DEV Community

Andy Lim
Andy Lim

Posted on

The Art of Thinking Clearly - Book Review


Recently I set a goal for myself to read up to 10 pages of a book everyday. I know it may sound easy for some people, but for someone who doesn't really like to read, like me, it's just like asking someone to play F chord when one doesn't know how to play guitar. This is definitely a consistent breakthough and although I missed out to reading (average 1 day per week), but I managed to maintain the consistency, just like coding. I would like to share my book review about a book that I read recently, The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli.


What's so special about this book

This book covers the topic of cognitive biases which each cognitive bias is separated into one chapter and there are 99 chapters in this book. For those who don't know, cognitive bias is a type of error in thinking that occurs when people are processing and interpreting information in the world around them. It is often a result of your brain's attempt to simplify information processing and it affects the way we see and think about the world.

How does it relate to my career journey

There are several cognitive biases that catch into my eyes and find it relatable to my career.

Swimmer's body illusion

This cognitive bias describes how we confuse traits with result. We think that we can get the body of a professional swimmer in Olympia level by swimming a lot, but the truth is, they are professional swimmer because of their good physiques. Similarly, the female models advertise cosmetics to attract female customers to believe that these products make them beautiful. But it's not the cosmetics that make these women model-like but simply those models are born attractive. How their bodies are designed is a factor of selection and not the results of their activities.

I thought that I can be smart by coding a lot like a professional software developer, but the truth is, they are good because they are smart. Being smart is one of traits to be a good and professional software developer, but not the result.

Déformation professionnelle

This cognitive bias describes a tendency to look at things from the point of view of one's own profession or special expertise, rather than from a broader or humane perspective. This book states a good insight, If your only tool is a hammer, all your problems will be nails.

If you are a frontend developer who only focus on frontend and you are brought up to a backend problem, you will only be able to provide the solution from frontend perspetive, same goes to vice versa. It tells me don't expect an overall best solution. To better equip ourselves, we should at least learn some perspectives from various ends, be a T-shaped person.

Not Invented-Here (NIH) Syndrome

NIH syndrome causes you to fall in love with your own ideas. Also, we tend to avoid things that we didn't create ourselves. This is true to certain extent that some of use might want to reinvent the wheel because we think that the things we do are far way better than the solutions provided by third party. I see this as a fallancy that we might easily face into, especially when we are building our own solution. When you face this situation, take a step back and then examine their quality and drawback.


It is hard to summarise this book in a sentence, because there are many cognitive biases and each of them act separately to different situations. If you expect to have steps or roadmap on how to think clearly from this book, well, you may look into another book. This book doesn't work that way. It gives you insights on your behaviour and action when you are facing any situations.

Surely there are cognitive biases that catch into your eyes too and feel free to share with me in the comments.

Happy coding. 💻

Top comments (1)

salika_dave profile image
Salika Dave • Edited

I have recently started reading this book! Thank you so much for sharing some of the ideas here! 🙌