Book Club September Week 1: Think Better

by Diane Wolf in Blog, Book Club
September 5, 2017 0 comments

DWC Book Club September Think Better

Well, it is here. September. My daughter-in-law has had her first pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, so I guess it’s official. I do like fall, but I’m just not ready to say goodbye to summer quite yet. Swimming, biking, sleepovers with the grandkids. Oh well, might as well roll with it and turn over that new leaf. I always think that Labour Day is a better beginning than New Year’s Day. I still feel like I should get new coloured pencils lol.

But, how about just doing something in the productivity arena? This month’s book is Think Better by Tim Hurson, and I’m enjoying it so much! His basic thesis quotes Peter Drucker as he states that ‘it’s not what you know, it’s how you think.” (Page 9). And the good news is that thinking better is something we can all learn to do! Yes, that’s very good news.

Hurson shares three types of thinking that are found in the animal kingdom that represent the kind of thinking we need to move beyond. He calls them monkey mind, gator brain, and the elephant tether.

Monkey mind is when we just run around looking at every new shiny object instead of focusing on completing the task at hand. We all experience times when we are easily distracted, but one important way to think better is to learn to discipline ourselves to focus. Ouch… Yes, I am easily distracted, so I look forward to learning this skill.

The second type of thinking in the animal kingdom is the instinctive reaction that he calls gator brain. An alligator is not a very intelligent animal, and responds instinctively using its primitive brain. We also have that primitive or reptilian brain, and in humans it contains the limbic system (which deals with emotions) and the brain stem, which causes us to react quickly without thinking. Before we have a chance to process whether the situation is dangerous, we may find ourselves reacting by freezing or running away. That’s the ‘fight or flight’ response, and it is instinctual. While that can come in very handy when we are in danger, in many situations, we do need to take the time to stop and assess the situation. Was that gunfire or fireworks? Do I really need to hide under the table? An alligator has only the stem brain in its primitive brain, so it lacks the ability to stop the assess the situation. Let’s not be gators!

The third type of thinking he calls the elephant’s tether. A small elephant is chained to an immovable object so that it can’t escape. It pulls and strains, but cannot get free. Eventually, it stops trying to escape. At that point, the strong chain can be replaced by a small rope, and even the largest and strongest elephant won’t try to escape. It could easily pull away, but it has already learned not to try. We can think that the elephant should be smart enough to try again, but we can’t be too judgemental, because many of us suffer from the same problem! We tried something before, it didn’t work, so we don’t try again… hmmm.. okay, I guess we need to not be monkeys, gators OR elephants!

Fortunately, we have higher levels of brain functioning and we CAN learn to think more creatively about problems and how to solve them. In the next section of the book, Hurson will give us six steps to do exactly that!

As always, if you know anyone who would like to join us, please share this link with them:

And, if you are interested in improving your presentation skills, check out my podcasts at I now have 5 episodes, with episode 6 releasing tomorrow.  You can also find them on iTunes by doing a search for Presentation Professor.

Have a great week!


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