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John Adair's 100 Greatest Ideas for Smart Decision Making by John Adair

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Idea 70: Holistic thinking

I can see the whole of it at a single glance in my mind, as if it were a beautiful painting or a handsome human being.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, German composer

A holistic mind is diametrically opposed to an analytical mind. The latter separates wholes into their constituent parts. That works well with inanimate objects, but not with living beings. Then, As Wordsworth said, ‘we murder to dissect’.

In contrast, knowing how to think holistically, to see the wood as well as the trees, to see the whole that is a sum of more than the constituent parts, is a key skill for an effective thinker.

Those who have good judgement of people tend to have more holistic minds. People may have sets of qualities or strengths and weaknesses, ...

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