Refactor Your Wetware

I’m running a book club with a group of people, where we read one book every sixth months. The group is a bunch of people all working with software some way or the other. The books that we’ve read have been very management oriented but this time around we got around reading on the topic of self improvement.

Book cover page, Pragmatic Thinking & Learning - Refactor Your Wetware by Andy Hunt

This book wants you to become aware of how you think, what you think and why you think the way that you do. It also provides a couple of tools to help you think deliberately.

Andy describes a model of thinking where he split the brain into the L-mode and the R-mode, with a shared bus in between. The L-mode is the active thinking you do when you concentrate and R-mode is the background thinking you do when you shut down L-mode. The shared bus means that you can only use L-mode or R-mode, but never both at the same time. Some problems, like pattern matching is easier to do with the R-mode, but in order to engage that line of thinking you need to stop focusing. This is why you solve problems while walking the dog, taking a shower or sleeping. You turn L-mode off and let R-mode do the pattern matching needed to solve a particular problem.

It is just a model and I wouldn’t say that anyone knows if this is the way our brain works, but it does map into my own experience with taking a walk over lunch time to find new perspectives on what I’ve been working on up to that point.

The book continues to build on this model and introduce you to biases and bugs in your brain. It provides tools to be able to alter your thinking and find new ways to think and to learn.

I thought this was a useful book and I would recommend it to you if you’re interested in thinking about thinking.