The Art of Thinking Clearly By Ralf Dobelli


The Art of Thinking Clearly is a 2013 book which initially begun as a series of columns published in leading newspapers in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland by bestselling Swiss writer Rolf Dobelli.

Through 99 short chapters which make up the book, Dobelli, a world-class thinker and entrepreneur, explores the human psychology and reasoning; emphasizing on logic and brain usage to avoid “cognitive errors” or in other words, “stupid mistakes”.

As I read and re-read this book, I’m not in the least bit surprised as to why this book blazed the top ten of Germany’s Der Spiegel Bestseller List for 80 consecutive weeks; has been translated in many languages; and went on to more bestseller lists across the globe in countries that include India, the UK, South Korea, Ireland and Singapore.

This book “forces” me (in a positive way) to reflect on the many decisions I have made in life – regardless if these were good or bad; and irrespective of the outcomes of those decisions. The 99 short chapters make it easy for me to devour a chapter a day. In addition, the author engages in a prose which is neither “pushy” nor “preachy”; gives practical examples that the most common denominator can relate to; and strengthens the examples he gives with anecdotes that delve into the simple errors we are susceptible to make in our day-to-day thinking. Well, we all know that common sense might actually not be as common as we think it is; and this book nudges us to look at the cracks of our rational dynamics.

Some of the chapters of this book explore are:

  • Invested time in something that, with hindsight, just wasn’t worth it?
  • Overpaid in an EBay auction?
  • Continued doing something you knew was bad for you?
  • Sold stocks too late, or too early?
  • Taken credit for success, but blamed failure on external circumstances?
  • Backed the wrong horse?

A bedside read that will always stay in fashion, for me at least!