Cover Image: Black-and-White Thinking

Black-and-White Thinking

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Member Reviews

Black-and-White Thinking by Kevin Dutton is a non-fiction book focused on why we think in dichotomous terms (e.g. good vs bad; black vs white) and how we can combat this default mode. The author explains thoroughly the value in thinking black and white for emotional, psychological, and pragmatic reasons. The author then moves to the downfalls of black and white thinking and how we react when we are faced with things that are seemingly incongruous. 

Notably, the author presents a new theory of social influence, referred to as supersuasion. Supersuasion creates the ultimate black and white thinking by using three concepts 1) fight vs flight 2) us vs them and 3) right and wrong. The author shares an example on how this is related to COVID and how people see have such different opinions due to the language used. 

Overall this was an interesting, but dense read. One quote I loved was "“Life works because our brains are black-and-white. But wisdom lies in knowledge of the grey” which highlights the importance of not over-simplifying our complex world. I would recommend this book to individuals wanting to learn more about why we are currently divided and that this is not limited to our current times. 

Many thanks to the publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Netgalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.
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Kevin Dutton’s “Black-and-White Thinking” is thought-provoking read that is perfect for our painfully fractured and divided society. His ability to normalize what we have demonized in society is refreshing. We are all extremists. We are all biased. We all engage in stereotypes. It is easy to split those phenomena as all bad. However, perhaps it is better to sacrifice a utopic or myopic reality for what is actually before us, or, rather, perpetually within us. A fascinating read!
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