Achieving Insight

According to Costa, the author of The Watchman’s Rattle: A Radical New Theory of Collapse, what will save us all is the ability of the human mind to achieve insight Gary Klein’s book, Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insight presents a new research approach to this classic topic in psychological research. Klein is one of the pioneers in the development of naturalistic approaches to problem solving and decision making. He has extended this approach to the topic of insight. He reviews the previous work done on the topic of insight and makes a compelling argument that their approaches were too constrained to provide sufficient insight into insight.

Klein collected 120 cases of people finding insight. He used the analogy of an archaeological dig. In detailed analyses of these cases he derives the following basic strategies for achieving insight: connections, coincidences, curiosities, contradictions, and creative desperation. At times combinations of these basic strategies are involved.

The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 is titled “Entering Through the Gates of Insight: How Do Insights Get Triggered? The different strategies for achieving insight are discussed here. He has chapters on Different Ways to Look at Insight and the Logic of Discovery.

Part II is titled “Shutting the Gates: What Interferes with Insights?” The topics of stupidity, how organizations obstruct insight and how NOT to hunt for insights are addressed.

Part III is probably the part that is of most interest to readers, “Opening the Gates: How We Can Foster Insight, “ which includes the chapters, Helping Ourselves, Helping Others, Helping Our Organizations, Tips for Becoming an Insight Hunter, and The Magic of Insights.

My initial thought was to recommend this book quite highly to anyone interested in insight. I most definitely regard it as the best book on the topic. However, on further reflection, and upon rereading the high hopes Costa has for insight, my strong recommendation is for everyone to read Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insight.

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