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Seeing What Others Don't

The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights
Written by: Gary Klein
Narrated by: Christopher Lane
Length: 9 hrs
4 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Insights—like Darwin's understanding of the way evolution actually works, and Watson and Crick's breakthrough discoveries about the structure of DNA-can change the world. We also need insights into the everyday things that frustrate and confuse us so that we can more effectively solve problems and get things done. Yet we know very little about when, why, or how insights are formed—or what blocks them. In Seeing What Others Don't, renowned cognitive psychologist Gary Klein unravels the mystery.

Klein is a keen observer of people in their natural settings—scientists, businesspeople, firefighters, police officers, soldiers, family members, friends, himself—and uses a marvelous variety of stories to illuminate his research into what insights are and how they happen. What, for example, enabled Harry Markopolos to put the finger on Bernie Madoff? How did Dr. Michael Gottlieb make the connections between different patients that allowed him to publish the first announcement of the AIDS epidemic? What did Admiral Yamamoto see (and what did the Americans miss) in a 1940 British attack on the Italian fleet that enabled him to develop the strategy of attack at Pearl Harbor? How did a "smokejumper" see that setting another fire would save his life, while those who ignored his insight perished? How did Martin Chalfie come up with a million-dollar idea (and a Nobel Prize) for a natural flashlight that enabled researchers to look inside living organisms to watch biological processes in action?

Klein also dissects impediments to insight, such as when organizations claim to value employee creativity and to encourage breakthroughs but in reality block disruptive ideas and prioritize avoidance of mistakes. Or when information technology systems are "dumb by design" and block potential discoveries.

Both scientifically sophisticated and fun to listen to, Seeing What Others Don't shows that insight is not just a "eureka!" moment but a whole new way of understanding.

©2013 Gary Klein (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
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  • Blair
  • 24-02-15

Not enough actionable ideas

It is an interesting book but seems to be more of a collection of interesting stories than actionable items. The narration was excellent. It is entertaining but I was looking for more of a how to experience.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Trevver
  • 14-04-15

Thought - provoking and full of practic insights.

Highly engaging. I recommend this book to those who want to learn about their world, their business, their relationships.

The author tells the story of how he approached his study of insights, - - a story which was itself full of insights into unpacking insights from events.

He didn't just tell what he learned... He explained his path. He told a story of his study. In doing so, he drew me into his search in a way that a mere report of his final results could never do.

It was a pleasure to listen to. I intend to buy several hard copies... One for myself, one for my boss, and one for each of several colleagues.

In our office, we are struggling to capture insights and drive practical lessons to shape our work. The organization is pushing to standardize processes, reduce error, and increase predictability. I'm concerned that we will stifle our ability to learn from our projects in the drive for perfection.

The author addresses exactly this phenomenon.

We aren't doing a very good job of balancing the natural forces that seek perfection with the freedom to innovates , but if we can apply the author's framework, I'm certain we'll have a much better chance at doing both well.

I read his previous book on rapid decision-making. It too is a masterful study that opens the mind to a richer understanding of that field. I recommend both books.

I don't know the author but I am moved to engage him in conversation.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jessica
  • 13-05-15

felt like I was listening the same thing all over

I like all his insight stories and his analysis of each story. But his explanation is too tedious and repetitive.
I was waiting the whole book for the moment he would finally say how we can really trigger insights, but as this question has no answer he just gave us many stories for us to figure out by ourselves. I think my expectations were too high for the end of the book and I got really sad when it suddenly ended with no clear answer. I enjoyed and had fun with all his little cases and stories, and I definitely learned something from listening. But my feeling when it ended was a feeling of "really? is that all? I listened to the same stories over and over again for nothing?"
I just think he could had explained the same things in a much shorter book.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Tracee
  • 08-02-15

Valuable for leading a project

Good book for managers and project-driven professions.

It helps you have breakthroughs in your thinking. The author analyzed 130 insights to see what led the person to discovery - was it creativity, seeing connections, spotting a contradiction? He goes through many of these stories (good, so you can recognize similar situations in your own life, but also boring, like he's doing a book report on many life incidents and also referring back to them). This caused the book to become boring at times. Helpful, but boring. I felt like I was listening for professional development's sake, not because it was also a fun listen.

I definitely had a few takeaways from this book. One is the idea of the "up arrow and down arrow." We focus too much on not making mistakes, without rewarding riskier efforts to improve our situation. That improves our current situation, but doesn't allow room for advancement. Encouraging creative improvements will improve a business, even if the new ventures and products result in a few kinks that need ironing out in the future.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Andrew van Ingen
  • 31-05-20

Very informative

Loving innovation and usefulness, this really helped to get a better understanding in gaining insights, and what not to do.

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  • Amnica
  • 13-08-19

Very Insightful!

Will show you whether you have it in you to be insightful or not; and how to capture the moment!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-07-19

Glad I chose this book!

Very thoughtfully written and A+ quality insights! Every Chapter provided value added insights to my knowledge base.

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  • Eric Nelson
  • 26-10-18

good stories, mediocre storytelling

about 80% of these stories are business school cliche stories, so is likely the reader has already heard them. furthermore, other tellings of these stories (for example the firefighters) are more detailed and more interesting. that said, I think all of the stories are important.

the thread that tied the stories together (how to innovate) was interesting, but was not itself all that innovative

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  • Doc Norton
  • 29-05-17

Too many stories

normally, stories help me remember details by tying lessons to an allegory. in this case, the author provides so many stories from military history science and personal experience that it became too difficult to recall the stories or their key points.

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  • Demetrios
  • 26-05-17

Severely repetitive and over explanatory

The author continually explains the same points over and over throughout the book. It gets monotonous and boring very quickly.

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  • Gavin Morrice
  • 04-12-15

Insightful! A great overview of the workings of insights

I purchased this book expecting it to be a practical guide for increasing the rate of insights I have, at work and otherwise.

This book is not a how-to guide.

Nonetheless, I found it very informative, well narrated, and I learned a lot from each of the anecdotes shared. I can't help but feel that by expanding my world view, even just slightly, this book has inadvertently provided me with more tools to help me get ahead in every day life.

Would recommend.

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  • Tunde
  • 03-05-19

Great story on thinking differently

Loved it and would like to read it again and again it is presented in a way that you can relate to and gives the background study of how great ideas came to be.

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  • Mr. J. A. Ball
  • 15-02-17

Interesting and somewhat useful

The main thing I learned is that it's a good idea to let go of what we think is right or usual in order to achieve new insights. For me, I found most of the book interesting but not completely useful. This would seem to be a hard area to research and to come up with any specific strategies.

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  • Marc Schultz
  • 20-01-17

The value of listening and the multiple ways we get to discoveries

Great text and great performance.

This is a nice view of how easy it is to not see what others might and how quick we are to explain way they are wrong and then maybe just how obvious things are. Nice blend of historical and personal stories to highlight the multiple paths one might travel in discovering something new.

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  • N L B Myers
  • 14-07-15

Insightful

A good listen from start to finish. The three path to insight model is also an novel way of thinking about how we arrive at insights.

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  • Aheadspace
  • 08-01-15

Great listen, will buy the tactile copy too!

Full of really useful info that enables individuals in business to really make the most of their aha! & eureka moments or even how its possible to have them and innovate in a business that's being strangled by process & protocols!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-07-20

good analysis of how insights occur

The academic approach to trying to codify how insights occur is very detailed. The writer takes us on his quest for understanding which makes for (IMHO) an overly long book. It's very well performed and if time allows (i had lockdown) a good listen but I did want the text to be shorter. it would be even better as a summary if the writer's learnings.
I wish I'd bought it as a physical book as skim reading bits of it would have got me to the same understanding sooner. That said, the core content is interesting and very useful.

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  • James
  • 23-05-20

Shedding light on things we are blind to

This book shows us thing that are in front of us every day but fail to see. It opens your eyes to a world we never knew existed.

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  • Craig Honeyman
  • 27-01-20

Simply Brilliant

Highly recommended. A brilliant listen. Seeing what others don't really makes you think about that what if scenarios we often face.

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  • Leaflett
  • 26-11-19

Engaging

Enjoyable story-telling, giving varied examples to illustrate the key ideas. clear narration. Food for thought. I began to notice and celebrate my own insights.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-01-19

Mind-bending. Loved it

a mind bending insight to the language known as data. loved every minute of it.

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  • Mr. Ms. Cooke
  • 31-03-17

Brilliant book.

Gary's investigation into and understanding of how insights occur is thorough and a testament to insightfulness. The narration is lovely and the voice type well matched to the topic. I love the use of story as the frame also. Will have to listen to it again.