No list of this nature can be all-inclusive, so read online summaries and ask around before you devote time and effort to resources related to thinking. Even a bad book can teach valuable lessons (such as how to be more selective), but you also don’t want to waste your limited time.
- Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques by Michael Michalko. A former U.S. Army officer discusses idea generation and the creative thinking process to jumpstart ideas.
- A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative by Roger von Oech. Here, von Oech offers scenario-based discussion starters to prompt alternative thinking to solve problems.
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Nobel Prize winner Kahneman explores intuition and emotional decision-making.
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. Working on the ironic concept that less is the new more, McKeown outlines how to embrace a stripped-down, back-to-basics approach to business, customer service, thinking, and life in general, in direct contrast to the typical bigger is better mentality.
- Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell, a writer for the New Yorker magazine, presents the science of thinking on the fly—how some people are better than others at sifting through all the available information and only accessing what matters most in making important decisions. It may appear that these “gut reactions” are instantaneous, but Gladwell argues that a great deal of thinking goes into these seemingly snap decisions.
- Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life by Richard Paul and Linda Elder. A well-respected educator and proponent of critical thinking, Paul is one of the founders of the Foundation for Critical Thinking (FCT), and this book presents his ideas about clear thinking in all aspects of business, education, and personal relationships.
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. A wildly popular mesh of economic theory (in layman’s terms) and pop psychology, Freakonomics takes a look at topics not found in most economics lessons, including drug dealing and sumo wrestling.
- The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin. Based on the concept that organizing your mind (ideas, workspace, life) is half the battle, Levitin proposes techniques to improve critical thinking through an ordered approach.