario.

This is an example of the framing effect , one of many biases and heuristics introduced in Daniel Kahneman’s bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow . Kahneman, a Nobel laureate, presents decades of fascinating insights into our not-so-rational minds. He elegantly summarizes our thinking into two processes: System 1 and System 2.

System 1 is effortless and instantaneous, handling thoughts like 2+2=4. It is our autopilot that guides us through most of the day, allowing us to simultaneously manage complex tasks like driving a car while chatting with the passenger about the morning news.

System 2, on the other hand, is a process that we have to manually switch on to tackle something more mentally challenging. System 1 can handle 2+2 instantly, but System 2 needs to kick in for us to work out 27×18.

Kahneman’s mind-blowing research and simple tests show us just how laughably irrational System 1 can be. It is a powerful reminder of why it’s worth questioning our own judgment.

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Fooled by Randomness , by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Fooled by Randomness offers a narrower, but still powerful illustration of how the flaws of our thinking habits skew our worldview. In a precursor to his bestseller The Black Swan , Nassim Taleb focuses on the role of randomness in our lives, and how underestimating this randomness can have potentially serious consequences.

In business, it’s generally unpopular to ascribe results to luck. Countless books and articles seek to explain the genius behind the success of certain companies and businesspeople. And when results go sour, people point to poor decisions that should have been avoided.

Compelling as it may be, this storytelling misleads us into believing that we control much more than we do. Taleb argues that luck, in fact, plays a large role in any success, and smart decisions can lead to poor outcomes (hard as it may be to convince your boss or shareholders).

Taleb’s tone throughout the book is often cynical and scathing, and he is clearly not a fan of MBAs. But his message is still important for any businessperson who wants to keep their feet on the ground. As I often tell MBA students in my Critical Thinking course, even the most thorough analysis and planning cannot guarantee success. However, critical thinking can help us reduce the role of luck in our decision-making. Ultimately, that will increase our odds of success.

—Jake Pratley, Critical Thinking Faculty at GLOBIS University

Learn from Those Who Came Before You

Problem solving 101 , by ken watanabe.

The Japanese bestseller Problem Solving 101 is quite easy to read, since it’s targeted towards an elementary school level. Don’t let that deter you, though—the content itself covers practical elements in business, from diagnosing the situation to identifying root causes and decision-making.

During these uncertain times, it’s getting harder and harder to make confident decisions. We tend to rely on our past experiences and knowledge rather than asses the issues at hand. But if you face unprecedented events, you’ll require the right skills to identify problems and develop the right solutions to solve them. This book will help you acquire these skills.

Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production , by Taiichi Ohno

Taiichi Ohno built the foundation of the famous Toyota Production System (TPS). This book dives into the background, history, and philosophy of the concepts utilized in this system, including kaizen , jido-ka , and kanban.

For example, although Toyota changed its zero-inventory policy specifically to deal with shortages of semiconductors, TPS can help improve productivity with limited resources in any industry.

This book also shows us the importance of Toyota’s philosophy—which is what really drives the popularity of TPS worldwide. Many organizations have introduced TPS into their everyday operations, but most fail to utilize the robust philosophy of the system to its full potential.

Ohno’s book may be a bit old, but its indisputable influence on the business world means it’s still more than worth reading now.

—Takashi Tsutsumi, Critical Thinking Faculty at GLOBIS University

Turn the Page on Your Critical Thinking Journey

Understanding critical thinking and problem-solving means a lot more than being the best brainstormer at the pitch meeting. It also means you can identify obstacles, overcome them, and consider the best decisions for yourself and those around you.

Ultimately, if you’re learning how to be a critical thinker, you’re also learning how to become an independent and decisive decision maker. Like a beautiful logic tree , you’ll need to nourish your mind in order to grow. A good read is a great way to get started.

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Top 14 Books On Critical Thinking

Here, we’ll explore the best books on critical thinking, becoming better at problem-solving and deciding the difference between fact and fiction.

In a world where data is manipulated constantly to support different agendas, where many people get their news from social media , and where thought processes are hindered by an onslaught of strong opinions backed up by supposed facts, it can be tough to develop the skills of a rock-solid critical thinker.

Thankfully, several bestsellers can help give you the skills you need to confront your cognitive biases in a way that helps you discern between fact and pseudoscience. From helping you make better decisions at home and work to helping you understand social issues from around the world, critical thinking skills are essential when it comes to taking in the barrage of media we’re faced with each day and using the information you gather to make informed decisions in the real world.

Here, we’ll look at the top books on how to think critically and explore what the experts have to say about your cognitive critical thinking toolkit.

Top Books on Critical Thinking

1. thinking, fast and slow by daniel kahneman, 2. bad science by ben goldacre, 3. asking the right questions: a guide to critical thinking by m. neil browne and stuart m. keeley, 4. calling bullshit: the art of skepticism in a data-driven world by carl t. bergstrom, 5. the demon-haunted world: science as a candle in the dark by carl sagan, 6. mistakes were made (but not by me): why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts by carol tavris and elliot aronson, 7. the art of thinking clearly by rolf dobelli, 8. factfulness: ten reasons we’re wrong about the world – and why things are better than you think by hans rosling, 9. a field guide to lies: critical thinking in the information age by daniel j. levitin, 10. predictably irrational: the hidden forces that shape our decisions by dan ariely, 11. a rulebook for arguments by anthony weston, 12. the 5 elements of effective thinking by edward b. burger, 13. the skeptics’ guide to the universe: how to know what’s really real in a world increasingly full of fake by steven novella, 14. being logical: a guide to good thinking by dennis q. mcinerny.

“A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact.”

This data-driven book explores how the human psyche processes information and uses insights to make valuable suggestions on how to change the way you think to become a better critical thinker. Kahneman shares his research and that of others in the field to show where the human brain shines–and where it falters. Readers can use this information to find where they struggle to make connections in their own lives and how to better interpret the information around them to create a semblance of truth.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kahneman, Daniel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 514 Pages - 10/25/2011 (Publication Date) - Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Publisher)

Ben Goldacre

“And if, by the end [of this book], you reckon you might still disagree with me, then I offer you this: you’ll still be wrong, but you’ll be wrong with a lot more panache and flair than you could possibly manage right now.”

In this book, Goldacre works to help readers determine the difference between real and junk science by activating their critical thinking skills. He infuses humor and fun into his writing, helping readers stay engaged while exploring the fallacies of their current decision-making skills. Readers will find that this research-based book helps them question the ideas they previously accepted as fact while being inspired to search for the absolute truth.

Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks

  • Audible Audiobook
  • Ben Goldacre (Author) - Jonathan Cowley (Narrator)
  • 01/13/2012 (Publication Date) - Tantor Audio (Publisher)
“While identifying the conclusion and reasons gives you the basic visible structure, you still need to examine the precise meaning of these parts before you can react fairly to the ideas being presented…Identifying the precise meaning of key words or phrases is an essential step in deciding whether to agree with someone’s opinion. If you fail to check for the meaning of crucial terms and phrases, you may react to an opinion the author never intended.”

This book, which is often required reading for graduate-level courses, provides a step-by-step approach on how to attack serious issues with an open, questioning mind. Readers learn how to get to the root of an author’s opinion and dissect statements in a way that helps them get to the root of the issue in question. This how-to guide is rife with examples that take the reader through the different issues they’ll face as they learn to become a top-notch critical thinker.

Asking the Right Questions (11th Edition)

  • Browne, M. Neil (Author)
  • 192 Pages - 01/06/2014 (Publication Date) - Pearson (Publisher)
“To tell an honest story, it is not enough for numbers to be correct. They need to be placed in an appropriate context so that a reader or listener can properly interpret them.”

Professor Carl T. Bergstrom wants readers to know that today’s world is filled with misinformation, and media consumers need critical thinking skills to decide what’s real–and what’s not. Today’s lies are different from the past, and it can be tough to tell what’s a fact when statistics and science are manipulated to support a plan. This book provides readers with the tools necessary to decide what to believe.

Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World

  • Carl T. Bergstrom (Author) - Patrick Zeller (Narrator)
  • 08/04/2020 (Publication Date) - Random House Audio (Publisher)
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

In this book, renowned scientist Carl Sagan shares how pseudoscience harms society and discusses how science and spirituality can work hand-in-hand to help readers discover the truth they’re looking for. According to Sagan, increasingly technology-reliant lives lead people to believe anything they hear from a seemingly credible source, and readers must develop the critical thinking tools necessary to distinguish fact from fiction. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author eloquently shares how readers can use critical thinking for the betterment of both their own lives and society as a whole.

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

  • Carl Sagan (Author) - Cary Elwes, Seth MacFarlane (Narrators)
  • 05/30/2017 (Publication Date) - Brilliance Audio (Publisher)
“Most people, when directly confronted by evidence that they are wrong, do not change their point of view or course of action but justify it even more tenaciously. Even irrefutable evidence is rarely enough to pierce the mental armor of self-justification.”

It can feel nearly impossible to admit when we do something wrong, especially when trying to do something right. Social psychologists Tavris and Aronson explore precisely what makes it so difficult for people to admit when they’ve made a mistake and how we can use this information to be more honest with ourselves and the people in our lives who matter most. This book teaches readers how to focus on the search for truth rather than how to focus on proving themselves right.

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Third Edition: Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

  • Carol Tavris (Author) - Carol Tavris, Elliot Aronson (Narrators)
  • 05/05/2020 (Publication Date) - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Publisher)

Rolf Dobelli

“Whether we like it or not, we are puppets of our emotions. We make complex decisions by consulting our feelings, not our thoughts. Against our best intentions, we substitute the question, “What do I think about this?” with “How do I feel about this?” So, smile! Your future depends on it.”

Most people have found themselves acting on their emotions without control, continuing with negative behavioral and relational patterns even though they know it’s not the best idea. In this book, Dobelli tells readers how to find the truth within themselves, using critical thinking to change how we make decisions. For readers who have struggled with irrational thinking and actions, this book provides a clear-cut, research-based framework that explains how to look past the pull of emotion to make the best decisions for yourself and the people around you.

The Art of Thinking Clearly

  • Rolf Dobelli (Author) - Eric Conger (Narrator)
  • 05/14/2013 (Publication Date) - HarperAudio (Publisher)
“I want people, when they realize they have been wrong about the world, to feel not embarrassment, but that childlike sense of wonder, inspiration, and curiosity that I remember from the circus, and that I still get every time I discover I have been wrong: “Wow, how is that even possible?” “

Understanding that we don’t have it all figured out can be the first step toward seeing the world in a new light. In this guide to critical thinking, Rosling invites readers to examine what they’ve taken as fact and to reassess whether the way they see the world is true or based on their own biases. Rosling shares the ten instincts that often determine perspective and how readers can work to stop seeing the world in black and white and instead see the gray that truly exists in most areas.

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

  • Rosling, Hans (Author)
  • 341 Pages - 04/03/2018 (Publication Date) - Flatiron Books (Publisher)
“Be wary, though, of the way news media use the word “significant,” because to statisticians it doesn’t mean “noteworthy.” In statistics, the word “significant” means that the results passed mathematical tests such as t-tests, chi-square tests, regression, and principal components analysis (there are hundreds). Statistical significance tests quantify how easily pure chance can explain the results. With a very large number of observations, even small differences that are trivial in magnitude can be beyond what our models of change and randomness can explain. These tests don’t know what’s noteworthy and what’s not—that’s a human judgment.”

Every day, we’re bombarded with media and information that makes it hard to tell what’s real and what information has been twisted to support a political cause or other plans that need our support to thrive. Levitin shares how statistics and other math/science findings are manipulated to support faulty arguments in this book. Levitin teaches readers to take the information they discover in books, news, podcasts, and other media sources and think critically about the facts presented.

A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age

  • Audio CD – Audiobook
  • Levitin, Daniel J. (Author)
  • 09/06/2016 (Publication Date) - Penguin Audio (Publisher)
“We usually think of ourselves as sitting in the driver’s seat, with ultimate control over the decisions we made and the direction our life takes; but, alas, this perception has more to do with our desires-with how we want to view ourselves-than with reality.”

This book delves into an exciting facet of human nature: humans can understand what’s rational behavior and what isn’t, but often struggle to make rational choices. Throughout this bestseller, Ariely explains how humans act in times of financial crises and how dire situations cause humans to disregard social norms and instead act in what they believe to be their immediate best interests. The author helps readers understand how understanding irrational and rational behavior can help us better understand our lives and global issues.

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

  • Ariely, Dan (Author)
  • 379 Pages - 06/06/2009 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins e-books (Publisher)
“Typically we learn to “argue” by assertion. That is, we tend to start with our conclusions—our desires or opinions—without a whole lot to back them up. And it works, sometimes, at least when we’re very young. What could be better? Real argument, by contrast, takes time and practice. Marshaling our reasons, proportioning our conclusions to the actual evidence, considering objections, and all the rest—these are acquired skills. We have to grow up a little.”

Staying rational and based on facts can be challenging when arguing a point with others, especially if you’re passionate about your point. In this book, Weston works to help readers understand how to present arguments in a way that fuels rational debate and dialogue, using logic and facts to make points rather than relying on opinion-based passion. Weston offers practical tips on arguing effectively and delves into the research that shows how to argue in a way that helps people see your point of view–instead of your stubbornness to hear the other side.

A Rulebook for Arguments

  • Weston, Anthony (Author)
  • 109 Pages - 02/01/2018 (Publication Date) - Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (Publisher)
“In everything you do, refine your skills and knowledge about fundamental concepts and simple cases. Once is never enough. As you revisit fundamentals, you will find new insights. It may appear that returning to basics is a step backward and requires additional time and effort; however, by building on firm foundations you will soon see your true abilities soar higher and faster.”

People who are influential thinkers aren’t necessarily better at thinking than other people. Instead, they use their brains to dissect ideas effectively. In this book, Burger teaches readers how to use critical thinking skills to solve problems and develop a positive mindset, harnessing their power to see long-standing issues in a new light. Burger offers research-based information and real-life anecdotes to help readers understand how they can utilize the concepts in the book to bring new ways of seeing the world to their personal and professional lives.

The Five Elements of Effective Thinking

  • Edward B. Burger (Author) - Brian Troxell (Narrator)
  • 09/19/2012 (Publication Date) - Audible Studios (Publisher)

Steven Novella

“An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge.”

Suppose you’re ready to develop the tools necessary to separate fact from fiction. In that case, Novella offers the tools necessary to analyze your current way of thinking and create new strategies that allow you to see the world for what it is–not what others want you to believe it is. Novella talks about how there are no true holders of truth and that it’s up to each individual to do the research necessary to decide what’s real and what’s pseudoscience. Whether you want to debunk conspiracy theories or simply want to ingest media more critically, Novella’s practical skills will help you develop the critical thinking tools necessary to seek the truth.

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake

  • Steven Novella (Author) - Steven Novella (Narrator)
  • 10/02/2018 (Publication Date) - Hachette Audio (Publisher)
“Bad ideas do not just happen. We are responsible for them. They result from carelessness on our part, when we cease to pay sufficient attention to the relational quality of ideas, or, worse, are a product of the willful rejection of objective facts.”

When we feel emotional or distressed about an issue, it can be hard to separate logical thinking from illogical thinking. This can also be hard when others are making an impassionated argument. In this book, McInerny works to help readers develop critical thinking tactics that allow them to use discernment when considering both their own ideas and the ideas of others. The book is written in an elegant yet accessible manner that allows readers to process deep ideas without an overload of scientific or philosophical jargon.

Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking

  • D.Q. McInerny (Author) - Al Kessel (Narrator)
  • 04/16/2019 (Publication Date) - Tantor Audio (Publisher)

Interested in reading more? Check out our round-up of the  11 best dystopian novels !

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amanda has an M.S.Ed degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She has experience writing magazine articles, newspaper articles, SEO-friendly web copy, and blog posts.

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What are the Top 20 Best Critical Thinking Books?

Top 20 Best Critical Thinking Books

There are many great books on critical thinking, including but not limited to Thinknetic’s “The Habit of Critical Thinking,” Rebecca Stobaugh’s “50 Strategies to Boost Cognitive Engagement,” and Jonathan Haber’s “Critical Thinking: Part of the MIT Press Essential Knowledge.” 

With all the books on critical thinking available, how do you best determine which you should read? The rest of this article will break down the top 20 books on critical thinking followed by the Amazon link and a short description of each.

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is the ability to objectively analyze and evaluate an issue in order to form judgment, which is vital in today’s world. While critical thinking begins in early childhood and is taught at the primary and secondary education levels, it is always best to keep your critical thinking skills sharp.

Why is Critical Thinking Important?

Communication is key to healthy relationships and communities. Critical thinking enables individuals to express their thoughts, ideas, and beliefs in constructive ways. In relationships, critical thinking is vital to avoid frustration and miscommunication.

Critical thinking fosters creativity and out of the box thinking, which can be applied to any area of life. People are usually introduced to critical thinking in early childhood when, as infants and toddlers, we explore our world and its limits. Our first problem solving skills come in our earliest years.

However, critical thinking doesn’t always come so naturally. Fortunately, there are countless resources to improving our critical thinking skills – including the following books mentioned in this article.

The Top 20 Books on Critical Thinking

The following books can all be found on, and a link is provided for each.

1.) Critical Thinking ; Logic Mastery (Series by Thinknetic)

The first entry on our list is actually a series of 5 books by . Each of the five books contain essential critical thinking skills and teach the reader how to change their way of thinking and apply critical thinking to every aspect of their lives. The five books in the series are as follows:

  • Critical Thinking in a Nutshell
  • The Critical Thinking Effect
  • Conquer Logical Fallacies
  • The Habit of Critical Thinking
  • The Socratic Way of Questioning

Most of these books are available on Kindle Unlimited. You can purchase them individually or as a set.

Amazon Link:

2.) Critical Thinking and the Analytical Mind by Marcus P. Dawson

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link:

This book teaches the reader the art of making decisions and solving problems while thinking clearly and avoiding cognitive biases and fallacies in systems.

3.) Critical Thinking: The 12 Rules for Intelligent Thinking by Jason Dyer

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link:

The description of this book includes skills to improve your problem solving and decision-making skills. It also contains valuable information on how to overcome shyness and social anxiety – conditions that hinder many people in both personal and professional capacities – and increase self-confidence.

4.) 50 Strategies to Boost Cognitive Engagement by Rebecca Stobaugh

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link:

This valuable book for teachers of any grade level – from elementary to college – helps build a culture of thinking that transforms any classroom into an environment of active learning and student engagement.

5.) Critical Thinking: The MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series by Jonathan Haber

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link:

In this essential book, Jonathan Haber explains critical thinking, how the term first emerged in society, its definition, and how to teach and assess critical thinking skills.

6.) The Critical Thinking Toolkit by Galen A. Foresman, Peter S. Fosl, and Jamie C. Watson

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link:

This comprehensive book takes a wide view with critical thinking perspectives in psychology, sociology, philosophy, and political science. It applies critical thinking to subjects such as race and gender, symbols in rhetoric, and cognitive biases.

7.) Critical Thinking: A Beginner’s Guide to Developing Reasoning Skills by Morris Cullen

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link:

A great resource for those still unfamiliar with the concept of critical thinking, this book will help the reader conquer feeble thought patterns and utilize reason.

8.) Critical Thinking Beginner’s Guide: Learn How Reasoning by Logic Improves Effective Problem Solving by Carl Patterson

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link: 

This book contains the tools to think smarter and level up intuition to reach your potential and grow your mindfulness.

9.) Thinking Guide for Busy People by Harvey Smart

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link: 

This book helps the reader avoid the most common but subtle decision-making mistakes and make better decisions.

10.) Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

This New York Times Bestseller won the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Amazon Link:

11.) Overthinking is NOT the Solution by Robert J. Charles

This book lists 25 ways to reduce stress, eliminate negative thinking, develop mental clarity and master your emotions.

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link:

12.) Communication Skills Training by Ian Tuhovsky

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

This practical guide outlines how to improve social intelligence, presentation, persuasion, and public speaking. An Amazon bestseller.

Amazon Link:

13.) Self-Discipline: How to Build Mental Toughness and Focus to Achieve your Goals by John Winters

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link:

A great book for those who don’t feel in control of their lives and want to change their path.

14.) Critical Thinking Mastery by Carl Patterson

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link:

A beginner’s guide to increase intuition, improve communication, and solve problems.

15.) Master Your Emotions by Thibaut Meurisse

This book is described as a practical guide to overcoming negativity and better managing your emotions.

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link:

16.) Rethinking How We Think by Charles M. Johnston, MD

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link:

This book details the integrative meta-perspective and the cognitive growing up on which our future depends.

17.) Critical Thinking by Brooke Noel Moore and Richard Parker

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link:

This textbook helps build the ability to discern between subjective opinions and judgments and objective facts in the era of “fake news.”

18.) Critical Thinking in Psychology, edited by Robert J. Sternberg

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link :

This textbook is a guide for psychology students to think critically about key topics such as experimental research, statistical analysis, and ethical judgments.

19.) Thinking in Systems and Mental Models by Marcus P. Dawson

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link:

A guide for decision making and problem solving, this book introduces chaos theory and the science of thinking for social change.

20.) Critical Thinking by Tom Chatfield

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Amazon Link:

This valuable resource serves as a guide for effective argument, successful analysis, and independent study.

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10 Best Books on Critical Thinking & Analytical Skills

In today’s world, where information is abundant and often conflicting, it’s essential to possess strong critical thinking and analytical skills. Critical thinking helps us make informed decisions, evaluate arguments and claims, and solve problems. Analytical skills, on the other hand, allow us to break down complex issues and data into more manageable parts, making it easier to understand and act upon them.

Why Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills are Essential

Critical thinking and analytical skills are essential because they enable us to navigate the ever-changing landscape of information, knowledge, and ideas. In a world where we are bombarded with information from multiple sources, these skills help us assess the reliability and validity of that information and make informed decisions.

Moreover, critical thinking and analytical skills are crucial for academic success. Students who develop these skills can analyze and evaluate complex texts, arguments, and ideas, and formulate their own opinions based on evidence. These skills also help students in their research projects, enabling them to differentiate between credible and unreliable sources, and critically evaluate the evidence presented in those sources.

The Importance of Critical Thinking in Daily Life

Every aspect of our life requires critical thinking, be it personal relationships, buying a product online, or evaluating political campaigns. Critical thinking helps us identify and evaluate assumptions, biases, and arguments and make decisions based on evidence.

For instance, critical thinking can help us evaluate the claims made in advertisements and make informed decisions about the products we buy. It can also help us identify and challenge stereotypes and biases in our personal relationships, leading to more respectful and inclusive interactions.

How Analytical Skills Enhance Problem-Solving Abilities

Problem-solving is an essential skill in the workplace and personal life. Analytical skills help us break down complex problems into smaller parts, identify the root causes, and develop effective solutions. Analytical thinkers can predict possible outcomes and assess the risks involved in decision-making.

Furthermore, analytical skills can help us in our everyday life. For example, when faced with a household problem such as a leaky faucet, analytical skills can help us diagnose the problem, identify the necessary tools and materials, and develop a plan to fix the issue.

In conclusion, critical thinking and analytical skills are essential for success in both personal and professional life. These skills enable us to make informed decisions, evaluate information, and solve complex problems. Therefore, it is important to cultivate these skills through education and practice.

The Top 10 Books on Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is an essential skill that helps us navigate the complexities of the world around us. It enables us to analyze information, evaluate arguments, and make informed decisions. If you’re looking to improve your critical thinking skills, here are ten books that can help you on your journey.

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

This book is a fascinating exploration of how our brain processes information and makes decisions. Drawing on insights from neuroscience, psychology, and economics, Kahneman shows how we can overcome cognitive biases and think more critically. He also offers practical tips for improving our decision-making skills.

You can find this book here .

“The Art of Thinking Clearly” by Rolf Dobelli

In this book, Dobelli provides readers with 99 clear-thinking errors, biases, and fallacies that they should avoid. He uses real-life examples to make his points more relatable and offers practical advice for improving our critical thinking skills.

“The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking” by Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird

This book draws on insights from neuroscience, education, and psychology to reveal the five essential elements of critical thinking. Burger and Starbird provide a framework for thinking about challenging problems and coming up with innovative solutions. They also offer practical tips for improving our problem-solving skills.

“Critical Thinking: A Concise Guide” by Tracy Bowell and Gary Kemp

If you’re new to critical thinking, this book is an excellent place to start. Bowell and Kemp provide readers with an introduction to critical thinking, including a breakdown of the key concepts, tools, and techniques. They also cover ethics, reasoning, and argument evaluation.

“The Power of Critical Thinking” by Lewis Vaughn

In this book, Vaughn explores how critical thinking can improve our daily lives. He provides tips and tools for analyzing and evaluating arguments, and includes real-life examples and exercises to help readers develop their critical thinking skills.

“Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills” by Michael Kallet

Kallet offers readers a step-by-step approach to critical thinking, including how to identify biases, assumptions, and problems. He also provides tools and techniques that can help in making better decisions. This book is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their problem-solving skills.

“The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark” by Carl Sagan

Sagan’s book is a powerful exploration of the importance of scientific thinking and skepticism in a world where misinformation and superstition often dominate. He provides readers with a foundation in scientific thinking that can help them evaluate claims and evidence more effectively.

“Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing” by Jamie Holmes

In this book, Holmes explores how embracing uncertainty and ambiguity can improve critical thinking skills. He includes real-life examples and explores how different approaches to problem-solving can lead to better outcomes. This book is a great read for anyone looking to expand their thinking beyond the confines of certainty.

“The Logic of Scientific Discovery” by Karl Popper

This book is a classic in the philosophy of science and explores how scientific theories are developed and tested. Popper provides readers with a framework for evaluating claims and evidence and can help them understand the scientific process more fully. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the scientific method.

“The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” by Thomas S. Kuhn

Kuhn’s book explores how scientific paradigms shift over time and how new ideas and technologies can challenge and replace old ones. He provides readers with a deeper understanding of how scientific ideas are developed and can help them evaluate the validity and reliability of scientific claims and evidence. This book is a fascinating read for anyone interested in the history of science.

Tips for Developing Your Critical Thinking Skills

Developing critical thinking skills is essential for navigating the complexities of modern life with confidence and clarity. In addition to reading books on the subject, there are several ways to develop your critical thinking skills. Here are a few tips:

Practice Active Listening

Active listening is a crucial component of critical thinking. When you’re communicating with others, actively listen to what they’re saying, and ask questions to clarify their points. This will help you understand their perspective and challenge your own assumptions. By doing so, you can broaden your perspective and gain new insights that you may not have considered before.

For example, if you’re having a conversation with someone who has a different political view than you, instead of immediately dismissing their opinion, ask them why they believe what they do. By doing so, you can gain a better understanding of their perspective and challenge your own assumptions.

Ask Thought-Provoking Questions

Asking thought-provoking questions is another way to develop your critical thinking skills. Instead of accepting surface-level explanations, dig deeper by asking questions that challenge assumptions and break down complex problems. Questions like “why?” and “how?” can help you identify underlying issues and gain a deeper understanding of a problem.

For example, if you’re trying to solve a problem at work, instead of accepting the first solution that comes to mind, ask yourself why that solution is the best option. By doing so, you can identify potential flaws in your thinking and develop a more effective solution.

Reflect on Your Own Thinking Process

Self-reflection is a critical component of developing your critical thinking skills. Take time to reflect on your own thinking process and identify any biases or assumptions that may be influencing your decisions. By doing so, you can become more aware of your own thought patterns and develop more effective strategies for critical thinking.

For example, if you’re trying to make a decision about a job offer, take time to reflect on your own biases and assumptions about the job, the company, and the industry. By doing so, you can make a more informed decision that is based on facts rather than assumptions.

Reading books on critical thinking and analytical skills can also help us develop a more effective approach to problem-solving and decision-making. By honing these skills, we can navigate the complexities of modern life with confidence and clarity.

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Critical thinking definition

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking, as described by Oxford Languages, is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.

Active and skillful approach, evaluation, assessment, synthesis, and/or evaluation of information obtained from, or made by, observation, knowledge, reflection, acumen or conversation, as a guide to belief and action, requires the critical thinking process, which is why it's often used in education and academics.

Some even may view it as a backbone of modern thought.

However, it's a skill, and skills must be trained and encouraged to be used at its full potential.

People turn up to various approaches in improving their critical thinking, like:

  • Developing technical and problem-solving skills
  • Engaging in more active listening
  • Actively questioning their assumptions and beliefs
  • Seeking out more diversity of thought
  • Opening up their curiosity in an intellectual way etc.

Is critical thinking useful in writing?

Critical thinking can help in planning your paper and making it more concise, but it's not obvious at first. We carefully pinpointed some the questions you should ask yourself when boosting critical thinking in writing:

  • What information should be included?
  • Which information resources should the author look to?
  • What degree of technical knowledge should the report assume its audience has?
  • What is the most effective way to show information?
  • How should the report be organized?
  • How should it be designed?
  • What tone and level of language difficulty should the document have?

Usage of critical thinking comes down not only to the outline of your paper, it also begs the question: How can we use critical thinking solving problems in our writing's topic?

Let's say, you have a Powerpoint on how critical thinking can reduce poverty in the United States. You'll primarily have to define critical thinking for the viewers, as well as use a lot of critical thinking questions and synonyms to get them to be familiar with your methods and start the thinking process behind it.

Are there any services that can help me use more critical thinking?

We understand that it's difficult to learn how to use critical thinking more effectively in just one article, but our service is here to help.

We are a team specializing in writing essays and other assignments for college students and all other types of customers who need a helping hand in its making. We cover a great range of topics, offer perfect quality work, always deliver on time and aim to leave our customers completely satisfied with what they ordered.

The ordering process is fully online, and it goes as follows:

  • Select the topic and the deadline of your essay.
  • Provide us with any details, requirements, statements that should be emphasized or particular parts of the essay writing process you struggle with.
  • Leave the email address, where your completed order will be sent to.
  • Select your prefered payment type, sit back and relax!

With lots of experience on the market, professionally degreed essay writers , online 24/7 customer support and incredibly low prices, you won't find a service offering a better deal than ours.

Warren Berger

A Crash Course in Critical Thinking

What you need to know—and read—about one of the essential skills needed today..

Posted April 8, 2024 | Reviewed by Michelle Quirk

  • In research for "A More Beautiful Question," I did a deep dive into the current crisis in critical thinking.
  • Many people may think of themselves as critical thinkers, but they actually are not.
  • Here is a series of questions you can ask yourself to try to ensure that you are thinking critically.

Conspiracy theories. Inability to distinguish facts from falsehoods. Widespread confusion about who and what to believe.

These are some of the hallmarks of the current crisis in critical thinking—which just might be the issue of our times. Because if people aren’t willing or able to think critically as they choose potential leaders, they’re apt to choose bad ones. And if they can’t judge whether the information they’re receiving is sound, they may follow faulty advice while ignoring recommendations that are science-based and solid (and perhaps life-saving).

Moreover, as a society, if we can’t think critically about the many serious challenges we face, it becomes more difficult to agree on what those challenges are—much less solve them.

On a personal level, critical thinking can enable you to make better everyday decisions. It can help you make sense of an increasingly complex and confusing world.

In the new expanded edition of my book A More Beautiful Question ( AMBQ ), I took a deep dive into critical thinking. Here are a few key things I learned.

First off, before you can get better at critical thinking, you should understand what it is. It’s not just about being a skeptic. When thinking critically, we are thoughtfully reasoning, evaluating, and making decisions based on evidence and logic. And—perhaps most important—while doing this, a critical thinker always strives to be open-minded and fair-minded . That’s not easy: It demands that you constantly question your assumptions and biases and that you always remain open to considering opposing views.

In today’s polarized environment, many people think of themselves as critical thinkers simply because they ask skeptical questions—often directed at, say, certain government policies or ideas espoused by those on the “other side” of the political divide. The problem is, they may not be asking these questions with an open mind or a willingness to fairly consider opposing views.

When people do this, they’re engaging in “weak-sense critical thinking”—a term popularized by the late Richard Paul, a co-founder of The Foundation for Critical Thinking . “Weak-sense critical thinking” means applying the tools and practices of critical thinking—questioning, investigating, evaluating—but with the sole purpose of confirming one’s own bias or serving an agenda.

In AMBQ , I lay out a series of questions you can ask yourself to try to ensure that you’re thinking critically. Here are some of the questions to consider:

  • Why do I believe what I believe?
  • Are my views based on evidence?
  • Have I fairly and thoughtfully considered differing viewpoints?
  • Am I truly open to changing my mind?

Of course, becoming a better critical thinker is not as simple as just asking yourself a few questions. Critical thinking is a habit of mind that must be developed and strengthened over time. In effect, you must train yourself to think in a manner that is more effortful, aware, grounded, and balanced.

For those interested in giving themselves a crash course in critical thinking—something I did myself, as I was working on my book—I thought it might be helpful to share a list of some of the books that have shaped my own thinking on this subject. As a self-interested author, I naturally would suggest that you start with the new 10th-anniversary edition of A More Beautiful Question , but beyond that, here are the top eight critical-thinking books I’d recommend.

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark , by Carl Sagan

This book simply must top the list, because the late scientist and author Carl Sagan continues to be such a bright shining light in the critical thinking universe. Chapter 12 includes the details on Sagan’s famous “baloney detection kit,” a collection of lessons and tips on how to deal with bogus arguments and logical fallacies.

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

Clear Thinking: Turning Ordinary Moments Into Extraordinary Results , by Shane Parrish

The creator of the Farnham Street website and host of the “Knowledge Project” podcast explains how to contend with biases and unconscious reactions so you can make better everyday decisions. It contains insights from many of the brilliant thinkers Shane has studied.

Good Thinking: Why Flawed Logic Puts Us All at Risk and How Critical Thinking Can Save the World , by David Robert Grimes

A brilliant, comprehensive 2021 book on critical thinking that, to my mind, hasn’t received nearly enough attention . The scientist Grimes dissects bad thinking, shows why it persists, and offers the tools to defeat it.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know , by Adam Grant

Intellectual humility—being willing to admit that you might be wrong—is what this book is primarily about. But Adam, the renowned Wharton psychology professor and bestselling author, takes the reader on a mind-opening journey with colorful stories and characters.

Think Like a Detective: A Kid's Guide to Critical Thinking , by David Pakman

The popular YouTuber and podcast host Pakman—normally known for talking politics —has written a terrific primer on critical thinking for children. The illustrated book presents critical thinking as a “superpower” that enables kids to unlock mysteries and dig for truth. (I also recommend Pakman’s second kids’ book called Think Like a Scientist .)

Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters , by Steven Pinker

The Harvard psychology professor Pinker tackles conspiracy theories head-on but also explores concepts involving risk/reward, probability and randomness, and correlation/causation. And if that strikes you as daunting, be assured that Pinker makes it lively and accessible.

How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion and Persuasion , by David McRaney

David is a science writer who hosts the popular podcast “You Are Not So Smart” (and his ideas are featured in A More Beautiful Question ). His well-written book looks at ways you can actually get through to people who see the world very differently than you (hint: bludgeoning them with facts definitely won’t work).

A Healthy Democracy's Best Hope: Building the Critical Thinking Habit , by M Neil Browne and Chelsea Kulhanek

Neil Browne, author of the seminal Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking, has been a pioneer in presenting critical thinking as a question-based approach to making sense of the world around us. His newest book, co-authored with Chelsea Kulhanek, breaks down critical thinking into “11 explosive questions”—including the “priors question” (which challenges us to question assumptions), the “evidence question” (focusing on how to evaluate and weigh evidence), and the “humility question” (which reminds us that a critical thinker must be humble enough to consider the possibility of being wrong).

Warren Berger

Warren Berger is a longtime journalist and author of A More Beautiful Question .

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10 best books on critical thinking and problem solving.

Now that you know the importance of solving problems and thinking critically, it’s time to delve into the best books on critical thinking and problem solving. These books will give you a deeper understanding of both concepts and how to use them in all aspects of your life.

Table of Contents

What Makes a Critical Thinking Book the “Best”?

The term “best” is so broad that it could mean different things in various situations. The best book on a certain subject is one that is highly relevant to the topic, expansive and comprehensive in its details, and popular with its readers.

All the books on this list share the above-mentioned qualities. They have four to five-star ratings and positive comments on review sites and forums like Quora and Reddit. Additionally, they offer vast discussions and instructions about how to implement the recommended practices.

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  • 12 Common Barriers To Critical Thinking (And How To Overcome Them)
  • How To Promote Critical Thinking In The Workplace
  • What Is The Role Of Communication In Critical Thinking?  

10 of the Best Books on Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

These are 10 of the best books to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. You can start your journey with any one of them and become a master at the evaluative and problem-resolution processes.

Two of the title names have been shortened. You can click on the links to see the full titles of all referenced books.

1. “Critical Thinking Skills For Dummies” by John Cohen

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

The “dummies” books are popular with people worldwide because of their humorous way of breaking down complex topics and putting them into laymen’s terms.  This particular book  has a 4.5-star rating from more than 500 readers.

The book pledges to teach readers how to:

  • Assess their thinking skills
  • Separate facts from opinions
  • Understand a writer’s position
  • Read between the lines
  • Use the information they collect to create solid arguments

The writer takes a solid philosophical stance in his teachings and is said to mention his unbelief in spiritual matters and deity in the text. Thus, his work might be an excellent option for readers with a solid philosophical or psychology-based stance.

2. “Master Your Mind: Critical-Thinking Exercises and Activities to Boost Brain Power and Think Smarter” by Marcel Denesi PhD

best books on critical thinking and problem solving 1

This book  is suitable for people who already have a background in psychology or philosophy but need a firmer grasp on deductive reasoning, critical thinking, problem-solving, and the like. It uses puzzles, case studies, and real-world scenarios to train readers to think more critically before drawing conclusions.

The reading material has an overall rating of 4.4 out of five stars from 47 readers. Most reviewers said that the book gave them a brain boost and helped them become better thinkers. You can consider it one of the best books on critical thinking and problem solving for intermediate thinkers who want to advance their skills.

3. “Critical Thinking: This book includes: Beginner’s guide and Critical Thinking Skills” by Carl Patterson

best books on critical thinking and problem solving 2

This set  includes two books that can help readers become better critical thinkers and problem solvers. One book teaches the readers to draw conclusions using logical reasoning. The second book helps people who read the first book to use deep analysis and think of effective solutions to various challenges and problems.

The book only has a one-star rating thus far, but it’s a perfect five-star rating. It might be worth taking a chance on it, as it could be one of the best critical thinking books of all time.

4. “Critical Thinking: The Basics” by Stuart Hanscomb

best books on critical thinking and problem solving 3

The  above-mentioned book  is perhaps one of the best critical thinking books for beginners. It teaches readers about psychology, emotions, and persuasion and how those elements affect the choices they make. It also goes into argument evaluation once it covers the basics of critical thinking.

Users rated this book 4.7 out of five stars. Positive reviewers claimed that it gave them tools they could use in their personal and work lives.

5. “Critical Thinking & Dark Psychology Secrets 101” by Pamela Hughes

best books on critical thinking and problem solving 4

The book , as mentioned above, is a unique piece that takes readers onto the dark roads of psychological manipulation and social influence so that they can understand how to make more informed decisions. Sometimes, it’s necessary to learn how things work from the other side to gain an advantage over your thought processes. Therefore, the book teaches concepts such as:

  • Myth and truth recognition
  • How to read other people
  • The best methods to avoid being manipulated
  • Tips for creative problem-solving

This book does not have many comments, but it has a five-star rating. It may be an excellent read for someone who doesn’t mind taking the risk.

6. “Bulletproof Problem Solving: The One Skill That Changes Everything” by Charles Conn

best books on critical thinking and problem solving 5

This book  is a straightforward guide to performing complex strategic problem-solving in the 21st century. It provides real-world business-related issues to help readers learn to tackle them effectively, and it’s one of the best sources for successfully navigating the modern workplace.

7. “The Art of Problem Solving 101:Improve Your Critical Thinking and Decision Making Skills and Learn How to Solve Problems” by Michael Sloan

best books on critical thinking and problem solving 6

Michael Sloan’s book  teaches people that they are natural problem solvers who need to learn how to fine-tune their skills and bring the best out of them themselves. It not only uses a comprehensive method to teach people to problem-solve, but it instructs individuals who have difficulty facing adversity. It’s a perfect match for people who want to learn how to survive, endure hardships, and come out on top.

Readers rated the book 4.3 out of five stars. The most common positive comments about the book were that it is concise, informational, and extremely helpful. The author has many other books on the shelf with related topics.

8. “Think Out of The Box (Power-Up Your Brain)” by Som Bathla

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This  hardcover book  is a heavy hitter when it comes to problem-solving and decision-making. Its readers rated it 4.3 stars out of five stars and deemed it an excellent book worth the time.

By the time a new reader finishes this book, he or she is expected to know how to think faster, smarter, and more creatively. Furthermore, the reader will develop the skills to boost creativity and activate left-brain thinking. It’s a solid option for beginners as well as intermediate thinkers.

9. “Critical Thinking and Analytical Mind: The Art of Making Decisions and Solving Problems. Think Clearly, Avoid Cognitive Biases and Fallacies in Systems. Improve Listening Skills. Be a Logical Thinker” by Marcus P. Dawson

best books on critical thinking and problem solving 7

This  develop m ental guide  explores analytical thinking and critical thinking from a self-improvement angle. It seeks to teach its readers how to:

  • Improve critical thinking skills
  • Identify and resolve hindrances and self-sabotaging obstacles
  • Get involved in daily essential exercises for thinking
  • Apply crucial thinking to employment decisions
  • Help instill critical thinking principles in children

The book has 300 pages full of readworthy knowledge for you to explore. It’s a great pick if you have the time to dedicate yourself to your studies. Satisfied readers rated it four stars out of five, and the positive reviewers adored it because of its informative approach and usefulness.

10. “Think Smarter” by Micheal Kallet

best books on critical thinking and problem solving 8

The author describes  this book  as a comprehensive guide to training your brain to do much more for you. It has 25 useful tools readers can use to increase their critical thinking skills and activities.

Furthermore, the book offers instructions on using those tools in real-world situations. Anyone can take the information they read and use it better for their choices and actions in different aspects of life.

Users rated this book 4.6 out of five stars, which is way above average. Its most grateful readers described it as a “game-changer” and a true source of knowledge.

How To Choose the Best Books on Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

All readers have different preferences and styles. First, you have to think about which style of reading suits you. You’ll want to grab a short book if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy reading very much. You can also choose to purchase a book that also has an audiobook version.

Audiobooks are great for people who have limited time or limited interest in sitting in the same place to read. You can listen to these audiobooks on your way to work or whenever you lie down in bed and absorb the knowledge that way.

Then there are writing styles to think about. Do you like flowery, long-winded writers or concise authors? Do you prefer to look at pictures while you read something? You must think about all those factors before you choose a book.

The books on this list are excellent selections, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. Sift through the description to see if they meet your price range and preferences, but don’t be afraid to continue searching if you don’t see a book that piques your interest. You can learn all about problem solving and critical thinking from the best authors in the industry if you dedicate a little time to finding a book that suits you.

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Jenny Palmer

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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5 Creative and Critical Thinking Examples In Workplace  

The Great Books Foundation

Critical Thinking with Literature: It’s Problem-Solving

  • By Sharon Crowley
  • June 29, 2015

Critical thinking tops the list of skills students need for success in the complex 21st century. When it comes to science and math, most people equate critical thinking with problem solving. In those content areas, students apply their understanding of basic concepts to a task for which the solution is not known in advance. By grappling with a challenging problem, students extend their learning. Critical thinking about literature is not so different. With a written work, the problem or task is often an open-ended, text-based question. Students use their comprehension of the text to develop interpretations—or solutions to the problem.

If you want your students to engage in higher-order thinking as they read and discuss literature, include these key elements of problem-solving activities:

Genuine, intriguing questions. To think critically, there must be something to think critically about. With literature, it’s a text that leaves your students puzzling and asking questions about a character, event, symbol, or structure. Predictable or moralistic texts with flat characters don’t generate intriguing questions. When texts are sufficiently complex, the questions that spring from them present engaging problems.

Divergent answers. Just as genuine problems in math or science allow for multiple strategies and solutions, a discussion-worthy question about a piece of literature should invite multiple interpretations or answers. In Shared Inquiry discussions, considering divergent ideas is what drives students to find deeper meaning in a text.

Ample evidence. As in math or science, for an answer or solution to be sound, there must be relevant reasons behind it. Likewise, ideas about the meaning of literary texts must be supported with the evidence from the work itself. Evidence and reasoning make ideas valid and debatable. Without evidence, ideas are simply guesses.

Opportunities to evaluate evidence. Some pieces of scientific or mathematical data are more compelling than others. The same is true when exploring a question about a rich work of literature. Collaborative discussion is a time for participants to share the evidence that supports their ideas, to weigh that evidence, and to strengthen ideas by debating each other’s assertions or suggesting additional evidence.

Collaboration. A good discussion question, or problem, is one that students want to work on together. Just as students benefit from combining their skills and perspectives when solving a math or science problem, discussing an interpretive question as a group yields more thoughtful and considered answers than if students had worked alone. Follow-up questions that ask students to clarify, elaborate, and explain their ideas help deepen and enliven the conversation.

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109 of the Best Books On Entreprenurship (Part 1)

F or entrepreneurs, adaptability and knowledge are key currencies. The practice of reading stands out as an indispensable asset for visionary leaders . Beyond the bustling schedules and relentless pursuits of success, entrepreneurs find themselves drawn to the profound impact that books can have on their professional journey. This article explores the compelling reasons why reading is not just a leisurely pursuit but a strategic imperative for those navigating the unpredictable landscapes of business ownership. Additionally, we’ll look at the best books on entrepreneurship.

From acquiring in-depth industry insights and fostering continuous learning to gaining inspiration, honing critical thinking skills, and fostering personal development, the act of reading emerges as a cornerstone for entrepreneurial excellence. In this 2-part article series, we are here to answer, not just why you should read, but what you should read.

1. Knowledge Acquisition:

Reading exposes entrepreneurs to a wealth of information and knowledge. Books cover a variety of topics, including business strategies, industry trends, leadership skills, and personal development. Entrepreneurs can gain insights from the experiences and expertise of successful individuals in their fields.

2. Continuous Learning:

The business landscape is dynamic and ever-evolving. Reading allows entrepreneurs to stay updated on the latest trends, technologies, and market changes. Continuous learning is crucial for adapting to new challenges and opportunities, enabling entrepreneurs to make informed decisions.

3. Inspiration and Motivation:

Biographies, success stories, and motivational literature can inspire and motivate entrepreneurs. They truly are some of the best books on entrepreneurship. Learning about the journeys and triumphs of others can instill a sense of determination, resilience, and creativity, helping entrepreneurs overcome obstacles and stay focused on their goals.

4. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving:

Reading encourages critical thinking and the development of problem-solving skills. Entrepreneurs encounter various challenges in their ventures, and exposure to diverse perspectives through literature can enhance their ability to analyze situations, make strategic decisions, and find innovative solutions.

Having laid the groundwork for understanding why reading is an indispensable ally for entrepreneurs our expedition now ventures further into the realms of the best books on entrepreneurship. These carefully curated recommendations span genres and authors, each offering a unique perspective and a wealth of insights for entrepreneurs seeking guidance and inspiration. From timeless classics to contemporary bestsellers, these books serve as beacons, illuminating the paths to strategic thinking, leadership excellence, and business mastery. Join us as we navigate this literary landscape, unveiling the titles that stand as pillars in the library of entrepreneurial wisdom—books that promise not just to inform but to transform the very fabric of how entrepreneurs approach their ventures and shape the future of their endeavors.

1. Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki

In “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” Robert Kiyosaki contrasts the contrasting financial philosophies of his biological father and the father of his best friend. This personal finance classic challenges traditional views on money, advocating for financial education, investment, and entrepreneurial thinking to achieve true wealth.

2. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

Stephen R. Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” outlines a holistic approach to personal and professional effectiveness. Covey presents seven transformative habits that guide individuals toward greater productivity, effectiveness, and personal growth.

3. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” explores the factors contributing to exceptional success. Examining the lives of high achievers, Gladwell reveals the role of cultural background, opportunities, and external factors in shaping extraordinary outcomes, challenging the notion of success as solely an individual achievement.

4. Purple Cow – Seth Godin

In “Purple Cow,” Seth Godin urges businesses to stand out in a crowded market by being remarkable. The book emphasizes the importance of innovation and creativity in creating products or services that are so exceptional they capture attention and distinguish themselves from the ordinary.

5. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” is a timeless guide to achieving success and wealth. Hill distills the principles of success he gleaned from studying successful individuals, emphasizing the power of a positive mental attitude, goal-setting, and persistence.

6. The Art of War – Sun Tzu

“The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, an ancient Chinese military treatise, has transcended its origins to become a classic in strategy and leadership. While originally focused on warfare, its principles have been widely applied to business and life, offering insights into strategic thinking and effective decision-making.

7. The 48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene

Robert Greene’s “The 48 Laws of Power” delves into the dynamics of power and influence throughout history. Each law offers a strategy for navigating complex social and professional situations, making it a thought-provoking guide for those seeking to understand and wield power.

8. Start with Why – Simon Sinek

In “Start with Why,” Simon Sinek emphasizes the importance of understanding and communicating the “why” – the core purpose and beliefs – of individuals and organizations. By inspiring a sense of purpose, Sinek argues that leaders can create lasting impact and build strong connections.

9. The 4-Hour Workweek – Timothy Ferriss

Timothy Ferriss challenges traditional notions of work in “The 4-Hour Workweek.” Offering a blueprint for designing a life of freedom and efficiency, Ferriss shares strategies for automating businesses, outsourcing tasks, and maximizing productivity to achieve more with less effort.

10. The Millionaire Next Door – Thomas J. Stanley

“The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley dispels common myths about wealth, revealing that many millionaires live modestly and prioritize financial discipline. The book offers insights into the habits and characteristics of everyday millionaires, providing a guide for building lasting wealth.

11. The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason

Set in ancient Babylon, George S. Clason’s “The Richest Man in Babylon” imparts timeless financial wisdom through parables. The book offers practical advice on wealth-building and money management, providing insights that remain relevant for achieving financial success in the modern world.

12. The Lean Startup – Eric Ries

“The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries introduces a revolutionary approach to entrepreneurship. Ries advocates for the lean startup methodology, emphasizing continuous innovation, customer feedback, and agile development. The book has become a guide for startups and established companies, promoting efficiency and adaptability in business .

13. The Magic of Thinking Big – David J. Schwartz

In “The Magic of Thinking Big,” David J. Schwartz explores the transformative power of mindset. Encouraging readers to think beyond limits, the book emphasizes the importance of self-belief, optimism, and proactive thinking in achieving personal and professional success.

14. The E-Myth Revisited – Michael E. Gerber

Michael E. Gerber’s “The E-Myth Revisited” dispels common myths about entrepreneurship and business ownership. Gerber introduces the concept of the “entrepreneurial myth” and provides insights into building scalable and successful businesses by systematizing operations and focusing on key roles.

15. Influence – Robert B. Cialdini

Robert B. Cialdini’s “Influence” delves into the psychology of persuasion. Exploring the principles that guide human decision-making, Cialdini identifies key factors that influence people and offers practical insights for individuals looking to enhance their persuasive abilities in various contexts.

16. How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie’s classic “How to Win Friends & Influence People” remains a cornerstone in interpersonal communication. Offering timeless advice on building relationships and influencing others positively, Carnegie’s principles continue to guide individuals in personal and professional interactions.

17. Think Like a Monk – Jay Shetty

Jay Shetty’s “Think Like a Monk” draws on his experiences as a former monk to provide insights into mindfulness, purpose, and fulfillment. The book encourages readers to adopt monk-like principles to navigate life’s challenges and cultivate a mindset that leads to inner peace and success.

18. Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg

“Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg addresses gender dynamics in the workplace and encourages women to pursue leadership roles. Sandberg combines personal anecdotes with research to explore the challenges women face and offers practical advice for navigating professional environments and achieving success.

19. Crush It – Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Crush It” is a motivational guide for turning passion into a successful career. Vaynerchuk emphasizes the power of personal branding , social media, and hustle in creating opportunities and achieving professional goals in the digital age.

20. The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau

In “The $100 Startup,” Chris Guillebeau explores the world of entrepreneurship with a focus on low-cost, high-impact businesses. Drawing on real-life examples, the book provides practical advice for individuals looking to start small businesses and achieve financial independence with minimal investment.

21. Rework – Jason Fried

“Rework” by Jason Fried challenges conventional business wisdom and encourages a pragmatic and unconventional approach to work. Fried advocates for simplicity, efficiency, and a focus on what truly matters, providing insights for entrepreneurs and business leaders seeking a different perspective on success.

22. The Power of Broke – Daymond John

Daymond John’s “ The Power of Broke ” celebrates the advantages of starting a business with limited resources. Drawing on his own experiences, John showcases how a mindset of resilience, creativity, and resourcefulness can turn challenges into opportunities for entrepreneurial success.

23. The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” explores the phenomena that lead to the sudden and widespread adoption of ideas or trends. Gladwell identifies key factors that contribute to a tipping point and examines how small changes can lead to significant impacts in various social and cultural contexts.

24. Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quadrant – Robert T. Kiyosaki

Building on the principles from “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” Robert T. Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quadrant” introduces the concept of the Cashflow Quadrant, categorizing individuals into Employee (E), Self-Employed (S), Business Owner (B), and Investor (I). The book explores different approaches to generating income and building wealth in each quadrant.

25. Zero to One – Peter Thiel – Blake Masters

In “Zero to One,” Peter Thiel, along with Blake Masters, challenges conventional thinking on innovation. Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, explores the secrets of creating and capturing unique value in a world of competition, advocating for the importance of innovation and monopoly in building successful ventures.

26. The ONE Thing – Gary Keller – Jay Papasan

Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s “The ONE Thing” advocates for a simplified and focused approach to productivity. The book emphasizes the power of identifying and prioritizing the most impactful tasks, helping individuals and businesses achieve greater results by concentrating on what truly matters.

27. The Startup Owner’s Manual – Steve Blank – Bob Dorf

The Startup Owner’s Manual” by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf serves as a comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs navigating the complexities of launching and growing a startup. The book provides practical insights, tools, and strategies based on the principles of lean startup methodology.

28. The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham – Jason Zweig – Warren Buffett

Benjamin Graham’s “The Intelligent Investor,” updated by Jason Zweig, is a classic in value investing. Known as the “investor’s bible,” the book provides timeless principles for making sound investment decisions, with commentary from Warren Buffett, who considers Graham a significant influence on his own investment philosophy.

29. The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz

In “The Hard Thing About Hard Things,” Ben Horowitz, a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist, shares candid insights into the challenges of leading and managing a business, particularly during tough times. The book provides practical advice on navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship.

30. Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson’s biography of “Steve Jobs” provides a comprehensive and intimate look into the life of the co-founder of Apple. Drawing on extensive interviews with Jobs and those close to him, Isaacson captures the innovative spirit and complex personality of this tech icon.

31. Built to Last – Jim Collins – Jerry I. Porras

“Built to Last” by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras explores the characteristics of enduring and successful companies. Drawing on research, the book identifies key principles and practices that contribute to the long-term success and sustainability of exceptional organizations.

32. Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow” delves into the dual systems of thought that govern human decision-making. Kahneman explores the interplay between intuitive, fast thinking and deliberate, slow thinking, offering profound insights into human behavior and cognitive biases.

33. Shoe Dog – Phil Knight

In “ Shoe Dog ,” Nike co-founder Phil Knight recounts the journey of building one of the world’s most iconic brands. The memoir provides a compelling narrative of entrepreneurship, detailing the challenges, triumphs, and lessons learned in the evolution of Nike.

34. Linchpin – Seth Godin

Seth Godin’s “Linchpin” challenges individuals to become indispensable in their workplaces and lives. The book encourages readers to embrace their unique qualities, be artists in their work, and create extraordinary value by becoming linchpins in their respective fields.

35. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind – Joseph Murphy

“The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy explores the potential of the subconscious mind in shaping one’s reality. Murphy delves into the power of positive thinking, visualization, and affirmations, providing tools for personal development and achieving life goals.

36. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson

Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” challenges conventional self-help advice by advocating for a more realistic and nuanced approach to life. The book encourages readers to focus on what truly matters and embrace life’s challenges to find genuine fulfillment.

37. Tools of Titans – Timothy Ferriss

In “Tools of Titans,” Timothy Ferriss distills insights from his popular podcast, “The Tim Ferriss Show.” The book features interviews with successful individuals from various fields, sharing their strategies, habits, and tools for achieving excellence in their personal and professional lives.

38. Too Big to Fail – Andrew Ross Sorkin

Andrew Ross Sorkin’s “Too Big to Fail” provides a gripping account of the 2008 financial crisis and the events leading to the bailout of major financial institutions. The book offers a detailed and insightful narrative, shedding light on the complexities of global finance during a tumultuous period.

39. Business Adventures – John Brooks

“Business Adventures” by John Brooks is a collection of essays that explores pivotal moments in the business world. Originally published in The New Yorker during the 1960s, these timeless stories offer insights into the challenges, successes, and complexities faced by various companies, providing valuable lessons for business enthusiasts.

40. The Outsiders – William Thorndike

William Thorndike’s “The Outsiders” profiles eight unconventional CEOs who defied conventional wisdom and achieved exceptional results for their companies and shareholders. The book challenges traditional management practices and highlights the importance of capital allocation and strategic decision-making.

41. Blue Ocean Strategy – W. Chan Kim – Renée Mauborgne

“Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne introduces a groundbreaking approach to business strategy. The authors advocate for creating uncontested market space, or “blue oceans,” by innovating and offering unique value propositions, diverging from traditional competition-focused strategies.

42. Bad Blood – John Carreyrou

John Carreyrou’s “Bad Blood” provides a riveting account of the rise and fall of Theranos, a health technology company that claimed to revolutionize blood testing. Carreyrou exposes the deception and unethical practices within the company, offering a cautionary tale about the consequences of corporate fraud.

43. Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman

“Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman explores the importance of emotional intelligence in personal and professional success. Goleman introduces the concept of EQ (emotional quotient) and highlights how understanding and managing emotions can contribute to effective leadership and interpersonal relationships.

44. Thrive – Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington’s “Thrive” advocates for a new definition of success that goes beyond traditional measures. The book encourages readers to prioritize well-being, wisdom, and wonder in addition to wealth and career achievements, fostering a more fulfilling and balanced life.

45. Titan – Ron Chernow

Ron Chernow’s biography “Titan” delves into the life of John D. Rockefeller, one of the most influential figures in American business history. The book provides a comprehensive and detailed account of Rockefeller’s rise to wealth and power, as well as his impact on the oil industry and philanthropy.

46. The Smartest Guys in the Room – Bethany McLean – Peter Elkind

“The Smartest Guys in the Room” by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind investigates the collapse of Enron, one of the most infamous corporate scandals in history. The book uncovers the unethical practices and financial manipulation that led to the downfall of the energy giant.

47. Guerilla Marketing – Jay Conrad Levinson

Jay Conrad Levinson’s “Guerilla Marketing” revolutionizes traditional marketing approaches by advocating for cost-effective, unconventional strategies. The book provides practical tips and creative ideas for small businesses to compete successfully against larger competitors in the marketing arena.

48. When Genius Failed – Roger Lowenstein

“When Genius Failed” by Roger Lowenstein recounts the story of the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) and its catastrophic collapse in 1998. Lowenstein explores the financial complexities and risks that led to the fund’s downfall, offering lessons about the perils of unchecked financial innovation.

49. First, Break All The Rules – Marcus Buckingham – Gallup Organization

Marcus Buckingham and the Gallup Organization present “First, Break All The Rules,” offering insights into effective management practices based on Gallup’s extensive research. The book challenges traditional management conventions, providing a fresh perspective on leadership and employee engagement.

50. Traction – Gabriel Weinberg – Justin Mares

“Traction” by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares serves as a practical guide for startups seeking to gain traction in the market. The book outlines various channels for customer acquisition, helping entrepreneurs identify and focus on the most effective strategies for scaling their businesses.

51. Deep Work – Cal Newport

In “Deep Work,” Cal Newport explores the benefits of focused and undistracted work in an age of constant connectivity. Newport presents strategies for cultivating deep work habits, allowing individuals to achieve higher levels of productivity and creativity in an increasingly distracting world.

52. So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport

Cal Newport’s “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” challenges the conventional advice to “follow your passion” and advocates for a craftsman mindset. Newport argues that passion is developed through skill mastery and meaningful work, encouraging readers to focus on acquiring valuable skills to achieve success.

53. The Answer – John Assaraf – Murray Smith

“The Answer” by John Assaraf and Murray Smith combines personal development and business advice. Assaraf shares his journey from struggling with poverty to achieving success and provides insights on overcoming mental barriers, setting goals, and creating a mindset for wealth and abundance.

54. Grinding It Out – Ray Kroc

Ray Kroc’s autobiography, “Grinding It Out,” chronicles the founding and growth of McDonald’s, the iconic fast-food franchise. Kroc’s story provides a firsthand account of entrepreneurial persistence and innovation, offering lessons on business strategy and building a global brand.

Video by Rick Kettner on YouTube

As we draw the curtains on the first part of our exploration into the pivotal role of reading in the entrepreneurial realm, we find ourselves amidst a tapestry of insights and revelations. From the foundational importance of continuous learning and strategic thinking to the inspiration derived from the narratives of successful individuals, it becomes evident that reading is not a mere pastime for entrepreneurs—it is a strategic imperative. As they navigate the complexities of business ownership, entrepreneurs equipped with a well-curated reading habit stand fortified against the uncertainties of the ever-evolving landscape.

Join us in the second part, where we will delve deeper into specific literary landscapes that offer nuanced guidance for entrepreneurial success. In this collective journey of turning pages and embracing wisdom, entrepreneurs lay the groundwork for not just business triumphs but a holistic and enduring impact on their personal and professional landscapes.

Images provided by John Ray Ebora and; Pexels; Thanks!

The post 109 of the Best Books On Entreprenurship (Part 1) appeared first on Under30CEO .

109 of the Best Books On Entreprenurship (Part 1)

best books on critical thinking and problem solving

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Critical Thinking Book One - Problem Solving, Reasoning, Logic, and Arguments (Grades 7-12+)

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Anita Harnadek

Critical Thinking Book One - Problem Solving, Reasoning, Logic, and Arguments (Grades 7-12+) Paperback – January 1, 1998

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best books on critical thinking and problem solving

  • Print length 178 pages
  • Language English
  • Publisher Critical Thinking Books & Software
  • Publication date January 1, 1998
  • Reading age Baby - 14 years
  • Dimensions 0.5 x 8.5 x 10.5 inches
  • ISBN-10 089455641X
  • ISBN-13 978-0894556418
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  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Critical Thinking Books & Software; Teachers edition (January 1, 1998)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 178 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 089455641X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0894556418
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ Baby - 14 years
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.18 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 0.5 x 8.5 x 10.5 inches
  • #740 in Teen & Young Adult Study Aids

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Anita harnadek.

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