Summary of The Thinker’s Toolkit

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  • Well Structured
  • Analytical
  • Applicable


People often evaluate solutions incorrectly when they attack a problem. Some mistakes spring from insufficient information or lack of training. But many mistakes occur due to people’s innate proclivity to believe what they “prefer to be true.” You can significantly improve your ability to solve problems, make choices and weigh options by practicing 14 analytical techniques designed to counter the natural human reactions – or cognitive errors – that can cloud your perceptions. To derive the maximum benefit from Morgan D. Jones’s manual on problem solving, you’ll need to work through it rather than just reading it. He provides effective exercises to help you build cognitive skills. getAbstract recommends Jones’s workbook to those who want to hone their thinking skills and excel at problem solving. 

About the Author

Morgan D. Jones formerly headed the CIA’s analytic training branch. He taught analytic methods at Georgetown University and founded Analytic Prowess, which conducts workshops for government and private organizations. 



Improving Your Ability to See

Most people make analytical mistakes due to the proclivity of human beings to believe what they “prefer to be true.” But if you know the barriers you face and the cognitive traps you can fall into, you can significantly improve your insight. When you set out to diagnose and solve a problem, knowing how to systematize or configure your diagnosis and choices can makes a big difference.

“Analysis” means breaking a difficult issue into its components and subcomponents. One way to structure an investigation is to sort the factors that affect your decision in an orderly way. Conventional methods work for everyday problems, but often they aren’t helpful when you’re facing the 10% of problems that involve significant issues or decisions. Most people want to make sensible choices in their personal and business lives. They may face complicated issues that defy simple resolution. Often they may want to sidestep the problem, even if temporarily. They accept incomplete remedies because they lack an organized method for considering the nuances of complicated issues. People generally begin to examine the issues behind a problem by...

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