Introduction

Critical Thinking! Now that sounds like a good idea. Because it's a kind of souped-up, laser-sharp powerful thinking, just waiting to zap rotten arguments and churn out some pretty brilliant insights instead. And don't worry if people tell you that it is a rather high-level kind of thinking, and that only a few can do it, mainly tweedy professors who tell jokes in Latin (dimidium facti qui coepit habet — ‘he who has begun, has the work half done’), because Critical Thinking certainly isn't like that. Critical Thinking is not just for the tweedy few — but for the curious, the imaginative, the creative many. In fact the only thing that is really deeply mysterious about Critical Thinking is why everyone's not doing it. But I've got a theory about that, and it is to do with education and the kind of ways of working that people are corralled into, like so many sheep — supposedly as a preparation for life outside. But life outside is rarely just a business of unreflectively following set procedures and instructions — but rather something where you need constantly to reflect on what you are doing, and why — and act not as a machine, but as a person. So the first skill a Critical Thinker needs to learn is how to think ‘the unthinkable’, to think outside the box, to ‘free their mind’ no less.

Sounds idealistic? A bit 60s and hippies wearing flowers? Well, yes, there's a bit of idealism in Critical Thinking, just as there is in all the best things. But there's also a lot of ...

Get Critical Thinking Skills For Dummies now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.