The most critical skill?

large-iconI’m an avid reader. I tend to read a few books at a time (I read one depending on my ‘mood’ at the time).

The other day, I was scrolling through the various sections in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program and somehow ended up in the ‘self-help’ section.   Now, I’m not a fan of self-help books because they tend to try to tell people that they can follow a ‘recipe’ and then they’ll be ‘all better.’  Life doesn’t work this way…but self-help guru’s sure want readers to think that way.

While scrolling through the self-help section, I saw a ton of ‘learn to be wealthy…’, ‘love yourself…’, ‘follow these rules to be X..’ (substitute anything for X) and other ‘standard’ self-help books that, in my opinion, really won’t help many people.

In the middle of all these books, I found one that actually would help just about anyone that read it.   I don’t remember the actual title of the book but it was something like ‘critical thinking – the only skill you’ll ever need.’  If you (or anyone) only reads one self-help book, it should be one on how to think critically and apply the skill to your life.

I’ve written about critical thinking before. I believe its a skill that we all need to continually practice and apply to our lives and its a skill that is lacking these days.  Thinking critically can help anyone in any situation.

Need to get out of debt?  Sit down and think critically about why you are in debt and then come up with a plan to get out of it. Want to make more money?  Sit down and think critically about why you want to make more money and then come up with a plan to do it.  Maybe you won’t become a millionaire but you could get a second job to pay off that debt or send your kids to college.

Maybe you need to reorganize the entire IT group.  Do you go out and buy a book about how to organize an IT group or do you sit down and think critically (and impartially) about how your team needs to be organized to deliver the services that your organization needs?  I know some CIO’s do the former but most successful CIO’s take the latter approach.

Critical thinking is extremely important for a person and for an organization.  If you feel the need to buy a self-help book any time soon, try finding one on the topic of ‘critical thinking.’


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About Eric D. Brown, D.Sc.

Eric D. Brown, D.Sc. is a data scientist, technology consultant and entrepreneur with an interest in using data and technology to solve problems. When not building cool things, Eric can be found outside with his camera(s) taking photographs of landscapes, nature and wildlife.
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