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Winner of the 2013 Silver Medal in Self-Help, Independent Publisher Book Awards "What do earth, fire, air, and water have to do with effective thinking? Everything, according to mathematics professors Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird. In The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking, the authors draw on these metaphor-laden elements from the natural world to demonstrate how to ask better questions, take calculated risks, learn from mistakes, and, ultimately, transform ourselves into more engaged and thoughtful citizens of the world... The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking is a useful guide for anyone interested in tackling difficult subject matter, particularly in the classroom. The book also could serve as a solid supplementary text in courses on critical thinking."--Jennifer Moore, ForeWord Reviews "If you remember being told by your teachers to think harder and having no idea how, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking should help... This is a snappy, illuminating read that should appeal to anyone who has ever dreamed of being a genius and is willing to strive, step by step, to become one."--David Wilson, South China Morning Post "Thinking is good, enthuses this book by two distinguished teachers of mathematics. You might think you're being creative or having intuitions or conducting a romance or whatever, but it's all thinking, right? And you can learn to think better! So you can, and the advice herein, which includes many practical tenets of 'critical thinking', will surely be useful to many a schoolchild or business leader."--Steven Poole, Guardian (U.K.) "The authors aim to teach readers how to expand their intellectual and creative capacity by adopting habits that train the mind to see beyond the surface level of ideas in order to find innovative ways to solve problems... Overall, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking is a quick, easy read that is entertaining and engaging. It's the type of book that you can read in one sitting or read over time as you grapple to master the elements."--Catherine A. Cardno, Education Week "The challenge of books such as these is that, in the wrong hands, the contents can come across as banal generalities and just so much hokum. But the appeal of The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking lies in that its authors are mathematicians by profession, and it shows in how the book is written. It's a very systematic book about being organized and critical in one's thinking, written by individuals whose work demands that they are organized and critical in their thinking. Yet it isn't at all imposing; in fact, the discussion is often down-to-earth, and the fact that the book is structured like a playbook readers can easily apply certainly has its merits. In short, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking is the kind of book I know would have helped me a lot in my days as a student. I'd like to think it will be helpful to students of today, too."--Brian L. Belen, Brain Drain blog "The root of success in everything is thinking--whether it's thinking disguised as intuition or as good values or as decision making or problem solving or creativity, it's all thinking. The surprising fact is that just a few learnable strategies of thinking can make you more effective."--John G. Agno, Business Week's Coaching Tip blog "Inspirational and engaging but also educational and immensely practical."--Anthony J. Sadar, Washington Times "The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird is a fun little book with great tips to improve overall thinking skills... Suited for students who can employ the techniques in the book to earn better grades and become better thinkers."--Brandon Kroll, NACADA Journal "There is undoubtedly much here that would be of practical use to professionals from all walks of life, and indeed other educators, such as management trainers and coaches. As a practical and helpful guide, particularly for students seeking to improve the quality of their thinking and learning, The Five Elements of Effective Thinking is a thought-provoking and useful manual."--Jonathan Gravells, Teachers College Record "Teachers from primary grades to university courses can use the model in this book to deliver curriculum in a way that students are forced to develop thinking skills to successfully understand the material they are being taught and to identify their own next steps in learning. Although the authors draw most of their examples from the learning of mathematics, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking can be applied in any classroom where thinking is emphasized."--Kent Miller, Canadian Teacher Magazine "This is a short book, easy to read and understand. But its value is very high because it teaches us how to change the way we think. It shows us how to think effectively. Our thoughts precede our actions and govern our lives. The way we think determines our success and happiness in life. If these are important elements to you, so is this book."--Paiso Jamakar, Biz India "Whenever you are stuck, need a new idea, or want to learn and grow, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking will inspire and guide you on your way."--World Book Industry "I've applied some of the ideas and they give real food for thought in terms of comparing and contrasting different approaches."--Ian Baulch-Jones, Quality World "[A] short and brilliant book with tips on being a better thinker... [I]nspiring."--Derek Silvers -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Edward B. Burger is the president of Southwestern University, and an educational and business consultant. Formerly he was a professor at Williams College and a vice provost at Baylor University. He has authored or coauthored more than sixty-five articles, books, and video series; delivered over five hundred addresses and workshops throughout the world; and made more than fifty radio and television appearances. His teaching and scholarly writing have earned him many national honors and the largest teaching award given in the English-speaking world. Michael Starbird is University Distinguished Teaching Professor at The University of Texas at Austin and an educational and business consultant. His numerous books, lectures, workshops, and video courses have reached large national audiences of students, teachers, businesspeople, and lifelong learners. His success at teaching people to think has been recognized by more than fifteen awards, including the highest national teaching award in his field as well as statewide and university-wide honors selected from all disciplines. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.

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Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Many of the contents are plain old common sense, which are often overlooked when we live in a world flooded with information.

1) Understand simple things deeply, in order to grasp complex things effectively
2) Learn through mistakes to get a broader perspective
3) Create and ask questions
4) Understand the flow of ideas to realize the context in which ideas exists

The above four principles of effective thinking and learning are explained metaphorically using four classic elements of earth, wind, water and fire. The fifth element is the quintessential element, representing the change that a person will have to undergo in order to act on the first four elements.
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Die Autoren beschreiben sehr gut auf was es beim Denken ankommt.
Von Fragen stellen bis Fehler machen um neue Erkenntnisse zu gewinnen usw.
Es werden viele Übungen vorgestellt und der Nutzen ist für alle Lebensbereiche gedacht.
Ein kleines Buch, das den Kern des Denkens herausarbeitet und als Basis dienen sollte bevor man andere Konzepte, Strategien anwendet, die letztlich auf diese Kernelemente beruhen.
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Sehr nützliche Anweisung zum wirksamen Denken - gute Beispiele und hervorragende Zusammenfassungen der wesentlichen Elemente. Gut in der Praxis umsetzbar.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) HASH(0x92fe8bc4) von 5 Sternen 145 Rezensionen
148 von 162 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x93049e88) von 5 Sternen If you have ever wished you could learn to think like a genius, this book is for you. 27. August 2012
Von Allen Coin - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
I originally became interested in this book after reading a blog on PsychologyToday by one of this book's authors. The blog essentially discussed the values of failure, and how accepting and even encouraging failure leads to a better attitude about learning.

This book is one of the few books I have ever read in one sitting. I became very interested in the authors' message, and found the writing to be straightforward and logical. I noticed that the authors do not needlessly repeat themselves, which is funny because in the first chapter they discuss how they initially wanted to literally print the entire text three times, but their publisher wouldn't let them. Good call, Publisher. I have noticed in reviews about similar books to this one (in the same vein of learning how to think better, or be more successful, etc.) that people often complain about the author(s) repeating the material over and over again in different words, as if to take up space. The Five Elements of Effective Thinking is logical, condensed, and never rambles. Reading this book is like drinking a shot of intellectual espresso.

The basic point of the book is that there are 5 qualities of thinking that all effective thinkers share. Because it is about effective thinking, the authors rely on a lot of examples of effective thinkers: Famous examples like Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein, and examples of students who learned how to think effectively, like Mary, and the mathematics professor Dr. S who was once the worst mathematician in his class and later went on to receive his PhD in maths. All of the examples are fairly inspirational, and I think they highlight the fact that this book really is a self-help book of sorts, or maybe more accurately, a self-improvement book. I expected to see a little bit more of a psychological analysis of the thinking strategies of smart/successful people, or maybe a little more focus on truly practical tips about thinking, but it is mostly a general overview of a few simple ways to think and behave that the authors believe will make you successful (and they are probably right).

I went into the book with the understanding that the authors were a couple of mathematics professors, so I was surprised to see how much of a focus the book has on the humanities. There seemed to be more examples about art and philosophy than there were about math and science (this would require a more detailed analysis). Indeed I was delighted at how interdisciplinarily the authors of this book approach the whole topic of learning how to think better. At many points during the course of the book I was reminded of David Foster Wallace's commencement speech at Kenyon College, in which he discussed the values of a liberal arts education, and how the cliché goes that a liberal arts education is about "teaching you how to think." An excerpt from DFW's speech: "I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience."

Indeed many of the ideas that Drs. Burger and Starbird discuss will be familiar to anyone who has ever taken a creative writing class: Don't be afraid to write something bad, just recognize that it is bad, figure out why it is bad, figure out what about it is good, and then write it again except leave out the bad stuff and emphasize and expand upon the good stuff. The authors do a very good job of expanding upon this basic procedure (whatever you may call it) and applying it as a general philosophy of how to think.

The "Elements" in the Five Elements of Effective Thinking refers to the classical elements: "Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Heart, Go Planet!" Oops, I mean Earth, Fire, Air, Water, and The Fifth Element is Love (kiss me Leeloo). Oops sorry, I mean the fifth element is Change. What I'm trying to get across here is that the Classical Elements thing is a little overdone in pop culture, and honestly I think the book would have been better served to just leave that bit out. I don't think the authors needed metaphors to Hellenic Physics (which were ultimately totally and completely wrong) to build their theory about effective thinking.

The authors make a few allusions to how they think the education system should work (such as instead of having transcripts with grades for specific classes on them, having a transcript that lists specific skills mastered, and some other pedagogy about effectively asking questions). What I'm really looking forward to is a book by the same authors talking about the 5 Elements of Effective Teaching (if this book comes out, I expect a cut, okay guys?).

On a final note, I must give props to the editor. I did not notice one single misspelled word or misplaced punctuation, which seems to be exceedingly rare in first editions these days.
35 von 39 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x93059894) von 5 Sternen Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten. - Skinner 9. September 2012
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
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"The root of success in everything, from academics to business to leadership to personal relationships and everything else, is thinking - whether it's thinking disguised as intuition or as good values or as decision making or problem solving or creativity, it's all thinking... Doing anything better requires effective thinking - that is, coming up with more imaginative ideas, facing complicated problems, finding new ways to solve them, becoming aware of hidden possibilities, and then taking action. What is a surprise is that the basic methods for thinking more clearly, more innovatively, more effectively are fundamentally the same in all areas of life - in school, in business, in the arts, in personal life, in sports, in everything. The other surprise is that those methods of effective thinking can be described, taught, and learned. They are not inborn gifts of a special few. They are not so esoteric that only geniuses can master them. All of us can learn them and use them, and that is what this book is about."

As pointed out by previous reviewers, this book is slim in size, but nevertheless large on content. The authors have developed an excellent system for applying their 5 elements of effective thinking: Earth = Understand Deeply, Fire = Make Mistakes, Air = Raise Questions, Water = Follow the Flow of Ideas, and "The Quintessential Element" = Change. When I first read about their system in the introduction, it seemed a bit odd and hokey, but by the end of the book, I was very much impressed with the cleverness of the whole scheme. Additionally, the authors have sprinkled in some useful quotes and copious examples to illustrate their points. In sum, I believe this book really does capture what it means, and what it takes, in order to be an effective thinker. It would definitely make a wonderful read for students about to enter, or currently in, high school. (For an equally good, but more advanced book on this same topic, I would suggest James R. Flynn's book: How To Improve Your Mind: 20 Keys to Unlock the Modern World)
59 von 69 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x930598c4) von 5 Sternen Some useful information, but rarely expands beyond common sense 22. Januar 2013
Von Reviewer Dr. Beth - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
NOTE: I received a free copy of this book to review for the web site Metapsychology Online Reviews; please see that site for a more detailed version of my review.

Authors Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird assert that throughout history, what the world's most successful and accomplished people have in common is not solely great intellect but rather, a different way of thinking. They emphasize that these concrete thinking strategies can be taught to anyone, and thus, they introduce five learning strategies in this book. The authors associate each technique with a specific element (a metaphor which feels a bit forced at times). Briefly, the strategies are as follows: Earth, understand deeply; Fire, make mistakes; Air, raise questions; Water, follow the flow of ideas; and The Quintessential Element, Change. Their chapters combine short paragraphs, brief anecdotes, personal stories, exercise suggestions, and the like; the narrative is constantly broken up, similar to a "For Dummies"-style book.

I found the value of "Earth" to be minimal. Here, the authors primarily highlight the dangers of rote memorization; their main advice seems to be to simply spend more time with a subject in order to learn it more thoroughly. Conversely, "Fire" provided more practical information, offering specific examples of how mistakes can be useful as well as suggesting ideas for building on failures to find success. But the chapter on questioning is again more basic, providing common-sense suggestions such as exploring issues from various viewpoints and ask better, meta questions. In "Water," Burger and Starbird are even more vague, talking about how new ideas often arise from the unexpected and recommending constantly looking for ways to improve upon concepts--hardly earth-shattering advice. Finally, in this section on Change, Burger and Starbird merely make the point that changing means doing things differently.

In the end, the main problem that I had with 5 Elements was a lack of a clear audience for this information. It seems likely that more dedicated learners and intellectuals are apt to discover the main tenets posited by the authors for themselves. On the other hand, it is difficult to believe that those who are perpetually struggling with scholarly pursuits would give much credence to--or even take the time to read--a work such as this one. For this reason, I believe that the subject of this volume may have been better suited to a magazine article, blog, or other venue rather than this format.
35 von 42 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x93059ccc) von 5 Sternen Great Short Book on Thinking 28. August 2012
Von Book Fanatic - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is short and to the point, but that doesn't take away from its powerful techniques for effective thinking. By focusing on 5 elements, the authors make their ideas very actionable. Their recipe is simple and straightforward, but not necessarily easy to implement.

When I first read in the introduction what the 5 elements were, I was a little underwhelmed. However, the authors don't disappoint in the details. They think and write deeply about each one. They are:


This is really an excellent book. The ideas and recommendations have been well thought out. Obviously the authors followed their own suggestions in creating this book. I very highly recommend it.
13 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x93059e7c) von 5 Sternen Great Title - Interesting Concepts - Needs more "How" 22. Juni 2014
Von J. Larson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I loved the title of the book and was really interested in the chapter descriptions. After making my purchase and starting to read I was disappointed at the lack of depth in the book. Some of the stories were from other books I read and some of the explanations were on the surface or incomplete. As a reader I wanted more "How" coupled with the "What" the authors provided.

Here are my notes

1. Grounding Your Thinking
1. Understand simple things deeply
2. Clear the clutter - seek the essential
3. See what’s there
4. See what’s missing
5. Final Thoughts: Deeper thinking is better
3. Igniting Insights through Mistakes
1. Welcome accidental missteps-let errors be your guide
2. Finding the right question to the wrong answer
3. Failing by intent
4. Final Thoughts: A modified mind-set
5. Creating Questions out of Thin Air
1. How answers can lead to questions
2. Creating questions enlivens your curiosity
3. What’s the real question?
4. Final Thoughts: The art of creating questions and active listening
7. Seeing the Flow of Ideas
1. Understanding Current Ideas through the flow of ideas
2. Creating new ideas from old ones
3. Final Thoughts: “Under Construction” is the norm
9. Engaging Change

Summary: A Way to Provoke Effective Thinking


* P. 47 Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. Winston Churchill
* P. 56 A man’s errors are his portals of discovery. James Joyce
* P. 58 The way to get good ideas is to get a list of ideas and throw the bad ones away. Linus Pauling
* P. 92 There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not have been done at all - Peter Drucker
* P. 125 In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks. Warren Buffett


* P. 66 How would you teach something if you had no restraints (budget or time)?
* P. 75 Even when you do know the answer, asking “What if…” is a great way to see more and delve deeper.
* P. 77 Overcoming bias - First acknowledge your biases and then intentionally overcome them by asking - “Do I really know…?”
* P.79 What are the central ideas here and do I truly understand them?
* P. 83 What would someone ask me in order to determine whether I really understand these ideas?
* P. 87 How can I become more engaged in the course material?
* P. 89 How can I learn to think better and understand more deeply?
* P. 91 What beneficial change could this assignment offer me?
* P. 91 What permanent benefit am I supposed to get out of this exercise?
* P. 91 What is the goal of this task - what benefit flows from this task?
* p. 107 How could the current solution be refined to solve the problem it solved even better?


* In 1937 Sylvan Goldman made an observation and then asked a question. He observed that shoppers in his grocery stores were limited to the amount they could carry or place in a basket they held. He asked the question, “How can I help my customers carry more groceries?” The shopping cart was born.
* The assembly line - In order to keep up with the increasing demand for those newfangled contraptions, horseless carriages, Ransom E. Olds created the assembly line in 1901. The new approach to putting together automobiles enabled him to more than quadruple his factory’s output, from 425 cars in 1901 to 2,500 in 1902. ( accessed June 16th 2004). Henry Ford improved on Olds invention by adding conveyor belts.


* P. 51 “This attempt is wrong because…..”
* Have the individual make a guess at a question
* Ask if they think the guess is correct
* If they don’t think the guess is correct then ask them for one thing that is wrong with your current answer
* Now fix your incomplete answer to remove as many defects as you can.
* P. 59 Just get the information down
* Open a blank document on your computer
* Quickly type any ideas that you have about the issue.
* Read what you wrote and focus on two features: What’s right and what’s wrong
* P. 61
* My View on X at the start of something
* Teach the concept or provide the experience
* My View on X after the above
* Gives folks prospective and an idea how their thinking has expanded or changed.


* The Articles of Confederation vs. the US Constitution vs. the Constitutional Amendments - Research this more. AOC were a dismal failure…Constitution monster success.
* Today it is unacceptable to tell racial or ethnic jokes. These jokes are considered demeaning and reflective of prejudice. Yet we still hand out grades in school. What do you think a failing grade makes a person feel like? What would be an alternative to provides grades as a way to demonstrate skill mastery?
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