I was pulled up short last week. A new book arrived from Amazon called Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn and I was delighted to see it. I’d heard about the title from one of David Maister’s podcasts (actually I get most of my book recommendations from bloggers I respect). I flicked through the table of contents nodding at chapter titles like “The Trouble with Carrots” and “Pay for Performance: Why Behaviorism Doesn’t Work in the Workforce.” Then it struck me: “I’m only reading things that confirm my current beliefs.” I quickly looked at my lists of regular blog reads—the same! Dang! “Note to self: actively seek out alternative views.”
So perhaps you can help me out. After I read Punished by Rewards, what is the best alternative view?
I think my strategy will be simple. Contact the best known proponent for an idea that I agree with and ask them who they think mounts the most robust arguments against their view (I’m always amazed at how many of these intellectual super stars reply to my emails). Hmmm. They’ll probably dislike this person and reject their point of view outright. It will be more difficult than I first thought.
How do you seek out the alternative view? Do you do it systematically?
Here are a few opposing ideologies (probably too strong a word and too simplistic) that I’m aware of that are relevant to my interests.
complexity — rationalism
Polanyi — Popper
constructivism – cognitive science
behaviourism — (still learning about this one)
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on: