Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Thinking Toolbox: A Review

I can heartily recommend The Thinking Toolbox: Thirty-Five Lessons That Will Build Your Reasoning Skills for your family. The book, authored by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn, follows the success of The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Six Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning.

The lessons in Thinking Toolbox are obviously meant for children or young adults, but that's not to say that adults have nothing to gain from reading the book, and ideally, participating in the lessons with their children. I plan to use it with mine, if I am so blessed. :)

There are many areas of life for which modern academia has left children--students--woefully unprepared: two that leap rapidly to mind are domestic concerns (the "basics" required to live a successful adult life) and critical thinking skills. As valiantly as many classroom teachers try to instill the latter in their charges, they don't stand much of a chance against the wiles of media culture. At least that's what I perceive. I don't see many teens or young adults applying critical thinking tools to, say, television programming or their favorite music. It's directed at them with calculated precision, and any "how to think" lessons taught in a period or two at school just don't hold a candle to the video and audio onslaught of sensuality, rebellion, and irreverence that's before them at the click of a button.

The Thinking Toolbox is aptly named. And children aren't the only ones who might learn something! It is never a waste of time to examine how and why we believe what we do, how we formulate opinions and arguments, and how to discern a faulty argument when we hear one.

(This book was provided to me by Mind and Media. I was not paid anything for this review.)