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The End of Many Books

Clear Thinking

Turning Ordinary Moments into Extraordinary Results

by Shane Parrish

I’d recommend this book for people who need to make a myriad of decisions, and especially for those who forget how they’ve already made the thousands of decisions behind them (you know who you are). If you know your priorities and are addressing your weaknesses, you will be edified by reading this, but I wouldn’t say it will set you on a “new and improved” trajectory.

Parrish acknowledges that he’s written this as a result of working through a lot of material by others. Those who’ve read The Slight Edge and/or Atomic Habits, or Extreme Ownership/It’s Your Ship, or even Antifragile, will hear familiar rings. “Improve your position today” through consideration and use of “every ordinary moment” isn’t ground-breaking counsel, but it is foundational.

In terms of some things to avoid: “The person who wants to be seen as great shows the world how to manipulate them.” (Loc. 390) In other words, you want to be awesome rather than just look awesome, especially because needing to be seen in a particular light is not the same as doing what’s right whether ot not it’s seen.

Especially for leaders: Don’t let someone else define the problem, do the work to understand it. And in doing so, seek as best as possible to identify the root cause, not a symptom.

And then, even more important than getting clarity is demonstrating courage: “It’s not so much that we don’t know what to do as much as we don’t want to deal with the reality of doing it.” (Loc. 2476)

Flag-planting questions: “Who needs to know my goals and the outcomes I’m working toward? Do they know that the most important objective is?” (Loc. 2812)

Clear thinking for Christians (my application, not the book’s audience per se) involves not just priorities, and knowing we’re going to die some day, but having our affections in order. This book reminds us not to have our default affections get stuck in our (bad) emotions or in seeking the glory that comes from men, or even just the inertia of lazy thinking. We can get better at pursuing the good works that God has prepared for us to walk in.

3 of 5 stars (which means I liked it)