A year ago, my former manager (now partner) at Accenture, Bogdan Konsur, gave me this book written by Chicago professor Nicholas Epley. After graduating from CBS, I finally had time to read it and found it very interesting and insightful. The book is based on studies of neuroscience and psychology, and is filled with experiments of how the human mind works and how its inherent limitations could cause misunderstandings of others. Here are my key takeaways:
How to be a better “mind reader”? Put less effort on trying to read others’ body language or “putting yourself in their shoes,” this amounts to little more than imagination and guess work, and could exaggerate misunderstandings. Instead, try harder to GET another person’s perspective instead of trying to TAKE it.
Imagining/guessing is easy because it is quick and often works reasonably well based on one’s own mind, stereotypes about others’ mind, and others’ observed actions, but each of these are simplifying heuristics that give imperfect insights. Asking is a slower and harder process therefore a path taken less often, but it is the way you understand people more accurately, and the way you solve their problems more effectively.
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