Great book of productivity

My thoughts on “The Five Elements of Effective Thinking”

Books are a good way to inspire oneself. They always help us learn new things. Non-fiction is a good way to fly in the world of things. Digesting them actually teach us how world is functioning. Researchers and experts writing a book is common these days. Currently we are in the information age of experimentation and research.

The important thing is to feel that the assumptions put in a non-fiction book may or may not be true completely and one should judge accordingly. My thoughts may vary with others. Your opinion is equally respected.

I really want to put down a useful review in the below section. I have a strong impression that the book “”The Five Elements of Effective Thinking” can help people to succeed in their careers, students to win their academia, men to succeed in their life.


Edward B. Burger & Michael Starbird are the Maths professors by profession. In their very long career of teaching, they invented new methods for improving students. Observed the life cycle of a student carefully. They tried to support students in their thinking. All those experiences they tried to compile and brought a book. That book is “The Five Elements of Effective Thinking”. Book is very short with around 150+ pages. So give it a try.

The main motto of the book is “Be Your Own Socrates”. Authors suggest 5 main habits that an individual should adopt. Any normal person with these habits can succeed in whatever area they are in.

  • Learn things deeply from bottom
  • Embrace the failure and learn from mistakes
  • Create and ask questions
  • Follow the flow of ideas
  • Life is under construction always. Don’t stop learning.

Rock solid understanding of basics

When we start learning something it is human tendency to lost concentration in a long run and mind only absorbs basic principles or outline . A working man tries to acquire the skill that help him execute the job. He sees the skill as a tool. But a student in a college tries to learn a mathematical concept from it’s root.

Edward in the book suggests us to be a life time student who makes his understanding rock solid. If we learn a foreign language give dedication. If we are learning a new programming language, digest it completely. It needs lot of work, revision. The first habit is to understand things deeply.

Being honest and accurate about what you actually know and don’t know forces you to identify and fill gaps in your understanding.

True happiness is not about earning lot of money. Happiness is that you personally can learn far more and be far more creative and successful than you are today.

The Power of Failure

Success is not a straight road. It has bumps called failures. Many people assume failures as the dead ends in the road. But they are just the bad patches on the road which slows you down in the journey to the destination.

When you make a mistake, note down how you failed. Assure yourself that “there are nine more chances for me to succeed”. Failure gives us effort to cover many angles and aspects of the subject and retry with more knowledge. It is always good to expect failing in the life journey.

Always keep track of mistakes you make and embrace them by not redoing.

We need to think every opportunity as an intellectual mountain to climb.

Create and Ask Questions

When a student listen to a class, and if she didn’t have any questions at the end of the session either two things can happen.

  • She understood the subject completely (or)
  • She is not interested in the class at all

Asking questions is a good habit and the starting point of innovation. If we are forced to ask questions, we keep focus on the subject we learn or actions we perform. So always we should create questions out of thin air. For creating new ideas, one need to continuously question the existing things.

No matter what your stage in life, you are going to develop strengths you do not yet have, and when you do, opportunities will open to you that you have not yet dreamed of

Follow the flow of ideas

If we observe carefully all the ground breaking ideas of the current generation are built on the shoulders of the previous ones. The original thesis of calculus proposed by Isaac Newton is 8 page long. But due to the continuous improvement and research over many decades, it fits now in a 1600 page textbook and it’s applications are everywhere.

Author pinpoints “Every Idea comes from something. So all new ideas you are going to invent will be built around the existing ideas”. Observe the history carefully. The things which are thought as fiction once are reality in this century. Similarly predict what will be in the future.

If I have seen farther than others it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants. — Issac Newton

Be a life long learner

You should never think “I am out of college and my learning period is over”. You should comprehend that “I finished my formal education. But I still want’s to learn and grow. I still have the passion to conquer”. The true joy lies in learning new things and keeping our thought process warmed up.

You should first ask what success means for you and then pose questions that lead to action. When you ask about success, are you really asking about making money? If so, are you making a hidden assumption? Is a Wall Street banker who is fabulously wealthy, but unhappy, successful? Is an artist who lives in poverty, never sells a painting, but loves his art, successful? You must define success for yourself. Only then will you be able to ask the right questions about how you can be successful.

If you read the book, you might wonder how amazingly authors draw the habits for a successful life with real examples. Material is deducted from their decades of teaching experience and ready to help us transform ourselves into a better version than before. “The Five Elements of Effective Thinking” is a book you should save in your bookshelf for a lifetime. If you have any suggestions please ping me

Thanks to authors mainly Edward Burger for passing the valuable information to us. Buy the book here.

For more information and reviews visit this Goodreads link.

Happy reading :)