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Making Up Your Own Mind

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Making Up Your Own Mind

Thinking Effectively Through Creative Puzzle-Solving

Princeton UP,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Edward B. Burger’s brief, imaginative book will inspire you to slow down, reflect, puzzle and think.

Editorial Rating



  • Eye Opening
  • For Experts
  • Engaging


Edward Burger, president of Southwestern University, developed a 100-page course that aims to slow down your thinking and help you think through ideas. He lays out 25 challenging puzzles and guides you through solving them without revealing the answers. You may find Burger’s puzzles and hints either challenging or vexing, 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. 


Intentional Learning

“Effective learning” requires the experience of doing, practicing, making mistakes and thinking through ideas. This leads to you generating your own thoughts and “making up your own mind.” Learning shouldn’t be a race toward earning a credential, certificate or degree and turning that credential into a job. Regard learning instead as a journey of self-discovery.

Approach learning as an interconnected, multidisciplinary exploration of what interests you. Don’t merely learn a subject. Learn past it and beyond it into other subjects as you connect it to a greater understanding and reinforcement of learning. Connecting learning in one area to other disciplines brings the thrill of illumination and the profound enjoyment of gaining knowledge. Adopt what the ancient Greeks referred to as a paideia approach to learning, as used at Southwestern University: seek “intentional connections” between the things you learn in each discipline or subject area.

You face many puzzles in your life. Whether you cast...

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.

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