The Art of Thinking Clearly Book Summary – 100 Thinking Errors

The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

The Art of Thinking Clearly talks about, how people think they know everything and live in that state of mind, they don’t want to accept reality, no matter what happens. No matter what you do in your life, you can’t control everything, one of two things will get messy because of other people, accept that.

The book has 100 chapters and each chapter has only 2 or 3 pages, now this is that kind of book where you don’t have to read it from the start, you can start reading from anywhere.


“If 50 million people say something foolish, it is still foolish.” – Rolf Dobelli

“Whether we like it or not, we are puppets of our emotions. We make complex decisions by consulting our feelings, not our thoughts. Against our best intentions, we substitute the question, “What do I think about this?” with “How do I feel about this?” So, smile! Your future depends on it.” – Rolf Dobelli

“There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don’t know, and those who don’t know they don’t know,” – Rolf Dobelli

“The human brain seeks patterns and rules. In fact, it takes it one step further: If it finds no familiar patterns, it simply invents some.” – Rolf Dobelli

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The Art of Thinking Clearly Book Summary

The Art of Thinking Clearly is one of those books that will give you a clear idea of the way you think and talk. Rolf Dobelli has talked about 100 thinking errors and no matter how smart you think you’re, it will show you a weak part of yourself and make you a wiser person.

The human mind is always looking for shortcuts and this is where the book will teach you to understand yourself and to make better decisions because sometime, you will take a life decision to make someone happy, and afterward, there will be regret.

Now, I have read the The Art of Thinking Clearly in the beginning of 2022 and I have taken quite of few notes which I will share with you along with the thing I have learned from the book.

You Don’t Have Control Over Everything

Let me give you an example,

Every day, shortly before nine o’clock, a man with a red hat stands in a square and begins to wave his cap around wildly. After five minutes he disappears. One day, a policeman comes up to him and asks: ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I’m keeping the giraffes away.’ ‘But there aren’t any giraffes here.’ ‘Well, I must be doing a good job, then.’

A friend with a broken leg was stuck in bed and asked me to pick up a lottery ticket for him. I went to the store, checked a few boxes, wrote his name on them, and paid. As I handed him the copy of the ticket, he balked. ‘Why did you fill it out? I wanted to do that. I’m never going to win anything with your numbers!’

‘Do you really think it affects the draw if you pick the numbers?’ I inquired. He looked at me blankly

The illusion of control is the tendency to believe that we can influence something over which we have absolutely no sway. This was discovered in 1965 by two researchers, Jenkins and Ward.

Their experiment was simple, consisting of just two switches and a light. The men were able to adjust when the switches connected to the light and when not. Even when the light flashed on and off at random, subjects were still convinced that they could influence it by flicking the switches.

And you? Do you have everything under control? Probably less than you think. Do not think you command your way through life like a Roman emperor. Rather, you are the man with the red hat.

Therefore, focus on the few things of importance that you can really influence.

If 50 million people say something foolish, it is still foolish

A simple experiment carried out in the 1950s by legendary psychologist Solomon Asch shows how peer pressure can warp common sense.

A subject is shown a line drawn on paper, and next to it are three lines – numbered 1, 2, and 3 – one shorter, one longer, and one of the same lengths as the original one.

He or she must indicate which of the three lines corresponds to the original one. If the person is alone in the room, he gives correct answers – unsurprising, because the task is really quite simple.

Now five other people enter the room; they are all actors, which the subject does not know. One after another, they give wrong answers, saying ‘number 1’, although it’s very clear that number 3 is the correct answer.

Then it is the subject’s turn again. In one-third of cases, he will answer incorrectly to match the other people’s responses.

This pattern is so deeply rooted in us that we still use it today, even when it offers no survival advantage, which is most of the time. Only a few cases come to mind where social proof is of value.

For example, if you find yourself hungry in a foreign city and don’t know a good restaurant, it makes sense to pick the one that’s full of locals. In other words, you copy the locals’ behavior.

So, be skeptical whenever a company claims its product is better because it is ‘the most popular. How is a product better simply because it sells the most units?

Too many options are not a good thing

Have you ever heard of sales? this is where marketing forms play their game.

Let’s you visit, a shopping mall and you show an Apple Counter that says, 1 KG of Apples are sold at Rs 150 while another Apple Counter says 1 KG Apple of Apple was selling at Rs 200 but for today its only Rs 150.

Now, you tell me, from where you will buy Apples, both of them are available at the same price?

Companies are playing with our mind and we’re are also falling for it, so next when you see these kinds of offers, first, check the quality before checking the price.

Sweet Little Lies

Suppose you apply for a job and discover you have lost out to another candidate. Instead of admitting that the other person was better suited, you convince yourself that you didn’t want the job in the first place

I reacted very similarly some time ago when I had to choose between investing in two different stocks. My chosen stock lost much of its value shortly after the purchase, whereas shares in the other stock, the one I hadn’t invested in, skyrocketed.

I couldn’t bring myself to admit my error. Quite the reverse, in fact: I distinctly remember trying to convince a friend that, though the stock was experiencing teething problems, it still had more potential overall.

So whenever these kinds of things happen, first all, accept the reality and stay in the present, and don’t repeat the same mistake again.

That’s the only thing you can do, nothing else will give you that job or the money you lost in the stock market.

The Art of Thinking Clearly Book Review

Should you read The Art of Thinking Clearly, yes, definitely, it will give you a clear idea of what you think. The book has lots of wisdom which will make you a better person than what you’re now, even if you think you know everything, the reality is, there is a lot to be learned.

If you have already read the book then do let me know what you’ve learned from it and if you haven’t then give it a try, you will gain lots of things.

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