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Pretentious, even if well-meaning
on 8 April 2013
Jamie Smart informs us that Innate Thinking®, which he apparently credits himself for discovering, is a "new paradigm" in the Kuhnian sense that will revolutionize everything in psychology. In fact he compares it to be as important and as true as the theory of gravity and germ theory. Such is the self-righteous drivel scattered about his book.
He also refers to THOUGHT in capital letters every time he mentions it, as well as CONSCIOUSNESS and MIND. Oh, and Innate Thinking® isn't the only term he made up which he feels compelled to include a registered symbol or a trademark (TM) after.
At the end of every chapter is a plea to go online and comment on different pages on his website.
The material's alright, even though Jamie is completely arrogant (he calls everything else in self-help a delusion, while praising his own approach on basically every page), he seems to be entirely oblivious to the fact that most, if not all of the principles he divulges in 'Clarity' have been understood for centuries. A lot of what he describes is simply understood by people practicing mindfulness, for example, or Buddhists, or so many other people. It's been around in more recent forms according to a previous reviewer as being "The Three Principles, first described by Sydney Banks and developed by Jack Pransky, added some concepts of his own, registered his 'Innate Thinking' as a trade mark and packaged it up as a corporate and professional development tool. It will probably make him a lot of money and good luck to him".
So what is Innate Thinking®?
Basically, it's the most wishy-washy definition you can imagine.
It's hard to put his enormously vague definition of Innate Thinking® (is that registered symbol annoying you yet? if so don't read the book) into one sentence, but here is my attempt:
Everything good (clarity, wisdom, insight, confidence, happiness, peace, good decision making, security, kindness and every other positive adjective in the dictionary) is our default settings and everything bad is not our default settings, but some strange alien thing caused by believing our clarity / wisdom / insight / confidence / happiness / any other positive adjective comes from anything other than ourselves.
LITERALLY that is pretty much all that is in the book. Ok, you could extend it by a few sentences, but that is IT. The rest is padding. There are NO practical exercises and NOTHING that you can 'do', just loads and loads of metaphors and explanations of his ideas.
By the way, there are absolutely no scientific sources for any of this (I can't remember but maybe one or two studies cited which are then stretched to being 'proof' of the whole book; I just remember being extremely underwhelmed evidence-wise). He hasn't really backed anything up at all.
Now for the positive: he is a good writer and the metaphors he uses are fantastic in explaining the concepts he explains. But I would avoid this pretentious nonsense if I were you.