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Building Better Business Book Club 

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Book Review: More Time to Think by Nancy Kline

I first read “Time to Think” by Nancy Kline in 2001, and reread it recently. More Time to Think was published a decade after her first book and it clearly articulates the learning the author has had from using the principles in the first book. There’s no need to read both, but there is benefit in reading either. If you are starting from scratch then More Time to Think is fine to start with.

The Author shows us the benefits of creating a Thinking Environment, so that we can bring our minds fully to bear on the things we need to consider. A Thinking Environment has 10 key elements, all of which are important, but any of which, when applied, improve outcomes. That means that it’s not necessary to be an expert in all of them. By taking each in turn and learning how to apply it to ourselves, in conversation and for larger meetings we can, and will, see savings in time, and improvements outcomes from the start.

Nancy Kline describes 10 components of a Thinking Environment, they are: Attention (really listen, be focused and interested, don’t interrupt); Equality (give equal time to everyone and respect the input without prejudice); Ease (there is no rush, slow down to go faster); Appreciation (appreciate the thinking, appreciate the personal least 5 times more often than criticise); Encouragement (literally create the courage to think without bounds); Feelings (crying makes you smarter, acknowledging feelings ); Information (share facts without bias); Diversity (different people think differently); Incisive Questions (create the question that breaks down blockers); and Place (Where you are, the environment you are in drives thinking, make it work for you).

Nancy Kline describes how are using a Thinking Environment frees us to think deeply and clearly and how that has an extraordinary impact. She shows that in some cases just having the thinking is sufficient for them. Yet, sometimes in order to go further an incisive question is required. Incisive questions that address limiting assumptions and allows the thinker to challenge them and unleash new thinking.

Nancy Kline’s Style is engaging and thought provoking (as one might expect) yet it is more than that. It has a pace, and timbre, and cadence that flows with joy from the page. This is not someone simply imparting their ideas, but someone who can create moods and emotions and feelings that ebb and flow from the page like a gentle tide over warm sand. You sense attention, ease, appreciation and encouragement as you absorb the information, she provides a diversity of views, creates a place of safety and asks insightful questions. She treats the reader as her equal. It is the living representation of the very things of which she speaks. It is a delight to read.

More Time to Think isn’t just another business book. More Time to Think is about changing who we are, it is about our identity as ‘thinking man’ – Homo Sapiens. This is the handbook that will free your mind.

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