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How to Think is a contrarian treatise on why we're not as good at thinking as we assume - but how recovering this lost art can rescue our inner lives from the chaos of modern life.

As a celebrated cultural critic and a writer for national publications like The Atlantic and Harper's, Alan Jacobs has spent his adult life belonging to communities that often clash in America's culture wars. And in his years of confronting the big issues that divide us - political, social, religious - Jacobs has learned that many of our fiercest disputes occur not because we're doomed to be divided, but because the people involved simply aren't thinking.

Most of us don't want to think, Jacobs writes. Thinking is trouble. Thinking can force us out of familiar, comforting habits, and it can complicate our relationships with like-minded friends. Finally, thinking is slow, and that's a problem when our habits of consuming information (mostly online) leave us lost in the spin cycle of social media, partisan bickering, and confirmation bias.

In this smart, endlessly entertaining book, Jacobs diagnoses the many forces that act on us to prevent thinking - forces that have only worsened in the age of Twitter, "alternative facts," and information overload - and he also dispels the many myths we hold about what it means to think well. (For example: It's impossible to "think for yourself.")

Drawing on sources as far-flung as novelist Marilynne Robinson, basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain, British philosopher John Stuart Mill, and Christian theologian C.S. Lewis, Jacobs digs into the nuts and bolts of the cognitive process, offering hope that each of us can reclaim our mental lives from the impediments that plague us all. Because if we can learn to think together, maybe we can learn to live together, too.



About the Author

Alan Jacobs

I grew up in Alabama, attended the University of Alabama, then got my PhD at the University of Virginia. Since 1984 I have been teaching at Wheaton College in Illinois. My dear wife Teri and I have been married for thirty years. Our son Wes begins college this fall, and to our shock, decided to go to Wheaton. I think he will avoid Dad, though. My work is hard to describe, at least for me, because it revolves around multiple interests, primary among them being literature, theology, and technology. I also watch soccer and write about it, but that's purely recreational. You can find out a lot more about me online: Twitter, Tumblr, my blog, my home page. Google is the friend of inquiring minds.



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