Friday, June 29, 2007

How to solve problems in your PhD

I hate self help books with a passion. I find they are written to create a dependence on "self help", which has obvious financial benefits for their authors. If you've already recognized you need help, and you are willing to tackle it alone, than why bother with a book. The insights in these books are usually shallow and meaningless when you actually think about it. This one is unique in that it is directed at PhD candidates. Obviously they are preying on the weak now. It is based on the 6 thinking hat method:

  • "The White Hat: The white hat is concerned with facts and figures. With the white hat you focus on the available information. Look at the information you have and see what you can learn from it. While wearing this hat, try to obtain a good picture of the knowledge available to you.
  • The Red Hat: Red-hat thinking is all about emotion. While wearing the red hat, you look at problems using intuition, gut reaction, and emotion (For example: ‘I hate that idea’ or ‘I would love to try this’).
  • The Black Hat: Black-hat thinking is cautious, faultfinding, and defensive. This type of thinking is important because it highlights the weak points in a plan so that you can eliminate them, modify them, or prepare a Plan B.
  • Yellow Hat: The yellow hat is like sunshine: it helps you think positively. Yellow-hat thinking allows you to see all the benefits of a decision and the value in it. Furthermore, yellow-hat thinking can help you keep going when the going gets tough.
  • Green Hat: The green hat represents creativity. This is the type of thinking at work during a successful brainstorming session. Green-hat thinking helps you develop creative solutions to a problem. Green-hat thinking is freewheeling; anything goes, no matter how outlandish, when you’re wearing the green hat.
  • Blue Hat: The blue hat represents process control. Think of an airtraffic controller or a traffic cop. In a meeting, the blue hat is worn by the chairperson. The wearer of the blue hat must direct the thinking when ideas start to run dry. That’s when it’s time to switch to green-hat thinking. Or perhaps the chairperson will need to remind the others that it's time to put on the black hats and look for weaknesses in the plan."


Dominic said...

podcast 10....soon?

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