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Seeing What Others Don't: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights    by Gary Klein order for
Seeing What Others Don't
by Gary Klein
Order:  USA  Can
PublicAffairs, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

What sparks insights? What inhibits them? Is there a way to encourage them in oneself or others? How do many organizations create a smothering environment where insights are very unlikely to occur?

These and a host of other questions are addressed in this very readable book that gives the reader concrete information that can be applied in a number of situations.

As cognitive psychologist Gary Klein explains, insights are a new set of new beliefs that are more accurate, more comprehensive, and more useful than those we adhered to before. Insights can transform us. They change how we understand, see, act, feel and desire. They transform our thinking and how we understand something.

In investigating what fosters and what inhibits insight, Klein compiled 120 cases where a person arrived at an insight and then he analyzed each one, looking for patterns. That led to the creation of five different strategies for gaining insight: connections, coincidences, curiosities, contractions, and creative desperation.

Klein then looked closely at each one of these strategies. In his discussion he cited some of the individual cases that relied on the strategy being addressed.

Next, it was time to look at what interferes with or stifles insight. Klein explained, 'I arrived at four reasons that we might miss the chance to have an insight: flawed beliefs, lack of experience, a passive stance and a concrete reasoning style.' These four situations were then discussed in greater depth before the final section of the book delved into how insights can be fostered.

'If we want to increase our own insights, we should know about the different paths: the contradiction path, the connection path, and the creative desperation path,' writes Klein. 'Each path calls for its own methods.'

While the contradiction path calls for our being open to surprises and willing to take them seriously, venturing down the connection path is only possible if one is open to new experiences and ready to speculate about unfamiliar possibilities.

Finally, the creative desperate path requires the individual to critically examine his assumptions to detect any that are tripping him up and, thus, making insight all put impossible.

A book of this nature could be a chore to read, but Klein keeps the tone conversational, holds down the professional jargon and uses examples his audience can relate to. His approach may bother some of his peers who may feel it is not academic enough, but the general reader will thank him.

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