The Blurb On The Back:
Critical thinking is essential in higher education.
Think Critically gives you simple, direct advice on ow to effectively assess and critique the world around you.
– understand the nature of assumptions and claims
– grasp the notion of valid and invalid arguments and evidence
– gain practical skills and confidence in reading, writing and doing research.
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Giving you the tools and advice you need to progress your skills and excel in your studies and life.
The Review (Cut For Spoilers):
Tom Chatfield is an author, tech philosopher and educator interested in the teaching and practice of critical thinking skills. This is a breezy but useful introduction to concepts of critical thinking that’s aimed at university students but can be used by anyone looking to sharpen up their skills. It’s particularly good at explaining concepts such as reasoning, bias, hypothesis and assumptions in a way that’s not patronising and easy to remember.
Chatfield begins by making the case for why critical thinking is important, gives ideas for how people can find time to take time out and think. The book then goes on to describe concepts like straw men arguments, the process of reasoning (including the difference between deductive and inductive reasoning), hypothesis and explanation and how reasoning can be abused. I thought the chapters on bias and bias and misinformation were particularly good in that it sets out what bias is and describes how to identify online misinformation (an increasingly important skill in this day and age).
There are plenty of exercises that the reader can do throughout the book, which encourage self-reflection while also testing what they’ve picked up from the pages and there’s a good glossary and surprisingly good further reading section at the back (I saw “surprising” because there’s a mix of books plus podcasts and an on-line resource so there’s something for everyone).
As with other books in this series, I wasn’t blown away by the illustrations, some of which are really weird (toast and fruit sweets). I also didn’t think that the orange colour choice and text style in the graphic boxes were particularly good (I found some of the orange cursive text difficult to read). However, these are publishing decisions and not the fault of the author – it’s just a shame that they do take away from the effectiveness of the message.
The book is aimed at students and there are references to study groups and studying but to be honest, I thought that anyone who read this would get a lot from it and if you’re looking for an introduction to the topic this is a good place to start.
Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.