Edward Burger, president of Southwestern University, developed a course on “effective thinking” that aims to slow down your thinking, help you deeply think through ideas and connect them with the entirety of your learning. The joy of learning arises during epiphanies – breakthrough thoughts and solutions – resulting from connecting ideas from one discipline with ideas from another. Burger’s 100-page course is an experience in effective thinking. He lays out 25 challenging puzzles and guides you through solving them without revealing the answers. He hopes you will take the time to consider each puzzle deeply via his “five elements of effective thinking.” You may find Burger’s puzzles and hints either challenging or vexing, depending on how much you relish them. He presents one chapter upside down and another as a mirror image to encourage you to engage as well as to disrupt your flow. But he will inspire you to get up, walk around, ponder and puzzle. Those with the patience to practice and reflect will appreciate Burger’s unique work.
In this summary, you will learn
- Why formal education should help people develop their thinking and learning skills rather than emphasizing only credentials and vocational preparation,
- How to practice the “five elements of effective thinking,” and
- How to slow down and ponder productively to innovate and create new ideas.
About the Author
Southwestern University president Edward B. Burger designed a course around these thinking practices through entertaining puzzles, which he teaches as a mathematics professor at Southwestern.