We solve countless problems—big and small—every day. With so much practice, why do we often have trouble making simple decisions—much less arriving at optimal solutions to important questions? Are we doomed to this muddle—or is there a practical way to learn to think more effectively and creatively? In this enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring book, Edward Burger shows how we can become far better at solving real-world problems by learning creative puzzle-solving skills using simple, effective thinking techniques.
Making Up Your Own Mind teaches these techniques—including how to ask good questions, fail and try again, and change your mind—and then helps you practice them with fun verbal and visual puzzles. The goal is not to quickly solve each challenge but to come up with as many different ways of thinking about it as possible. As you see the puzzles in ever-greater depth, your mind will change, helping you become a more imaginative and creative thinker in daily life. And learning how to be a better thinker pays off in incalculable ways for anyone—including students, businesspeople, professionals, athletes, artists, leaders, and lifelong learners.
A book about changing your mind and creating an even better version of yourself through mental play, Making Up Your Own Mind will delight and reward anyone who wants to learn how to find better solutions to life’s innumerable puzzles.
And the puzzles extend to the thought-provoking format of the book itself because one of the later short chapters is printed upside down while another is printed in mirror image, further challenging the reader to see the world through different perspectives and make new meaning.
Edward B. Burger is the president of Southwestern University, a mathematics professor, and a leading teacher on thinking, innovation, and creativity. He has written more than seventy research articles, video series, and books, including The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking (with Michael Starbird) (Princeton), and has delivered hundreds of addresses worldwide. He lives in Georgetown, Texas.
“We often claim that education should not just teach facts; it should help us learn how to think clearly. Making Up Your Own Mind is a book that takes that goal seriously. It is brilliantly constructed, clearly written, and fun.”—William C. Powers Jr., former President of the University of Texas, Austin
“Put down your devices, pick up this book, and learn how to amplify your thinking through mind-bending puzzles that sharpen reasoning and enhance creativity. Challenging, fun, occasionally exasperating, always stimulating and engaging.”—Janet Brown, Executive Director of the Commission on Presidential Debates
“This is a marvelous book in the spirit of George Pólya and Martin Gardner, but in the service of higher lessons about how we should think and take joy in our own thinking. In this era of high-stakes testing, where getting the right answer would seem to be the only purpose of solving puzzles, Edward Burger invites us to explore the journey of puzzling itself, arguing persuasively for its deeper and more lasting value. It is on this journey of 'making up our minds' that we discover what we are truly capable of.”—Adam Falk, President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
“Readers of this wonderful book will discover what generations of Edward Burger’s students have discovered: his ability to use puzzles to help them solve the most significant puzzle of all—how to build a meaningful life filled with creativity and the joy of learning.”—Frederick M. Lawrence, Secretary and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and Distinguished Lecturer at Georgetown Law Center
"Edward Burger paints a vision for how education and learning can be meaningful and life changing. His approach focuses on enhancing the life of the mind and how we can all think more deeply. He also offers, through thought-provoking puzzles, an entertaining way to embrace his practices of effective thinking."—Fay Vincent, former Commissioner of Major League Baseball and former President of Columbia Pictures
“Problem solving is a daily challenge for everyone, whether you realize it or not. Here, Edward Burger supplies the puzzles and gently leads us to solve them by using logic and creativity. He reminds us that even when we fail, we always win. This book is fun and challenging, and could change the way you navigate your life.”—John Mauceri, musician and author of Maestros and Their Music: The Art and Alchemy of Conducting