【英語要約】Think Smart 間違った思い込みを避けて、賢く生き抜くための思考法


How can you be successful and happy? The answer to this ultimate question, which everyone would want to know, is unclear. However, there is no need to miss the beat. It is possible to know what keeps people from succeeding and happiness and to take the initiative. In that case, 52 thinking methods derived from academic research such as cognitive psychology and behavioral economics are useful. This book, which summarizes this way of thinking, is a long-awaited new book by the author of "Think clearly", a Swiss intellectual giant and a bestseller in Japan.

Thought traps sneak up on us in many ways. For example, procrastinating what to do and getting impatient at the last minute. With the phrase "the last chance to buy this product at a good price", buy something you don't want. Even if I make a work plan, it doesn't go that way. How many times did the summarizer hurt his ears?

It will take time to be able to correct the thought and behavior patterns that have been constructed in the process of human evolution. But by learning the mistakes of thinking, you can eliminate "what you shouldn't do" in important decisions and certainly reduce the number of failures. I was able to find hope that it would improve my life.

Aristotle has left the saying, "The wise man should aim not to get happiness, but to avoid misery." While grasping its meaning, the summary introduces some of the 52 ways of thinking. These should be the "foundation of thought" for wisely advancing the ship in the voyage of life. This is a must-read for those who have aspirations for the New Year but are not sure if it can be realized.

Main points of this book

Point 1

To avoid "procrastination" of what's important, it's best to have some time to relax, eliminate any sources of distraction, and set a deadline.

Point 2

We assume that others think the same way as we do. To prevent this, it is important to be skeptical of yourself.

Point 3

Even memories that feel very clear, such as flashbulb memory, are half wrong.

Point 4

When we hear "the last chance", we lose our sense. Before making an important decision, you need to think carefully about whether you are stuck in a "thinking trap".

Why New Year's Aspirations Can't Be Achieved

Why do you always "postpone" what is important?

Let's go to the fitness center this year. Have you ever been able to carry out such a New Year's aspirations? Researchers call the tendency to be difficult to get involved in important but troublesome acts as "procrastination" or "procrastination." Why do we put off what's important when we know that procrastination is a barren act?

That's because "it takes time from the beginning to the results." Strong willpower is required to endure that time. However, it is difficult to maintain willpower. This is because if you consume all your energy, you will lose the power to handle difficult tasks for a while.

Set a deadline

So how do you avoid "procrastination"? The important thing is to have intervals to relax and deviate from the side streets. It is also good to eliminate in advance the factors that distract you so that you do not stay off the sidewalk. The author says that when writing a feature-length novel, he disconnects the internet so that he is not tempted to surf the internet.

Especially effective is to "set a deadline". Psychologist Dan Ariely finds that procrastination can be most effectively prevented if a deadline is set externally. If you set a deadline yourself, you want to divide what you need to do into several parts and set a deadline for each part. Without a clear mid-term goal, it is obvious that New Year's aspirations will fail.

If you compare too much, you will not be able to make good decisions.

"Decision fatigue" that we tend to fall into

Let's say you have a critical presentation in front of the CEO. Start times are presented at 8:00 am, 11:00 am, and 6:00 pm. Psychologically, which time is best?

When we compare, scrutinize, and make decisions, we are exhausted. Such a condition is called "decision fatigue". As a result of exhaustion of willpower, consumers are more likely to be confused by advertisements and run on impulse purchases. Those who are in a position to make important decisions are more likely to be tempted.

Why is the IKEA restaurant in the middle of the route?

To recharge your willpower, take a break to relax or eat something. When the blood sugar level is low, the power of will weakens.

Swedish furniture maker IKEA knows this well. The company has a restaurant in the middle of the route. Why is that? A consumer who walks down a long aisle with 10,000 items eats cake at a restaurant. Then, it leads to the relief of decision fatigue, and you can go shopping again.

This "decision fatigue" is also affecting the court's decision. The percentage of bold decisions is 65% early on. However, as time goes by, it approaches zero, and suddenly returns to 65% after a break. From this, the answer is clear when it comes to the time to present in front of the CEO.

It seems that other people have the same idea as me

False consensus effect

We think based on ourselves and think that others will think the same way as we do. This mistake in thinking is called the "false consensus effect."

Lee Roth, a psychologist at Stanford University, discovered this psychological tendency through the following experiments. We asked randomly selected students to walk the campus for 30 minutes with a sign saying "Let's eat at Joe's restaurant." At the same time, I asked how many students, other than myself, would accept this request.

Students who agreed to wear the sign, like Sandwichman, said that the majority of the students (62%) would reply with the same consent. In response, the majority of students (67%) who declined the request said they would decline. In this way, both believed that their opinions were in the majority. It is also this "false consensus effect" that small political parties overestimate the importance of their promises.

Be skeptical of yourself

False guesses are rampant in the business world as well. For example, what about a company where engineers have a strong voice? Engineers tend to be obsessed with their elaborate craftsmanship. Therefore, consumers tend to assume that they should be interested in the product as well.

From this fact, it is important not to assume that your view is mainstream. We easily classify people who disagree with us as "strange". First, try to be skeptical of yourself, not of those who disagree.

Why you are always right

There is also a "little Winston" in your brain

Winston Smith, who appears in George Orwell's classic Nineteen Eighty-Four, is a clerk working for the government's Ministry of Truth. His job is to tamper with history and create the illusion that the government will never make a mistake. It's horrifying, but in fact, this kind of history is often made up in our brains. In other words, there is also a "small Winston" in the brain. It gracefully and easily rewrites our memory. Thanks to that, we are convinced that "I was always right."

We unknowingly align our past views with our present views so that we don't have to face our mistakes. Normally, when you realize your mistake, you can move forward without being freed from the wrong view, but you don't think that way.

"Half" of the memory I remember may be wrong

Then, is there no memory that is accurately engraved in the brain? The memory of September 11, 2001 probably remembers the details. This is what psychologists call "flashbulb memory." It means a memory that feels clear and accurate, just like a picture taken with a flash. However, this memory is just a "reconstruction" and is as wrong as a normal memory.

Psychologist Ulric Nicer had students write down their thoughts on the accident the day after the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. Three years later, I gave the students the same task. Then, the ratio of the second content matching the first content was only 7% or less. Two-thirds of the content was 50% incorrect, and 25% did not match at all. In other words, even a memory that feels very clear, such as flashbulb memory, is half wrong.

You should be careful about what is conveniently arranged

A trap called cherry picking

Let's say you are the head of a department. From now on, I have to present the current situation of my department to the management. At that time, I think most of the explanatory materials will be devoted to "achieved goals" and the rest will be "future issues". The "goals that could not be achieved" must be hidden.

In this way, from many cases, we tend to list only what is "convenient" for us. This is called "cherry picking". Goals that have been achieved are treated extensively, but goals that have not been achieved are often not even mentioned.

It is the noble fields and the fields with social status that cannot be seen especially in "cherry picking". Nassim Taleb, a mathematician and trader, describes in his book Anti-Vulnerability how research results in philosophy, medicine, and economics are shown off.

What is the greatest contribution that medicine has made to society in the last 70 years? That is "no smoking" advice. It is said that smoking cessation is more socially contributing than any medical progress made since World War II. However, we pay more attention to what the medical community calls an important invention, such as antibiotics. As a result, only drug researchers are praised, and smoking cessation activists are not well received.

How to spot cherry picking?

Then, how can we obtain objective information under such circumstances? If you're an auditor for an organization, be sure to ask what you couldn't achieve, such as a "failed project." This should be much more helpful in learning about the organization than asking questions about their success stories.

One thing to watch out for is when you hear the phrase "your own goals." It's like shooting a darts arrow at the wall and drawing a picture of the target around the place where the arrow stabbed.

[Must read point!] When you hear "the last chance", your judgment goes wrong.

Which one has the greatest "regret"?

Which of the two examples, Paul and Georg, has the greatest "regret"? Paul was trying to sell the shares of company A that he owned and buy the shares of company B that year. But in the end, I decided not to buy a new stock. We now know that if we did that, we would have benefited $ 1200 more.

On the other hand, Georg sold the shares of company B that he owned and replaced them with the shares of company A that year. It is now known that if he continued to own shares in Company B, he would have made a profit of $ 1200 more.

When asked which one had the most regrets in the survey, 8% of the respondents said Paul and 92% said Georg. Objectively, both are choosing the wrong stock. But there is only one difference. Paul already had a stake in Company A and took no action. In response, Georg was taking action to buy it. From this, it can be seen that the feeling of regret is greater when the behavior is different from that of the majority of people. Regret is the feeling that you have made the wrong decision.

The word "last chance" that makes you lose your composure

Fear of regret tends to be stupid when it is accompanied by the word "last chance." Suppose you dreamed of building your own home. There is less and less land for sale, leaving only a few plots with a view of the sea. When it comes to one more place, you jump into the remaining parcels and buy at an exorbitant price, just as "this is your last chance". Originally, a wonderful property with a view of the sea will be put up for sale many times in the future. But for fear of regret, that fact has fallen out of your head.

When we hear "the last chance", we lose our sense. When making an important decision, think carefully about whether you are stuck in a "thinking trap."

Recommendation of reading

How misleading you are in your daily life. The themes dealt with by the 52 ways of thinking are so diverse that they are all in line with real life. Please read this book for the contents other than those introduced in the summary.

Before making an important decision, the author says he refers to a list he has created to make sure he doesn't make a mistake and checks for thought traps. This book is also worth using as such a checklist.

We hope that more people will learn the mechanism of thinking mistakes and enjoy life smartly in order to avoid mistakes and mistakes in work, home and investment decisions.