Winning the Brain Game: Fixing the 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking
June 21, 2016
Matthew May has taken the latest brain science and concocted a recipe for smarter thinking and problem solving.
We have known and worked with Matt May for many years. He has written four great books in the past decade, and blessed our sister site, ChangeThis, with five manifestos. The topics he writes on vary, but there are through-lines that connect all of his work—elegance and simplicity, the keys to creativity, improving our ways of seeing and thinking and doing.
He has a knack for taking seemingly complex subject matter and making it incredibly simple, clear, easy to understand, and most importantly, implementable. He did so famously when he explained the way Toyota functions, and their "Formula for Mastering Innovation," in his first book, The Elegant Solution. And he has done it again, explaining the way our brain functions (and malfunctions), in his new book, Winning the Brain Game.
He confesses early on that he is "neither scientist nor scholar" bringing new knowledge or discoveries about the brain to the world, but rather an acquirer of knowledge and how to apply it to real world problems:
I'm far better at applying all those wonderful scientific discoveries and putting into practice what scholars propose in theoretical frameworks, to see whether what they say should work actually does in the real world. In that way, I'm much more like a jeweler seeking to fix a stuck gear than the philosopher pontificating on a theory of time.
So, May is not on the front lines of brain and thought research, but he has worked with and been advised by some of the people who are—people like Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz at UCLA, Roger Martin at Rotman School of Management, Michael Schrage of MIT, and Ellen Langer at Harvard—in the course of his work. And he has learned one very important thing from them that forms the basis of this book:
I'm fortunate to have spent time with some of the foremost psychologists and neuroscientists, and this much I know from working with them: there is a significant distinction between the brain and the mind. The brain is passive hardware, absorbing experience, and the mind is active software, directing our attention. But not just any software—it's intelligent software capable of rewiring the hardware.
And that rewiring of the hardware is what Winning the Brain Game is all about. He describes seven fatal flaws in the way we think, along with fixes for each. You'll encounter some brain teasers and difficult problems along the way, and discover ways to overcome the flaws inherent in the way we think when responding to them. Once again, he will teach us how to come up with the most elegant solutions, the simplest and most direct responses to our thorniest issues. In doing so provides ways to raise our everyday thinking out of the primordial soup from which our thoughts occur, and to make our approaches to our everyday problems more mindful, sophisticated, and effective.
We have 20 copies available.