Higher Education

Becoming a Critical Thinker, 8th Edition

  • Vincent Ryan Ruggiero State University of New York, Dehli, Emeritus
  • ISBN-10: 1285438590  |  ISBN-13: 9781285438597
  • 208 Pages
  • © 2015 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $64.00
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Success depends on the ability to think critically. Training and practice turn this ability into a powerful skill. BECOMING A CRITICAL THINKER gives students the opportunity to develop this skill in a classroom environment while stressing its application to daily life. Students learn to solve everyday problems, maintain successful relationships, make career choices, and interpret the messages of advertising in a variety of media. Exercises throughout the text encourage them to practice what they read and to apply it to their own lives. BECOMING A CRITICAL THINKER breaks up critical thinking into a series of cumulative activities, a unique approach that has made this text a staple of many critical thinking courses.

Features and Benefits

  • “Good Thinking” features throughout the text profile diverse individuals who underscore the role of critical thinking in achievement. Exercises invite students to apply the lessons of the various profiles to their own lives.
  • Quizzes at the end of each chapter allow students to test their understanding of chapter concepts.
  • Group activities enable students to practice the transfer of individual thinking skills to situations in which problems require a cooperative solution.
  • Comprehensive coverage of argumentation helps students develop and communicate arguments strongly. Students are asked to analyze and compare real arguments and viewpoints on contemporary topics as a way of expanding their reasoning capabilities.
  • The depth and breadth of theory, skill-building, and application in the text make it ideal for an English Composition course or an introductory course in critical thinking.

Table of Contents

To the Instructor.
1. Fundamentals of Thinking.
What Is Intelligence? Good Thinking! The Story of Albert Einstein. What Is Thinking? Key Principles of Thinking. Truth is discovered, not created. Good Thinking! The Story of Nellie Bly. Ideas are interrelated. A statement can''t be both true and false at the same time and in the same way. Everyone makes mistakes, even experts. Ideas can be examined without being embraced. Feeling is no substitute for thinking. Key Habits and Skills of Thinking. The habit of curiosity. Skill in distinguishing facts from opinions. Good Thinking! The Story of Paul Vitz. The habit of checking facts and testing opinions. The Need for a Systematic Approach. Exercises. Quiz.
2. The W.I.S.E. Approach to Thinking.
Introducing the W.I.S.E. Approach. Good Thinking! The Story of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. Step 1: Wonder. Step 2: Investigate. Step 3: Speculate. Good Thinking! The Story of Elizabeth Loftus. Step 4: Evaluate . Examples of Problem Solving . The uncooperative page markers. The librarian''s lament. Examples of Issue Resolution. Is venting anger healthy? What causes Yellow Fever? An Important Relationship. A Caution about Bias.Bias toward what confirms your personal view. Bias toward familiar ideas. Bias toward your likes and against your dislikes. Exercises. Quiz.
3. Deciding What to Investigate.
Fundamentals of Investigating. Conducting Library Research. Good Thinking! The Richard Feynman Story. Conducting Internet Research. Use a search engine. Develop a resource list. Good Thinking! The Story of Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Ask questions about the websites you visit. Conducting an Interview. Avoiding Plagiarism. Three steps to avoid plagiarism. How to correctly quote and paraphrase. Exercises. Quiz.
4. Strengthening Your Individuality.
What is Individuality? Individuality and the W.I.S.E. Approach. Acknowledging Influences. Good Thinking! The Story of Viktor Frankl. Understanding Attitudes. Four Empowering Attitudes. Attitude 1: There''s always room for improvement. Attitude 2: Criticism, including self-criticism, has value. Attitude 3: Effort is the key to success. Attitude 4: Other people are as important as I am. Recognizing Manipulation. Biased reporting. Dishonest appeals to emotion. Stacking the deck. Suppressing dissent. Repetition. Resisting Manipulation. Step 1: Be prepared. Step 2: Ask questions. Step 3: Be imaginative. Step 4: Check sources. Strategies for Developing Individuality. Strive for humility. Be wary of first impressions. Be honest with yourself. Good Thinking! The Story of Stephanie Kwolek. Fight confusion. Produce many ideas. Acknowledge complexity. Look for connections among subjects. Consider other viewpoints. Good Thinking! The Story of Stanton Samenow. Dare to change your mind. Base your judgments on evidence. Exercises. Quiz.
5. Recognizing Errors in Thinking.
Four Kinds of Errors. Errors of Perception. “Mine is better” thinking. Selective perception. Gullibility and skepticism. Good Thinking! The Story of Sylvia Earle. Preconceptions. Pretending to know. Either/or thinking. False tolerance. Errors of Judgment. Double standard. Irrelevant criterion. Overgeneralizing or stereotyping. Good Thinking! The Story of Martin Seligman. Hasty conclusion. Unwarranted assumption. Failure to make a distinction. Oversimplification. Errors of Expression. Contradicting oneself . Arguing in a circle. False analogy. Irrational appeal. Errors of Reaction. Explaining away. Shifting the burden of proof. Attacking the person. Straw man. Errors can Multiply. Exercises. Quiz.
6. Persuading Others.
What is Persuasion? Opportunities in the classroom. Opportunities in the workplace. Good Thinking! The Story Of Dorothea Dix. Opportunities in the community. Opportunities in relationships. How is Persuasion Achieved? Respect your audience. Understand your audience''s viewpoint(s).Begin on a point of agreement. Acknowledge unpleasant facts and make appropriate concessions. Good Thinking! The Story of Dale Carnegie. Apply the golden rule. Keep your expectations modest. Strategy for Persuasive Writing. Step 1: State what you think why. Step 2: Consider how those who disagree might react to your view. Step 3: Arrange your ideas and write a draft of your presentation. Step 4: Check your draft for style. Good Thinking! The Story of George Orwell. Step 5: Check your draft for grammar, usage, punctuation, and spelling. An Example of Persuasive Writing. Strategy for Persuasive Speaking. Step 4: Create note cards. Step 5: Rehearse using a tape recorder or a camcorder. Strategy for Group Discussion. Exercises. Quiz.
7. Applying Your Thinking Skills. Thinking Critically About Relationships. Good Thinking! The Story of Oprah Winfrey. Guidelines for successful relationships. Exercises. Thinking Critically About Careers. Good Thinking! The Story of Faye Abdellah. A sensible approach. Exercises. Thinking Critically About Ethical Judgments. A better basis for judgment. Criteria for ethical judgment. Good Thinking! The Story of Chiara Lubich. Applying the criteria. A sample case. Exercises. Thinking Critically About Commercials. Bandwagon. Glittering generality. Empty comparison. Meaningless slogan. Testimonial. Transfer. Stacking the deck. Misleading statement. Exercises. Thinking Critically about Print Advertising. Exercises. Thinking Critically about Television Programming. Exercises. Thinking Critically about Movies. Characters. Setting. Plot. Theme. Exercises. Thinking Critically about Music .Exercises. Thinking Critically about Magazines. Exercises. Thinking Critically about Newspapers. Exercises. Quiz.
Epilogue: Make the End a Beginning. Works Cited.

What's New

  • The treatment of investigating issues (Chapter 3) has been expanded.
  • The connection between using the W.I.S.E. approach and the strengthening of individuality has been reinforced.
  • The concepts and approaches in several chapters have been linked by the use of a single extended illustration: the highly publicized case of the White Plains NY Journal News publication of the names and addresses of over 33,000 legal gun owners. The case is introduced in Chapter 1 and then revisited and expanded in Chapters 3 and 4.
  • Many timely new cases have been added as exercises for critical thinking, including: government bans on soft drinks, trans fats, bake sales, and lemonade stands, and new mandates for school lunches; multitasking vs. monotasking; party-line voting vs. issue voting; a North Dakota woman marrying herself; apparent decline of leadership in government; government “redistribution of wealth”; “globalization” and the expansion of U.N. powers; effect of communications technology on conversation; and social justice.

Learning Resource Bundles

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Bundle: Text + Questia 6 Month Subscription Printed Access Card

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Efficacy and Outcomes


“It is an excellent text for teaching a combination of writing skills and critical thinking skills to students. The material is very interesting and elicits discussion.”

— Dianna Stankiewicz, Anderson University

“It's just the right length. It makes the ideas clear to the readers without pulling in a lot of extraneous detail. The book makes its concepts clear using examples that are very easy to relate to. It also simplifies many of the harder concepts of critical thinking, like fallacies and what it means to be a critical thinker.”

— Cynthia Henderson, College of Lake County

“It is an excellent text for teaching a combination of writing skills and critical thinking skills to students. The material is very interesting and elicits discussion.”

— Dianna Stankiewicz, Anderson University

“It's just the right length. It makes the ideas clear to the readers without pulling in a lot of extraneous detail. The book makes its concepts clear using examples that are very easy to relate to. It also simplifies many of the harder concepts of critical thinking, like fallacies and what it means to be a critical thinker.”

— Cynthia Henderson, College of Lake County


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Online Instructor's Manual  (ISBN-10: 1285452976 | ISBN-13: 9781285452975)

Available for download on the book companion website, the Instructor's Manual addresses the “teaching of thinking,” offering teaching methods, strategies for effective learning, chapter-specific material, additional exercises, and suggested answers to in-text quizzes.

Web Site  (ISBN-10: 1285452984 | ISBN-13: 9781285452982)

Visit the book companion website to download the Instructor's Manual. Student resources include an extensive library of interactive exercises and animations that cover grammar, diction, mechanics, punctuation, research, and writing concepts, as well as a complete library of student papers and a section on avoiding plagiarism.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Vincent Ryan Ruggiero

Vincent Ryan Ruggiero is an internationally known writer, lecturer, and consultant whose areas of special interest and expertise are critical and creative thinking, ethics, educational reform, and social criticism. A pioneer in the movement to make thinking skills instruction an important emphasis at every level of education, he holds the rank of professor emeritus, State University of New York at Delhi, and resides in Dunedin, Florida. Professor Ruggiero's 22 books include Beyond Feelings: A Guide to Critical Thinking, Thinking Critically about Ethical Issues, The Art of Thinking, Teaching Thinking across the Curriculum, A Guide to Thinking Sociologically, Warning: Nonsense Is Destroying America, Making Your Mind Matter, The Practice of Loving Kindness, and Corrupted Culture.