Thursday, March 2, 2006

The Thinking Toolbox-- two thumbs up!

The Thinking Toolbox: Thirty-Five Lessons That Will Build Your Reasoning Skills by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn, illustrated by Richard LaPierre


Wow, if my kids had seen this arrive in the mail (and they were a bit older and sassier) I am sure they would've said "Hey, mom!  You HAVE to read this!!!  It's exactly what you need!!!"  hehehe...I can just hear my sweet dh chuckle to himself...Yup, anything that might make you reasonable is a good thing!  So I guess it was a good thing for everyone around me that I was the only one who saw what was inside the package!


I wasn't quite sure how I would like a book that's all about sharpening your reasoning skills and that used the term LOGIC.  Would it be boring?  Would it make me feel dumb in the end?  Would it bring back nightmares of going to class in my pj's and not realizing that the final exam would be today and I hadn't studied and would not graduate after all???  Sorry, got a little carried away there...


Anyhow, I had heard great things about this book by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn (as well as their other book The Fallacy Detective) I dove right in...and was not disappointed! 


Why couldn't they have had books like this in high school and college???  The Thinking Toolbox really is full of all kinds of tools that you can use for different thinking tasks such as:

  • When is it dumb to argue?
  • Using the Scientific Method
  • Five rules of brainstorming
  • Who has a reason to lie?
  • How to analyze opposing viewpoints
  • How to analyze evidence and sources
  • How to list reasons why you believe something

Sounds a bit daunting, doesn't it?  But do not fear!  The Bluedorns did a fabulous job of walking you through all of these in an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand and quite entertaining way.   The scenarios and conversations they include will help you apply your new-found skills into real life situations.  After all, what good is a tool if you don't know when or how to use it?


I loved how each lesson was short and to-the-point.  Quite necessary for those of us with demanding toddlers or anyone with a short attention span.  Each lesson also had exercises at the end (don't worry, no crunches or push-ups required!); and each exercise builds on previous exercises which helps to further drive the point home.  Ahem...and for those of you who still worry about tackling logic, there IS an answer key at the end!


Initially, I was quite skeptical of being able to recommend a book about logic, but The Thinking Toolbox is one of the BEST books I have ever read on the subject!  It is self-teaching and offers a Christian view of logic.  It is written for ages 13 through adult and is a very useful way to introduce critical and systematic thinking/reasoning to students.  I think it would be a perfect read for your student before they tackle their next science project or experiment, make a speech, write a research paper, or just any time.  It would also prove quite useful for any mom or dad to get their thinking-ducks in a row as check it out!


chickadee said...

this sounds like a good book. i may have to check it out.

Janne said...

Hey Marsha, I am wrapping up a survey (and contest) on internet security. I am quite interested in the results, since so many seem to have concerns as of late. Please stop by and answer the survey questions.

Quidamae said...

Yup, I need this book. :) Happy reading.

RainyDayMichele said...

Looks like a book my 12 year old would love....and maybe I could benefit from it as well. :) Thanks for the review1