Regardless of one’s political persuasion (apolitical, third party, democratic, or republican) all individuals of this nation would benefit from making the effort to read and understand the concepts presented in this book. It has become clear as a nation, there is a tendency to significantly color ones assessment of information by preconceived notions. This book, in a very straightforward and understandable way, looks at thinking critically by subdividing the topic into three general areas. The first two look at presentations of information in the form of numbers and in terms of words. As many of us are aware numbers (data) can be presented in ways that are terribly misleading and cover up the true meaning of given data. Multiple examples are presented in this portion of the book, which demonstrate the need to carefully assess the different ways numbers can be presented (graphs, tables and maps) to facilitate one’s view of the world. The second portion takes a similar look at the use of words to present to us and for us to acquire information. While much of this information comes from experts whose knowledge and understanding exceeds our own, we need to be a participant in evaluating and analyzing this information. The importance of determining and identifying the expertise is reviewed with multiple examples. The third portion of the book looks at critical thinking. This includes the scientific method, recognizing logical fallacies and trying to identify other potential explanations, and realizing there are things we may not know. At the end of the book an appendix and glossary is included as an aid to clarify certain definitions.
This book was eminently easy to read and as a consequence, easy to understand. There are a few times when multiple detailed explanations and examples are presented to emphasize a point that may slow the reading of that section. It is possible to move through these quickly once the concept is identified and understood. To the old adage that core education should be reading, writing, and arithmetic, there needs to be included the skill of critical thinking. This book will certainly assist in that regard.
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