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How to do a book review and look super intelligent at the same time

book club book review communication personal development Jun 28, 2022
Remember at school when we had to do book reviews? That was the start of analytical thinking – of reading more into the situation and understanding a context rather than a single chapter, sentence or word. Looking for the sub text – what is being said without being said; the conversations between and underneath the written words.
Analytical thinking like that is so easy, but it is just not readily taught to people.
When I teach people analytical thinking, we begin with a framework of thinking: scaffolding if you will – a way for your thoughts to safely move around the windows of your mind before climbing down to the door of your mouth.
I teach the 5Ws and a How question as a framework of thinking about anything. Before you blast off your initial thoughts and needlessly hurt or ridicule someone for thinking, daring or doing different to you, ask yourself a series of questions.
Those questions may look like, but not be the same as, this:
What is really being discussed here? What is the essence and the sub text of what the person is trying to say? What may be behind their thinking? What if they know more about this than I do?
Why would they say/think something like that? Why am I being asked to comment? Why do I feel
scared/annoyed/furious about this? Why is this important in my life?
Where can I get more information about this situation? Where did the speaker grow up – did something happen to make them think this way?
When this situation happens, will it affect me badly? When the speaker asks me my opinion how can I respectfully disagree without this ending in a fight? When on my death bed, is this really going to matter?
Who can I call for more information on this issue. Who will be hurt by this or by me blowing up about it? Who can I debrief with about this?
How would I act if my children/partner/Prime Minister were here? How can I act so that I am seen as a sensible person with a considered view point?
All you have to remember is the 5 Ws and a How when you are asked about your thoughts on anything: a book, a piece of news, a social issue, Aunt Betty’s drunken behaviour at Christmas.
Next time at book club when someone asks you what you thought of the book, imagine there is a Doctor inside your head warning you that you have to switch thinking for your mouth to work appropriately (actually, I read with the 5Ws and a How in mind so I am ready to go at book club).
Quickly and silently run through the 5Ws and a How before you answer. It is going to make you look real smart and it doesn’t matter if you think differently to anyone else there because you are following an evidence based formula of thinking and responding.
What matters is that you thought analytically about the book.
Here’s a book review I wrote using the 5Ws and a How framework of analytical thinking.
Here’s a white paper on Bibliotherapy. Written for folk who care for kids, the nine steps of bibliotherapy apply to ANY book for ANY age and are a helpful guide when thinking about book reviews
PS: If you would like to come to our monthly online personal development book club just drop a comment below and I’ll email you our zoom link. Book Club is always the second Thursday of the month at 6.30pm AEST.

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