In a world that is now deeply interconnected, every action of ours seemingly has consequences for someone. Hence the relevance of ‘The Thinking Life’, which talks about the need for self-restraint, and aims to help people become more watchful thinkers. Widely acclaimed as a civility expert, Forni is a Professor at Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, US, where he co-founded (and now directs) a Civility initiative. His previous offering, ‘Choosing Civility’, has already sold more than 100,000 copies.
The book contains twelve short chapters, suggesting ways to introspect, and contemplate more, on our thought process. Forni says, “Life has become more about feeling good than being good.” Undeniably, we spend more time tending to the quality of our emotional lives, than to the quality of our moral lives. Part of the present day problem, according to Forni, is the digital distraction. “A large amount of time in which we are engaged online is dedicated to things that are not really crucial in many cases,” the author says. Forni believes that “connecting”—mainly on social media—can be mistaken for “thinking”. He thinks children don’t read enough today; and according to him, weak readers are weak thinkers.
The book is a cross between self-help and some uncorroborated advice and platitudes. Since the book is a descriptive as well as prescriptive manual, the narration becomes professorial and tiresome at places.
Perhaps the reader will not agree with everything in this book, but this slim volume packs a lot of wisdom – to compel us to think and change the way we are going about our lives.