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The Art of Thinking by Ernest Dimnet

The Art of Thinking (1928)

by Ernest Dimnet

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No one will read this book without many times closing it, keeping a finger in the place, while his own mind, infected by the activity of the Abbé's, goes off on some excursion. It does not give rules for thinking but it does give many rules for avoiding thoughtlessness and, by delightful example, makes its readers think. Too wise to try to teach what cannot be taught, the lecturer is himself thinking all the time. It is a pleasure and a stimulus to agree or to disagree with him and he is one of those writers who compel his readers to do one or other. For example, he complains that our world is populated by a majority of minors and that our education is unsufficiently serious and too long postponed. Is it? Is it desirable that a man of twenty should 'know the essentials of even the encyclopaedic knowledge of to-day?' Can he learn so young and so fast without sacrificing things more important than knowledge? But how admirable is Mr. Dimnet's indignation at the indifference of parents to the quality of the stuff their children cram into their omnivorous mental stomachs. No parent who can help it gives his child second-best food. And 'no book ought to be left in the nursery that is inferior to Robinson Crusoe, The Arabian Nights, or Perrault's Fairy Tales'. As for grown-ups, 'Never read a book for the style', 'Only read what gives the greatest pleasure', and, finally, 'Do not read good books - only read the best'. His mind plays over one aspect of though after another, the processes of thinking, the tidying up of minds, the right way of reading newspapers, solitude, the persistent ghosts that gibber in the thinker's face, the elusive moths of thought that must be either caught or lost forever.

Arthur Ransome, 'The art of thinking', Now and Then, no. 33 (Autumn 1929), pp. 20-21.
  ArthurRansome | Dec 4, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ernest Dimnetprimary authorall editionscalculated
Schweger, Clotilde T.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449308383, Mass Market Paperback)

1928. Contents: On thinking; How to estimate thought; Real thinking; Possibility of an Art of Thinking; Obsessions or Inferiority Complexes; Thought weakened by life; Living one's life; Living one's life on a higher plane; Elaboration of Data in the Mind; Creation; The root of creation. Idea; How we can get at our own ideas; Be yourself; Find yourself; and Literary production possible to all.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:38 -0400)

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