The power of knowing what you don't know, by Adam Grant
Getting together to discuss Adam Grant’s Think Again was a spirited and joyful event. Seven of us were lucky enough to meet in person at Ozone Cafe (with an exciting brand new brunch menu) and our group consisted of a mix of seasoned book clubbers and a few newbies too (myself included!).
Unanimously we all agreed that we enjoyed the book (or what we had managed to read of it so far), so the discussion flowed easily between us. Think Again is a fairly comfortable read, dotted with interesting footnotes and cartoons depicting, and poking fun at, a lot of the ideas presented. However we quickly realised that in this modern world we were not all reading the book per se. We had quite the mix of hard copies, e-readers and audio books between us. We discovered that not all mediums picked up these footnotes and images so well, so if you’re still wanting to give this one a read, then the hard copy might be the way to go - although Adam Grant himself reads the audio book which is quite the treat!
Think Again is all about avoiding overconfidence, embracing humility and finding the joy in being wrong. We all found that the book humbled us and led us to think differently about how we might approach a conflict of opinion both at work and in our personal lives. A main takeaway was that, when in a disagreement, changing someone’s mind should not be your ultimate goal. Instead we should be aiming to open a dialogue and make an effort to understand opinions that conflict with our own, with both parties reflecting on, and rethinking, their own stances.
Adam Grant has very practical examples throughout the book so it was no surprise that we all had found situations in our own lives where the principles could apply. The theme of having genuine respect for those whose ideas we challenge, and also asking questions out of curiosity rather than judgement, appealed to us all. We all wanted to become more open to new ideas even if they didn’t sit at ease with us right away - becoming ‘yes people’ rather than ‘no people’.
There were also some very real world scenarios in the book around vaccines and politics - two very hot topics right now, and things we all felt very strongly about. However, seeing Grant’s questioning techniques demonstrated in the book opened our eyes to the various reasons why someone might hold a different view. And how although their view might be different, it can often stem from some common ground or ideal that we both share. The main message here: don’t force your views on someone or unload fact after fact. Instead begin a respectful conversation and give people time to reflect and come to their own conclusions and you might be pleasantly surprised!
Overall I think I can safely say that we all enjoyed our Sunday morning. Being able to meet in person was a huge plus and as always it is wonderful to hear those accents! I have definitely been sold on the NZBWN Book Club and am really looking forward to reading the next book, The Art of Rest by Claudia Hammond, and attending the November brunch. Keep and eye on the events page for details coming soon - hope to see you all there!