Friday, September 25

How to Have A BEAUTIFUL MIND - Edward de Bono

I read the back-cover of this book and the summary was more than enough to convince me that this would be my next read. The book is very detailed and methodically written with lots of examples. Edward de Bono very well explains the concepts. Heads-up, this book is like a text book and no fun read, however ensures that a reader is hooked to it because the topics are very well covered, with summary at the end of each chapter. Things that happen in our daily life i.e at work/at home, the discussions, the arguments, small talk etc. that we engage with people, the society, is something that we actually need to learn. The book talks about such life situations and teaches how to be proactive to be more involved and accepted.

"We spend a fortune on clothes, cosmetics, diets and work-outs - even surgery - to make our bodies more attractive. Yet we hardly consider the one thing that enhances everyone's appeal. It consts nothing, takes very little time, and without it even the most physically beautiful person will be unattractive: it is beautiful mind. No matter how stunning you are, if your mind is dull you have no hope of impressing people in any situation."

Excerpts from the book

"The Beauty of your mind shows in your conversation"

How to Agree?
- If you completely agree with other's Point of View, then there is no further conversation. If you completely are in disagreement then there will be argument. An argument is a battle between egos.
When you agree, you seem to be submitting to the other point of view - so you loose. When you disagree, you are asserting your ego and indicating that you may be superior.

- A discussion should be a genuine attempt to explore a subject rather than a battle between competing egos.

- Genuinely seek to find points of agreement in what the other person is saying.

- There is no contribution if you simply agree with everything.

- To disagree at every point is irritating and boring

- Being argumentative is not at all beautiful, there are better methods of exploring a subject.

- There is no need to be right all the time, Remove your ego from the discussion and focus instead on the subject matter.

- Make an effort to understand other person's point of view.

- Changing your perception to look at things in a different way is an important step in reaching possible agreement.

How to disagree?
- Do no disagree just to show how clever you are or to boost your ego.

- When you disagree, do so politely and gently rather then rudely and aggressively.

- Distinguish between having a different opinion and disagreeing with an opinion.

How to differ?
- Before accepting the difference, an attempt should be made to reconcile the difference.

- There are times when only one of a different set of opinions can be right, this is where "TRUTH" can be checked out.

- Difference may arise from
a) Different definition of the basis for judgement
b) Personal preference, taste of choice
c) Different set of values
d) Different point of view of perception
e) Differing personal experience or differing knowledge

How to be interesting?
- Being interesting is much more than winning an argument. Being interesting is much more than showing how clever you are.

- The first rule is to talk about what you are good at and what interest you. You will need to fashion your discourse to suit different audiences. The first is made up of those who  know nothing about the subject. The second is those who know something about the subject and want to know more.

- Unusual information is one type of interest.

- Using the "What if?" technique can open up new possibilities and new lines of thought.

- Looking out for possibilities and alternatives enriches the conversation. There is usually more than one way of doing things or looking at things.

- New ideas are rare and freshen any discussion. Seek to be creative and to generate new ideas. Learn and apply the formal technique of lateral thinking.

- Use as a formal tool the phrase : "Now that is interesting". Be ready to apply this to anything that you hear.

How to respond?
- The overall objective in any conversation might be to agree, to disagree, to agree on the difference and to have an enjoyable and interesting discussion.

- If you are in any doubt about what has been said, it is important to ask for clarification.

- Anecdotes, examples and stories add liveliness and reality to the discussion.

How to listen?
- The ability to listen and the enjoyment of listening is a key part of developing a beautiful mind.

- A good listener pays attention and seeks to get the maximum value from what is being said.

- You should take note of the words used and especially the adjectives, which indicate feelings.

- Questions are key means of interactions in any conversation or discussion. A listener should seek to ask questions.

-  With a "Shooting Question", you know  that the answer you will get is a "Yes" or a "No". A "Fishing Question" is a more open-ended.

- Questions are essential to challenge the validity and source of information that is being used to support an argument.

Parallel Thinking
- In traditional argument each side prepares a case and then seeks to defend that case and to attack the other case. Actual exploration of subject is limited.

- Parallel thinking replaces the battle of arguments with a joint exploration of the subject as all parties think "in parallel" at any moment.

- Concepts are a very important part of thinking and a key component of a beautiful mind.

- Concepts are important in generating ideas and designing ways forward. Where there is no routine available, concepts are essential.

- "You can have any color you like so long as it is black" - Henry ford to his customers. In real life it means that, "If what you want is exactly what is available, then you  can be very happy"

- Groucho Max said "I would not want to belong to any club which would accept me as a member". In real life his comment means that if what you want is by definition, impossible then you are not very likely to be happy.

- Looking for alternative is a very important activity of a beautiful mind.

- Because we have any adequate way of doing something does not mean that there might not be a much better way. If we try we can find that better way.

-To be chosen a new way of doing something must show clean benefits over the existing way.

- Emotions and feelings are very important part of thinking.

- Ultimately, choices and decisions are based on emotions and feelings.

- In a very serious discussion you may want to listen first, and ask questions, before showing your feelings.

- Values determine what we like or do not like, values determine our choices and decisions.

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