Friday, October 21, 2011

The Thinking Life by P. M. Forni

Forni wants “to get as many people as possible to get serious about serious thinking.” (xv) The “good life is the thinking life,” he says. (xv) “Good thinking, however, doesn't just happen; it is the result of personal commitment.” (3)
We think we don't have time for good thinking. That means we must bypass “the ever-present temptation to divert and amuse ourselves...” (4) He has several suggestions for prioritizing activities, leaving time for deep thinking.
Attention is the bedrock of thinking. Chronic time poverty results in continuous partial attention. Forni suggests we concentrate on whatever we are doing, no matter how mundane.
Good thinking requires reflection and introspection and he speaks to their necessity and their benefits.
It is important to think before we act. When you've seen someone do something stupid, haven't you said, “What was he thinking!” He probably wasn't!
Patience is a necessary virtue and he gives some tips on thinking and emotions. He tells us how to be proactive and how to choose between options. He explains creative thinking, that which comes before the “Eureka!” experience.
He notes that is debatable whether one can be “taught” to be an outstanding thinker. He does, however, give suggestions on taking the first steps in this endeavor.
Forni ends his book with an encouragement to be thoughtful in both its senses: be a thinker, be considerate.
He says, “In our ever more complex and vexing world, we need increasing amounts of outstanding thinking to solve our problems and to chart our future.” (136)
Practical suggestions for action are included at the end of each chapter.
“This book has given you an alternative to the life wasting of the age of distraction.” (169) I hope this review has given you something to think about!

St. Martin's Press, 170 pages.

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