The Art of Thinking Clearly is a book dedicated to making better decisions by alerting us to the common hiccups in our thinking process. Written by Swiss author and businessman Rolf Dobelli, the book first took off in Germany in 2013, sticking in Der Spiegel’s Bestseller list for 80 weeks, before going huge just about everywhere else too.
The format is simple: 99 short chapters of common thinking errors – ranging from cognitive biases to elements like social distortions and envy. If you’ve read widely on psychology you’ll have seen many of these biases before, but Dobelli brings them together in an anecdotal and engaging way.
Let’s take the Sunk Cost Fallacy: It’s a beautiful sunny evening. You and your wife want to watch the sun set in the park. But you’ve booked and paid for cinema tickets. So you go to the cinema. … You have a branding initiative that’s clearly going nowhere. But you’ve invested so much money already. So you plough on. But that investment, those cinema tickets, are non-recoverable. Instead you should take now and look forward.
With his entrepreneurial background, Dobelli focuses on business as much as personal decision-making; thus this book is of great value to people who want to gain a framework to be more objective about perception and decision biases we encounter in our lives.