The Rules of Thinking: A Personal Code to Think Yourself Smarter, Wiser and Happier

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February 2023

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The Rules of Thinking: A Personal Code to Think Yourself Smarter, Wiser and Happier


Get ready to experience the Rules effect. Begin to get more out of life, shrug off adversity more easily and generally be a happier, calmer, more fulfilled person. You’ll feel the benefits, and so will everyone around you. 

Table of Contents

Think for yourself 
1 Avoid echo chambers 
2 Don’t be scared 
3 Consider the motive 
4 Beware self-interest 
5 Keep hold of your heartstrings 
6 Don’t be gullible 

Resilient thinking 
7 Know who you are 
8 Seek out support 
9 Take control 
10 Be flexible 
11 Be self-aware 
12 It is what it is 
13 Don’t get over-distracted 
14 Like yourself 
15 Be ready to cope 
16 Better out than in 
17 Cut yourself some slack 
Healthy thinking 
18 Think yourself happy 
19 Focus on other people 
20 Be in the present 
21 Stress is optional 
22 Normality isn’t normal 
23 Evaluate your emotions 
24 Laugh at yourself 
25 Keep learning 
26 No one likes to be incompetent 
27 Practice makes progress 
28 Turn off the action replays 
29 Sidestep bad habits 
30 Appreciate semantics 
31 Keep the bar steady 
32 Look for the spin 

Organised thinking 
33 Believe in being organised 
34 Learn to love a list 
35 Think outside your head 
36 Don’t overload your RAM 
37 Make deadlines your friend 
38 Don’t indulge decision making 
39 Get creatively organised 

Thinking creatively 
40 Train your brain 
41 Feed your mind 
42 Get in the mood 
43 Open up 
44 There are no rules 
45 Spot the box 
46 Think like someone else 
47 Make connections 
48 Make mistakes 
49 Forget about other people 

Problem solving 
50 Clear your emotions out of the way 
51 Make sure there’s really a problem 
52 Check you’re solving the right problem 
53 Loosen up 
54 Don’t settle for your first answer 
55 If it’s plausible, it’s worthwhile 
56 Find a way in 
57 Don’t get bogged down 
58 Try a new angle 
59 Don’t panic 
60 Get help 

Thinking together 
61 You’re better together 
62 Play to everyone’s strengths 
63 Think like a hive 
64 Leave your ego behind 
65 Keep an eye on the quiet ones 
66 Question groupthink 
67 Conflict is OK 
68 Think up a storm 
69 Have stupid ideas 
70 Keep in synch 

Making decisions 
71 Decide what you’re deciding 
72 Don’t start at square two 
73 Set yourself boundaries 
74 Untangle the knots first 
75 Go for Goldilocks 
76 Vet your advisors 
77 Be your own advisor 
78 Don’t jump to conclusions 
79 Understand your emotions 
80 Balance logic and emotion 
81 Learn to compromise 
82 Find option C 
83 Assess the cost of a bad decision 
84 Regret is a waste of energy 
85 Be honest about procrastinating 

Critical thinking 
86 Read John Donne 
87 Don’t be played for a fool 
88 Stand back and take in the view 
89 Look for what comes next 
90 Don’t bother your pretty little head 
91 Consider the odds 
92 Facts are neutral 
93 Don’t trust statistics 
94 Understand cause and effect 
95 If you can’t prove it’s true, that doesn’t mean it isn’t 
96 Don’t believe it just because everyone else does 
97 Don’t believe it just because you want to 
98 Be devil’s advocate 
99 Don’t go into lockdown 
100 Opinions aren’t facts 

Back Cover

A personal code to think yourself smarter, wiser and happier 

We all envy the natural thinkers of this world. They have the best ideas, make the smartest decisions, are open minded and never indecisive. 

Is there something they know that the rest of us don't? Is it something we can all learn? The answer is a resounding yes. They know The Rules of Thinking. 

These Rules are the guiding principles that show you how to make wiser decisions, stop procrastinating, know when to compromise, avoid mistakes, find other options, think well with others, stop obsessing about things, keep your brain active, be more creative, and have happy, healthy thoughts.  You'll be that person who knows their own mind – in every sense. 

Plus 10 new Rules


Richard Templar is the author of the international bestselling Rules books. Over 2 million people around the world have enjoyed and now play by Richard Templar's Rules. The complete list of titles is as follows: The Rules of Life, The Rules of Work, The Rules of Management, The Rules of Wealth, The Rules of Parenting, The Rules of Love, The Rules to Break, The Rules of People, The Rules of Thinking, and The Rules of Living Well.