WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: Elastic by Leonard Mlodinow

I am a big fan of Leonard Mlodinow’s work, and can recommend anything he writes! He knows his stuff and writes in a way that is easy to understand, engaging and frequently humorous!

In this book he explores the power of flexible thinking in a constantly changing world. The book covers how we approach change, how and why we think, where new ideas come from, and how we can ‘liberate our brain’ to think more elastically! There are some very entertaining headings in the last chapter, including “Let’s go get stoned”, and “In wine there is truth; also in vodka” (but the substance of those chapters is based on fascinating scientific research, not just the experiences of our youth)! Much of the content aligns very well with the work on intuition (which I’ve talked about before in book reviews and also in our webinar about intuition in conflict), especially the chapters on where new ideas come from.

Mlodinow compares analytical thinking with what he calls elastic thinking. He argues that while analytical thought can yield an answer, it can also come without conceptual understanding, and far less potential for learning.

In contrast, elastic thinking is when we achieve our ideas and solutions without a clear idea of the steps needed to get there. It is inspired by emotions, which stimulate us to generate alternative ideas and invent a way to choose from among them.

Today, as the assumptions of the past are being rendered obsolete at a blinding pace, the ability to restructure your thinking is less and less a requirement for standout achievement and more and more simply a requirement for survival.

I took pages and pages of notes from this book. It’s full of really fascinating information and great advice for developing our elastic thinking! Very highly recommended!

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