January 06, 2017

An owl. Famously the wisest of animals Credit: tps58 / Flickr Creative Commons

There’s a big difference between intelligence and wisdom, at least according to Thomas Gilovich. He’s co-author of the book The Wisest One in the Room: How You Can Benefit from Social Psychology's Most Powerful Insights. He tells us what wisdom actually is, and how you can become wise:

Three Takeaways:

  • In Gilovich’s mind, wisdom is more than just synthesizing data or knowing facts. It’s the ability to see a problem in multiple ways and to pick the approach that most benefits both you and others.
  • Something that Gilovich discovered while researching wisdom is that we tend to remember the highlights and endings of an experience. So if you’re choosing between taking a longer vacation, or a shorter but more luxurious trip, “take the shorter trip and make sure you do something nice on the last day.”
  • A lot of wisdom boils down to people skills. Gilovich offers up the actions of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower on the eve of the Normandy invasion. As part of the pre-invasion briefing, Eisenhower spent time going around a room of troops shaking people’s hands, silently connecting to each of them, which Gilovich thinks was far better than any speech he could have made.

More Reading:

Body and Mind, Wisdom, Thomas Gilovich, Kara Miller

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