"Use inductive reasoning to come up with a theory, and then deductive reasoning to determine if it's actually true."

An uncle once passed me a book on Critical Thinking when I was in my teens. It was thick & filled with words. Dry. While I was more interested in comics & novels back then, critical thinking is definitely gaining prominence as I entered the workforce.

Let’s explore what is Critical Thinking and how does it differs from other forms of thinking with Becki Saltzman in Critical Thinking for Better Judgment and Decision-Making:

a. Assess information quality, relevance & accuracy
b. Make rational decisions on what to do/believe
c. Question to ask: How can we find out if this is really true

a. View things from fresh perspectives
b. Produce new ideas & solutions
c. Question to ask: How can we rearrange this problem to see if we can discover a new solution

a. Generate & apply insights
b. Overcome barriers, solve problems and hit goals
c. Question to ask: How/Why do we do that?

With so many thinking to do, what’s the best way to approach it? Linda Elder & Richard Paul break down the art of thinking into these 7 common elements:

Thinking Element Question to ask
Purpose Why are we doing this
Questions What are the best questions to ask
Assumptions What can we safely assume
Perspective Are we using insights from the wisest points of view
Information How strongly is our reasoning supported by relevant information
Concepts Are we all agreeing on the meaning of this idea or concept
Conclusions What’s the best way to interpret this information

"Bucket your questions to optimize your assortment, and interrogate questions to ask better ones."

Becki Saltzman shared that to foster a great environment for critical thinking, you’ll need to combine open-mindedness with reflective skepticism through asking questions, and preventing cognitive biases from clouding our judgement:

a. Is this a fact
b. How relevant is this information, claim, or reason
c. Is this statement factually accurate
d. Is this source credible
e. Are these claims or arguments ambiguous
f. Are we uncovering assumptions
g. Are we detecting bias
h. Are we spotting logical fallacies
i. Are there inconsistencies in this line of reasoning
j. How strong is this argument or claim

a. Blind Spot Bias
b. Confirmation Bias
c. Affect Heuristic
d. False Consensus Bias
e. Clustering Illusion
f. Availability Heuristic

"Pain from losses impacts our decisions more than pleasure from gains. This loss aversion can negatively impact the quality of your decisions and suffocate your business."

I now know why it’s so difficult to cut loss. Today I learnt about Loss Aversion, where people in general leans towards avoiding losses over achieving gains. If this sounds like you, here’s a decision process framework to help you analyze the quality of your decision process independently from the outcome quality. Did you:
a. Use a preexisting decision framework
b. Gather relevant information
c. Gather irrelevant information
d. List assumptions to challenge
e. Ensure your sources are credible
f. Eliminate biases
g. Include the right people
h. Identify at least 2 alternatives
i. Weight evidence supporting the decision
j. Weight evidence rejecting the decision
k. Choose between alternatives of yes & no

Now that we’ve learnt some foundational knowledge on Critical Thinking and what to do, here’s what not to do:

a. Overreliance on authority
b. Black-and-White Thinking
c. Hasty Moral Judgments
d. Labels
e. Resistant to Change

Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc Claiming a former event caused a latter event
Ad Hominem Ignoring the logic of an argument and instead attack the person making it
Straw Man Substituting argument with a misrepresented view
Hasty Generalization Draw conclusions from limited evidence

Last but not least, use framing to your advantage:
a. Choose a negative or positive frame
b. Take either a gain or loss (uncertain outcome) approach
c. Match (low/moderate/high) emotions to objective

"Use inductive reasoning to come up with a theory, and then deductive reasoning to determine if it's actually true."