This book is a kind of “thinker’s toolkit.” It’s a guide to clear reasoning. The sources range from Plato to Pareto, from Kant to Clausewitz, from Rawls to Rousseau, from Freud to Friedman, and from Adam and Eve to Adam Smith. In these pages, you will be amused by the fallacy of Bertrand Russell’s chicken-and by game theorists’ analyses of the game of chicken. You will see how air conditioning works, how obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is diagnosed, and how General Norman Schwartzkopf started the invasion of Iraq that began Operation Desert Storm.
If some of these names are unfamiliar to you, don’t worry. They’re unfamiliar to many well-educated people. The purpose of this book is to cover methods of thinking that get left out of a lot of educations.
You’ll also encounter the Coase Theorem, the trolley problem, and Arrow’s Theorem of Public Choice. You will see how psychologists think falsehoods can best be detected. You will be introduced to the concept of entropy, correlation coefficients, logical positivism, Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance, Nash equilibria, and Shapley values–even a logic named Barbara from a Latin acronym.
These thinking tools can help you to analyze the arguments that other people make, as well as to develop your own. This book offers the finishing touch to a multidisciplinary education. In practical terms, it also prepares readers to do well on graduate-level entrance exams such as the GRE, GMAT, and LSAT, and improves performance in graduate schools. But it’s not just for college students and test-takers: it’s for readers who want to see, beyond their own field, how logical and creative thinking is done.
In sum, HOW TO REASON is a multidisciplinary explanation, in clear and usable terms and examples, of the current state of knowledge about policy, philosophy, logic, statistics, game theory, legal reasoning, psychology, economics, and basic accounting. It serves as the informed student’s guide to the kind of interconnected learning in several fields that equips him or her for graduate school, entrance exams, and better understanding of concepts used in many courses.
“HOW TO REASON is an audacious new book, much needed. Think of it as a workout guide for healthy independent thinking.”
–James A. Baker III
Baker Institute, Rice University
Former Secretary of State and Chief of Staff to the President of the United States
“HOW TO REASON is rigorous and fun.”
United States Senator
Formerly Professor, Harvard University
Originally published in the First Edition by LexisNexis Group, now updated into the Second Edition published in print by Quid Pro Books.
Available in new paperback edition at such retailers as Amazon.com (and here), our QP eStore page (fulfilled securely by Amazon), Barnes & Noble, BooksAMillion, YBP Library Services, and Ingram. Bookstores may order from these sources, or for direct bulk sales, contact us.
Cataloging: How to Reason: A Multidisciplinary Thinker’s Toolkit
Author: Philip Selznick
ISBN 978-1-61027-274-2 (trade paperback edition); list price $55.99; available Oct. 30, 2014
ISBN 978-1-61027-280-3 (student paperback edition, using thinner paper); list price $55.99; available Nov. 8, 2014
Page count: 576 pp.