Think for Yourself



Book Title:  Think for Yourself: Restoring Common Sense in an Age of Experts and Artificial Intelligence
Author:  Vikram Mansharamani
Publisher:  Harvard Business Review Press
List Price:  $30.00
Format: hardcover/eBook, 304 pages
Publication Date: June 16, 2020
ISBN: 9781633699212
Reviewer:  John L. Shea III
Review Date: July 2020




We are so absorbed about missing the right tidbit of information that will help us decide, we lose focus on what we need. We are bombarded with details through which we must sift to find answers. Experts (and Artificial Intelligence) use this FOMO (fear of missing out) to take away our decision-making power. And it’s getting worse. We no longer think for ourselves and let others do it for us. Vikram Mansharamani demonstrates our reliance on others and then offers a way out with an emphasis on context and a generalist philosophy.

Overview of Book’s Structure

There are four parts to this book: Losing Control (2 chapters), The Ramifications (3 chapters), Reclaiming Autonomy (5 chapters), and lastly A Path Forward (2 chapters).

In each part and chapter Mansharamani builds his case with many examples to illustrate why we have become non-thinkers, relying on siloed experts. Tunneled-vision focus on problems leads to lack of perspective. Depth is more favored than breadth. However, the author offers a solution to this predicament.


In Part One (Losing Control), we are drowning in information. (Sturgeon’s Law still applies). It takes more people, with more education and focus, to produce a new invention. We are aware of how many options we have and it’s getting harder to make a decision. The cost of making the right decision often outweighs the possible benefits. Do you get the feeling that it’s appearance over experience taking over? We outsource our decision making to those who claim they can guide us through the deluge.

In Part Two (The Ramifications), the more we focus, the more we ignore and we become blind to more. Intensity compounds the problems. We blindly follow protocols by leaders in all types of organizations, and these leaders operate in only their area of focus. When we outsource decision making, we give up framing the key decisions, of putting them in our perspectives. Focus on one thing and we lose awareness and become less effective with unexpected developments. When we don’t consider the risks, we recklessly push the envelope of our safety and security. Dependence need not lead to blind obedience.


To read entire Book Review, click here



About the Reviewer

John L. Shea III

Texas, USA


Mr. Shea has worn many hats throughout his career: technical writer, editor, instructional designer, and recently, E2E process analyst & project manager, mostly for the telecommunications industry. Ever the communicator, in his spare time he enjoys writing screenplays, short stories, and novels. He lives with his schoolteacher wife and three dogs of varying age and disposition.

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