Broadly, the book is based on the idea that the way we make sense of the world is largely based on our own internal processing, and far less than we think on the actual external world. Therefore, to improve your understanding of the world – and give you more power when dealing with it – you can change your mental models.
Much of the early part of the book explains this idea in more detail. Personally, I think the authors labour this point too much, and take too long to get to the practical applications. After all, once you “get” the idea that mental models rule your understanding and behaviour, that’s all you need to know before doing something about it!
When the book does eventually offer practical advice, it’s very good. For instance, the authors suggest a number of ways to broaden your thinking:
- Listen to the radicals
- Embark on journeys of discovery
- Look across disciplines
- Question the routine
- Recognise the barriers
- Practise “flying upside down”
- Engage in gradual immersion
- “Destroy” the old model
- Envision multiple futures
- Take a contrarian perspective
These are all extremely useful guidelines for anybody who wants to be more innovative and more creative. If you fall into these categories (and we all should!), or you would just like some new ideas for thinking about the world in a different way, read this book.