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Its simplicity is beautiful
on 14 September 1999
To read this book is to have the experience of realising the obvious truth that you have ignored for so long. It is precise and powerful with a beautiful simplicity.
Nancy Kline has spent fifteen years developing the Thinking Environment™, a model of human behaviour that dramatically improves the way people think, work and live.
The book starts with the simple assumption that everything we do depends for its quality on the thinking we do first and that our thinking depends on the quality of our attention for each other.
The opening section builds on this assertion by setting out ten components of the Thinking Environment™. If you do not read beyond these, you will have had a stimulating exposition of how we can be more effective listeners. But this isn't just another book about how to listen. It is a book about how to give people attention and help them to think, really think, creatively, powerfully and beautifully.
The second section shows how the ten components of the Thinking Environment™ can be applied in a variety of work and personal settings to enable others to think effectively for themselves. The simple assertion is made that, 'The brain that contains the problem probably also contains the solution,' and we are shown how we can help that person seek out the solution.
Perhaps the most powerful aspect of the book is the approach to breaking down negative assumptions that people hold. These assumptions act as barriers to being able to think, and Nancy shows us the power of asking Incisive Questions to shatter those assumptions and free us up to think again.
Nancy also proposes some radical changes to traditional work and societal ethics. The removal of competition from the workplace is one such change. To quote the author directly, 'To compete does not ensure certain excellence. It just ensures comparative success.' Furthermore, she urges us to 'Focus on finding a good idea, not on winning' when we engage is conversation and discussion with others.
Simple, challenging and powerful, I can't wait to put the principles of the Thinking Environment™ into practice. I can't wait to see the difference it makes in others and in my relationships with them.