Each month here at HMA, we take turns reading and reporting on business-oriented books - book reports, yes, but not the kind you used to stress out about the night before it was due. We get to choose our own books and we read them to gain perspective and continuously look at things from a new and different angle.
This month, I read Problem Solving 101 by Ken Watanabe (no, not the actor). A book that originally began as a guide to teach Japanese schoolchildren critical thinking skills, it has since become popular among adults as well because of the effectiveness of the problem-solving methods it offers.
The book, filled with fun illustrations and organizational charts, uses three examples to demonstrate different ways to solve problems. There's the Mushroom Lovers, a band trying to increase attendance at their performances; John Octopus, who needs to figure out a way to buy a computer so he can pursue his dream of being a CGI animator; and Kiwi, a soccer star who is deciding which school she wants to attend in Brazil to hone her skills.
Though this may sound just like a book you might read to your kids, its success lies in its simplicity. Problem-solving tools are laid out logically so answers become much more apparent. The key is to find the root cause of a problem and explore all possible solutions before making a decision.
At 110 pages, it's a quick read, and definitely one I would recommend to anyone looking to better their critical thinking skills. As Watanabe concludes: "If you make problem solving a habit, you'll be able to make the most of your talents and take control of your life." He has me convinced!