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Lessons from Critical Thinkers

Methods for Clear Thinking and Analysis in Everyday Situations from the Greatest Thinkers in History
Narrated by: Russell Newton
Length: 2 hrs and 12 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Do you want to ask smart questions like Socrates or be an out-of-the-box thinker like John Stuart Mill and rational like Descartes?

These people have at least one thing in common: They were great critical thinkers of their time, and their shared wisdom lived through the centuries.

Lessons from Critical Thinkers provides intellectual power to engage with and participate in effective critical thoughts, arguments, debates, reading, and reflection drawn from methods in the history of philosophical cognitive development. 

  • Learn to think slowly and deliberately before making a decision
  • Get ready to question opinions and even facts
  • Learn to gather information before jumping to conclusions
  • Accept and expect the biased and flawed nature of human cognition

Lessons from Critical Thinkers gives you a thorough presentation of the ideas and principles of critical thinking practiced by the greatest minds in history. Learn about the most important critical thinking methods to make better decisions in your personal life, career, and friendships.

Equip yourself with the essential methods for clear, analytical, logical thinking and critique in a range of ideas and everyday situations.

  • Discover critical thinking by familiarizing yourself with concepts from other disciplines, like philosophy, cognitive biases and errors, race and gender from sociology and political science, and symbols from rhetoric
  • Apply critical thinking and reasoning skills to your day-to-day problems
  • Find the most rewarding options in any opportunity

Lessons from Critical Thinkers is a helpful audiobook for listeners of any age and background who want to improve their critical thinking skills by learning from the greatest thinkers of all time. Learn to filter out irrelevant information efficiently and prioritize your resources to get the best results. Enhance your communication skills, reasoning, and logic.

Improve your critical, logical, observational, and rational thinking skills with the timeless principles presented in this book.

©2018 Albert Rutherford (P)2019 Albert Rutherford

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  • John
  • Mt. Pleasant, MI
  • 05-02-19

Two thumbs up!

As a philosophy professor who has taught logic for more than 40 years, I was curious to see what a book on critical thinking intended for today's general audience might be like, especially since the term "critical thinking" is used in so many different ways, in so many different contexts, and in so many fields of study, with almost everyone claiming ownership of the term. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to find a very thorough and detailed presentation of great trends in the art of rational discussion, and not the breezy and vague platitudes often found in popular offerings on this topic.

Starting with the Socratic method, and working through the writings of such luminaries as Aquinas, Bacon, Descartes, Kant, and Mill, Rutherford does an excellent job highlighting the central themes and methods which have shaped much of the history of western philosophy, presenting them accurately without watering them down. I found the chapters on Descartes and Mill especially interesting. As a young man, Descartes was disappointed with much of his education, and asked if there was anything of which we can be truly certain. This query led to his famous "method of doubt" as a possible route to indubitable truth. How can one not be fascinated by this? Philosophy at its best. Rutherford also offers numerous tidbits about the lives of the thinkers discussed, which makes the material all the more engaging.

At just over 2 hours, it's an easy listen that keeps the "reader" engaged. The narrator has a voice and style which remind me of the style of a corporate presentation. This may not be ideal for a novel, but for this topic it works perfectly. He is clear, concise, authoritative, and well-paced.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in clear and precise thinking, and/or learning about some of the greatest thinkers of all time. Two thumbs up!

I received this audiobook at no cost, in exchange for an unbiased review.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Truly excellent

This is not only a historical overview, nor is it only an anthology of philosophical thought on critical thinking. What I like best about it is its accessibility, and it’s attempt through being accessible to enable those who are not critical thinkers to develop this trait as part of their personal development, to the benefit of themselves and the communities we share. Worth listening to even a few times, if that’s what it takes, and at a couple hours length that’s easy enough to commit to given the reward. Highly recommended as an introduction, and there’s enough information there to whet the appetite for further study.

I received this audiobook at no cost, agreeing to provide my unbiased review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A great starting point for learners

Preface: This review was written listening only to the audiobook, which was a gift. I did not have the physical text on hand to reference while listening. I also have a surface level familiarity of philosophy from some youtube videos over the years.

"Critical thinking can be used by anyone, you just need to be open to learning about it and working hard to master it" is the conclusion at the end of this book. I think most of us have figured this out already, but we're also reluctant to admit that our critical thinking abilities aren't exactly sharp. Why is this? Through an introduction to several of history's most prominent philosophers, Albert Rutherford aims to guide his readers on the right track to finding the answer for this question.

Rutherford explores the backgrounds and key lessons of the following thinkers: Socrates, Aristotle, Aquinas, Bacon, Descartes, Kant, Mill, Sumner, and Paul & Elder. His summaries of their lives and lessons are well organized and explained, and I didn't encounter a section in his book where I was confused by what he had written.

My favorite chapter in the book while listening was Descartes'. I've encountered explanations of his philosophy before, but Rutherford is the only writer I've encountered so far who has explained to me the motivating force behind Descartes' emphasis on doubt, and why it matters to everyone. I feel everything has clicked into place with this philosopher at last.

My favorite biography in the book is Mill's- Rutherford has a clear, particular interest in his upbringing that he details passionately. It makes me wonder how to apply the sort of lessons from his upbringing into my own life and parenting, which leads me into my main complaint with the book - applying the lessons.

I wish the book had gone the next step in helping the readers imagine scenarios where they could apply what the chapters talked about in their own lives. As it is, the book is a good introduction to concepts, but it could have offered hypothetical situations for helping nail down a particular technique in his reader's minds and helped make a more immediate personal connection with its readers.

Speaking of techniques, the biggest surprise for me was the final chapter on Paul & Elder. I had never heard of the two, but Rutherford goes into great detail with their three principles, model for critical thinking, ideas on intellectual standards, intellectual traits, and steps for sharpening your critical thinking. It is the biggest gem in the book, and I think it's worth reading the book just to learn what this chapter has to offer.

For the audiobook specifically: I found it to be well narrated, and clear. There was one minor confusing section at around 26:12 that I had to replay to understand what was said. Other than that, I have no complaints with the narrator. If you are listening to this with the text, be aware that chapters are organized with headers and if you're listening at a higher speed you may miss when a new section begins.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent, concise review of history’s greatest critical thinkers and what we can learn from them.

Content: I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. Just over two hours in length, it gives a concise review of the history of critical thinking. From Socrates to Richard Paul and Linda Elder, this audiobook walks the listener through the development of critical thinking philosophy. This book would appeal to anyone with an interest in history, philosophy, or improving their own thought process. Although short, this audiobook inspires further thought and provides references for future reading.

Performance: The performance of this audiobook was also excellent. It is well edited, clearly read, and easy to follow.

Overall: Fantastic! I highly recommend as a primer for anyone interested in furthering their understanding of the philosophy of critical thinking.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great book

This book was mainly used to help me with my paper.
It makes an in depth analysis of some of the most prominent critical thinkers in history.
My favourite part was the correlation between freedom and rationality

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Ask The Right Questions To Solve A Problem

This audiobook lays out a great foundation to use critical thinking for asking the right questions to solve a problem. It covers several methods and applies them to practical applications. The narrator is perfect for conveying a vast amount of information and keeping you engaged is what is being said. I enjoyed this audiobook and have used the information contained within in my every day life.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Philo
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 06-19-19

Good survey, gives a good start on its subjects

This one was a pleasant surprise. It is one of those books I would love to have read in high school or college. While not becoming an expert, a reader (listener) can be fluent with the thinking tools and style of some of history's greatest thinkers. I hope this kind of thing is being taught in our schools.

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A Great Survey

I manage a group of technical peoples, and this books has given me a ton of food for thought about problem solving. Also some tips interviewing candidates for critical thinking.

The narrator is a bit bland, but presents the info nicely. There also isn’t much of a story but it is packed full of technical review of great thinkers. It’s fairly dense, will listen to a refresher soon.

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This was fun

I enjoyed the overall themes and the brief synopses of each philosophical figure. the beginning was a little wanting of more information, but the quality and the style of the audio were both top notch.

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  • Kira Adams
  • 03-26-19

Some interesting ideas, but dull narration

This audiobook is a whistle-stop tour through the ideas and advice of several philosophers throughout history realting to thinking critically about what you see, hear, think and feel, from Socratic questioning, to Thomas Aquinas’s cross-examination of ideas, to Descartes’s questioning of reality, right through to Linda Elder’s 21st-century ideas on the links between thought and emotion.

Not knowing much about philosophy, I found this to be a nice introduction, providing a starting point from which to read further about certain ideas I found interesting. However, the information was provided in a very boring way. I feel that a topic as complicated as philosophy needs to be presented with enthusiasm and humour to help make it more interesting and understandable. But listening to this book, it was very obvious that the narrator was just reading text off a page that he had no interest in.

Overall, it’s not a bad listen if you want to pick up some basics of philosophy, but it is a chore to get through.