Adam Grant || Think Again

February 4, 2021

On today’s episode, Adam Grant discusses the importance of thinking again. Adam is an organizational psychologist at Wharton, where he has been the top-rated professor for seven straight years. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of four books that have sold millions of copies and been translated into 35 languages. His work has been praised by J.J. Abrams, Bill and Melinda Gates, and many others. Grant’s TED talks have been viewed more than 20 million times, and he hosts the chart-topping TED podcast WorkLife with Adam Grant. He has been recognized as one of the world’s 10 most influential management thinkers, Fortune’s 40 under 40, Oprah’s Super Soul 100, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Adam received distinguished scientific achievement awards from the American Psychological Association and the National Science Foundation. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Allison and their three children.


[4:17] What is rethinking?
[7:02] “Preachers, prosecutors, and politicians”
[8:08] Why we need to cultivate a scientific attitude
[11:48] The path to being effective
[12:17] Linking character and success
[16:10] Adam’s new construct of character
[20:42] The importance of authenticity and integrity
[25:05] The role of consistency in exercising our values
[30:37] The role of integrity in politics
[33:07] The tension between personality and pursuing values
[36:08] “A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing”
[38:32] The trap of cognitive entrenchment
[40:50] The importance of having diverse interests
[41:40] Cognitive underpinnings of thinking again
[42:31] Actively open-minded thinking
[45:53] The benefits of disagreeableness
[51:42] Selfishness as the 6th factor of personality
[57:31] Why “agreeing to disagree” is wrong
[1:00:04] How to destabilize stereotypes
[1:05:25] Psychological safety in universities
[1:09:40] What “good faith” means
[1:11:18] Crossing psychological safety with accountability
[1:12:59] What Scott thinks Adam should rethink
[1:17:26] The importance of benevolence and universalism



6 Responses to “Adam Grant || Think Again”

  1. Aubrey Bone says:

    First heard you earlier this week on Shankar Vedantam’s Hidden Brain podcast. Like your style and delivery. Definitely in concert with your statement that HOW a message is delivered matters.

  2. Gretchen says:

    Such a great discussion on an important topic. I will definitely start using the suggested alternative to ‘agree to disagree’. What a fantastic way to show someone the value of their views instead of (perhaps) going away feeling unheard. Thanks for your enlightening work, it is so needed. ☺️

  3. John Danzer says:

    Instead of “re-thinking” what about re-searching, re-visioning (revising), re-orienting.
    Thinking seems to be in the area of prosecuting and defending. The brain serves that function well. Our senses are valuable in expanding and opening up new horizons.
    That’s where we are likely to get the new material to change peoples thinking. Thinking is usually our brains making up false narratives. Our brains tell lies.

  4. Jen says:

    It was quite lovely listening to the two of you academically dance. Nice moves by both of you !
    When discussing the agreeable and disagreeable people, my mind immediately went to the morality work of Jonathan Haidt’s. Very much the image of his analogy of the elephant and the rider came to mind. I think the righteous mind due to our innate moral make up has a strong connection to how we we can work towards understanding our own mind, in the moral context and how that plays out with agreement and disagreement. Staying curious is key.

  5. Mike says:

    Ideally, people should be responsible for what they say. But who gets to decide what’s taboo and off-limits and the methods of holding someone to account? I don’t see how the popular practice of calling-out and shaming ever causes anyone to re-think. What I think is more likely to happen is people double-down or go silent and go underground. There’s a rule of thumb a personal defense instructor told me to keep in mind if I were to find myself in an in-person, interpersonal conflict: “when the talking stops, get ready to fight.”

  6. Patrick says:

    On the Scott’s remark about the acontextual nature of some items and Adam saying “It want to know how … *on your worst day*”: this might also be non-monotonous relationship between difficulty of circumstance and behavior, e.g. U-shaped.
    (btw, I have to add this: often people use “linear” when they mean “monotonous” and “U-shaped” when they mean “non-monotonous. Hence I’m always puzzled when people say “linear”: do they really mean linear or monotone?)

    @Scott: can you please go back to posting mp3 files in the feed instead of m4a? Aside from being able to do more with mp3 files, AFAIK, my player doesn’t support m4as. I have to download that file, open it in an audio editing program, convert it to mp3, save it, and push it to my player. Maybe some other folks have a similar problem.

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