Book Summary #8: Think Again by Adam Grant

The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

4 min readNov 2, 2023

About the author

Adam Grant is a renowned psychologist, professor, and bestselling author whose work has had a profound impact on the fields of organizational psychology and leadership. He has authored several critically acclaimed books including “Give and Take,” “Originals,” and “Think Again.”

Adam Grant’s insights into topics like workplace motivation, leadership, and the power of rethinking have made him a sought-after keynote speaker, consultant to Fortune 500 companies, and contributor to leading publications. His TED Talks have garnered millions of views and have been instrumental in popularizing his ideas on fostering innovative thinking and building more effective, collaborative, and adaptable organizations.

Chapter wise book summary

What I liked the most about the book was the way concepts have been illustrated using contextual graphs and visuals. A must read!

Part I: Individual Rethinking

Updating our own views

1. A preacher, a prosecutor, a politician, and a scientist walk into your mind

People often fall into different thinking personas — Preachers (holding strong beliefs, who persuade), Prosecutors (challenging others’ beliefs , who defend), Politicians (adapting beliefs to gain approval , who win debates), and Scientists (constantly seeking truth).

2. The armchair quarterback and the impostor: Finding the sweet spot of confidence

Both overconfidence (armchair quarterback) and excessive self-doubt (impostor syndrome) can hinder personal and professional growth. It is important to maintain a balance between both of them.

Checkout what Grant has to say about “Impostor syndrome” in his book.

3. The joy of being wrong: The thrill of not believing everything you think

Embrace the learning opportunities that come from acknowledging mistakes. Evolve your views by learning from the mistakes.

4. The good fight club: The psychology of constructive conflict

Constructive conflict can lead to better decision-making and innovation. Diverse perspectives and healthy disagreements can improve outcomes to a great extent.

Part II: Interpersonal Rethinking

Opening Other people’s minds

5. Dances with foes: How to win debates and influence people

This chapter focuses on effective persuasion and effective communication. It offers strategies for engaging in debates that lead to genuine understanding and change rather than just winning arguments.

6. Bad blood on the diamond: Diminishing prejudice by destabilizing stereotypes

Grant discusses how stereotypes can influence our judgments and interactions with others. He suggests ways to combat prejudice by challenging stereotypes and encouraging empathy and understanding between different groups of people.

7. Vaccine whisperers and mild-mannered interrogators: How the right kind of listening motivates people to change

This chapter emphasizes the power of active listening in motivating others to reconsider their beliefs and take positive actions.

Part III: Collective Rethinking

Creating communities of lifelong learners

8. Charged conversations: Depolarizing our divided discussions

Grant explores methods for depolarizing heated discussions and finding common ground in divisive issues. He addresses the issue of political and social polarization and encourages empathy and open-mindedness in these conversations.

9. Rewriting the textbook: Teaching students to question knowledge

Grant explores the importance of teaching critical thinking and the value of questioning established knowledge to help students develop a more flexible and open-minded approach to learning.

10. That’s not the way we’ve always done it: Building cultures of learning at work

Grant discusses the need for organizations to foster a culture of continuous learning, experimentation and adaptability.

Part IV: Conclusion

11. Escaping tunnel vision: Reconsidering our best-laid career and life plans

In the final chapter, Grant encourages readers to re-evaluate their long-term plans and consider alternative paths. He shares stories of individuals who have successfully pivoted in their careers and lives by rethinking their goals.

“Think Again” ultimately emphasizes the importance of being open to rethinking our beliefs, decisions, and approaches in various aspects of life to foster personal and collective growth and development.

Other interesting points to note

  • The importance of Intellectual Humility: It involves acknowledging that we don’t have all the answers and that our beliefs can change.
  • The dangers of Confirmation Bias: The tendency to seek out and interpret information that confirms our existing beliefs, can hinder our ability to think critically and make better decisions.