Wednesday, 30 April 2008
"Think" - I Think Not
This post is not about my thought processes. It's not even about me. The cryptic title refers to my views of the book, "Think," by Michael LeGault. [More reviews are available here.]
I bought this book on Sunday in Waterstones having flicked through a few pages. The subject matter: Critical Thinking appealed to me. Part of the cover blurb stated: "Legault mourns the lost art of sharp, incisive thinking in all areas of American life - and challenges us to reverse the downward spiral of poor decision making that costs time, money, jobs, and lives in the twenty-first century." This was all very promising but unfortunately LeGault fails his own challenge. He makes assertions with no supporting evidence and no analysis: not the best approach in a book about critical thinking.
Quoting another author, LeGault says this of critical thinking, "[It] .... is the examination and test of propositions of any kind which are offered for acceptance, in order to find out whether they correspond to reality or not .... It is our only guarantee against delusion, deception, superstition, misapprehension of ourselves and our earthly circumstances."
But then LeGault makes the following statement, "Since 9/11 and the start of the war in Iraq, a fresh wave of anti-American hysteria has swept the world. Even in Canada, a country dependent on trade with the United States for 50 percent of its gross domestic product, over two-thirds of the people say the United States is a negative influence in the world. Two-thirds! This is the same nation that has a love affair with Cuba, a country that has not held a democratic election in fifty years. The opinion of Canadians is not based on critical thoinking or research, but on myth and balderdash dished out by the country's legions of left-leaning scholars and pundits, as well as, ironically, by Hollywood and the U.S. media."
No evidence, no examination: simply a tirade. This is inexcusable even if his view were correct.His whole case blasted apart. Not a scrap of critical thinking here. As a proponent of critical thinking Legault has failed: his book demonstrating the hypocrisy we have come to expect in much of public life.
Do not buy this book.
Use more critical thinking than I did last Sunday. I should have read more and checked reviews rather than buying on impulse.
How disappointing to realise that I am not quite perfect .... yet!