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Critical Thinking Skills for Dummies

Written by: Martin Cohen
Narrated by: Eric Martin
Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Turbocharge your reasoning with critical thinking.

Just what are the ingredients of a great argument? What is the secret to communicating your ideas clearly and persuasively? And how do you see through sloppy thinking and flim-flam?

If you've ever asked any of these questions, then this book is for you!

These days, strong critical thinking skills provide a vital foundation for academic success, and Critical Thinking Skills for Dummies offers a clear and unintimidating introduction to what can otherwise be a pretty complex topic. Inside, you'll get hands-on, lively, and fun exercises that you can put to work today to improve your arguments and pin down key issues.

With this accessible and friendly guide, you'll get plain-English instruction on how to identify other people's assumptions, methodology, and conclusions; evaluate evidence; and interpret texts effectively. You'll also find tips and guidance on reading between the lines, assessing validity - and even advice on when not to apply logic too rigidly!

Critical Thinking Skills for Dummies:

  • Provides tools and strategies from a range of disciplines great for developing your reflective thinking skills
  • Offers expert guidance on sound reasoning and textual analysis
  • Reveals precisely how to use concept mapping and brainstorming to generate insights
  • Demonstrates how critical thinking skills is a proven path to success as a student

Whether you're undertaking reviews, planning research projects, or just keen to give your brain a workout, Critical Thinking Skills for Dummies equips you with everything you need to succeed.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, West Sussex (P)2018 Gildan Media

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  • Joe Piper
  • 25-07-19

Memorable, meandering, mediocre.

The author’s (Martin Cohen) philosophical understanding of critical thinking concepts are basically sound but there are glaring flaws too numerous to recall. His advice on skim-reading is cringe worthy, he glosses over the fundamental laws of logic, and proposes some astoundingly terrible premise-premise-conclusion examples which completely fail. I kept thinking there was going to be a surprise chapter at the end where he pointed out his own critical thinking failures were actually just easter eggs he’d planted in purpose, but no, sadly that never happened.

Disclaimer: I’d recently listened to another similar book called The Skeptics Guide to the Universe and I’ll freely admit that my critical review of this book is partly due to my liking the skeptics book so much more than this one. They set the bar high.

My biggest criticism is that the author has a tendency to be overtly prejudiced towards science and scientists, frequently asserting that “you can not trust scientists or scientific consensus” while pointing to sporadic examples from early scientific history, exploratory research (not meant to draw conclusions), less rigorous fields of science like social psychology (which is still a very young science), and areas of cutting-edge scientific study (which also haven’t matured yet). At other times, he points to failures in science reporting as failures of science itself, but those aren’t the same things at all!

While it’s a fair assertion that authority figures (scientists) are not inherently better at logical thinking than “the common man”, he seems unfairly biased against the scientific method itself. He pays lip service to the benefits of science in too few cases while completely ignoring the propensity of science, as a body of knowledge, to weed out erroneous thinking over extended periods of time. Which is science’s greatest strength.

Throughout the book, Cohen absolutely poisons the well. His basic argument is that science (and scientists) have sometimes been wrong in the past and therefore cannot be trusted in the present, a conclusion that does not logically follow. That’s like saying that if some branches of an apple tree had rotten fruit, then you can’t trust any apples on the whole tree because they might be rotten. This ignores the fact that we can look at each branch and inspect the fruit, and we throw out rotten apples. And we can trust that a bushel of apples mostly contains good apples, because the rotten ones get thrown out when discovered.

A more honest assessment should acknowledge that changes in science are evidence that the science is always moving forward, improving, and working toward a better understanding of what is true and real. It is by no means a perfect methodology - it’s never 100% correct 100% of the time. But science has proven to be the best methodology we have so far. Nothing else even comes close.

Science has produced virtually every improvement to human flourishing that exists in our modern world: our food, our homes, our modes of transportation, (basically everything we see and touch in our daily lives). Scientists and the fields of science have improved the ways we can communicate, move around, interact, learn, exchange ideas, and on and on...

Being a critical thinker is more than disbelieving everything. That’s just cynicism! It’s about doubt, and only provisionally accepting a claim in proportion to the strength of the supporting evidence.

Sadly, after listening to this book the listener will be left with a substantial misunderstanding of the scientific method; naively misinformed of it’s contributions, and the scientists who apply it in order to make our world a better place.

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  • Phillip
  • 27-12-19

Not disappointed. Worth reading! Very helpful.

I only listened to the audiobook and it was very helpful in terms of learning (and practicing/applying) critical thinking and what questions to ask oneself to develop this skill. It is more aimed at how to read between the lines and make constructive, critical judgments, and arguing/debating. This is not a problem-solving book. I am interested in buying the physical book to see all the uncovered details.

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  • Alex
  • 18-05-19

An insightful book

This book has helped me become a better at troubleshooting by just rephrasing the questions I ask my self. Additionally it also tough me on different way of presenting arguments and how to detect whether someone (for instance a politician) is has more than just rhetorics to offer when making a speech.

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  • Justin Taylor
  • 12-08-19

Bloated, rambling, assuming and a quotefest

Let me save you nearly eleven hours. Look elsewhere if you are interested in critical thinking.