Higher Education

Becoming a Critical Thinker, 7th Edition

  • Vincent Ryan Ruggiero State University of New York, Dehli, Emeritus
  • ISBN-10: 049590905X  |  ISBN-13: 9780495909057
  • 208 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2009, 2006, 2002
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $69.00
  • Newer Edition Available
  *Why an online review copy?
  • It's the greener, leaner way to review! An online copy cuts down on paper and on time. Reduce the wait (and the weight) of printed texts. Your online copy arrives instantly, and you can review it anytime from your computer or favorite mobile device.

If you prefer a print copy to review, please contact your representative.



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 allow 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 own 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.
What is intelligence?. What is thinking?. good thinking! THE STORY OF ALBERT EINSTEIN. Key principles of thinking. Truth is discovered, not created. Ideas are interrelated. A statement can’t be both true and false at the same time and in the same way. good thinking! THE STORY OF NELLIE BLY. All people make 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. good thinking! THE STORY OF PAUL VITZ. Skill in distinguishing facts from opinions.
The habit of checking facts and testing opinions. Exercises. Quiz.
Introducing the W.I.S.E. Approach. good thinking! THE STORY OF FRANK AND LILLIAN GILBRETH.
Step 1: Wonder. Step 2: Investigate. good thinking! THE STORY OF ELIZABETH LOFTUS. Step 3: Speculate. 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.
Conducting library research. good thinking! THE RICHARD FEYNMAN STORY. Conducting Internet research. Use a search engine. good thinking! THE STORY OF LARRY PAGE AND SERGEY BRIN.
Develop a resource list. 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.
What is individuality? 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 individuality. Strive for humility. Be wary of first impressions. good thinking! THE STORY OF STEPHANIE KWOLEK. Be honest with yourself.
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.
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.
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 about the issue and why you think it. 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 matters of style. Step 5: Check your draft for grammar, usage, punctuation, and spelling. good thinking! THE STORY OF GEORGE ORWELL. An example of persuasive writing. Strategy for persuasive speaking. Create note cards. Rehearse using a tape recorder or a camcorder. Strategy for group discussion. Exercises. Quiz.
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. good thinking! THE STORY OF CHIARA LUBICH. Criteria for ethical judgment. 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 Fundamentals of Thinking” is now the opening chapter of the book*, and includes new sections on the habit of curiosity and the interrelationships among ideas.
  • NEW Chapter 2: “The W.I.S.E. Approach to Thinking.”* Unlike other thinking models, this four-step approach--Wonder, Investigate, Speculate, Evaluate--incorporates reflective and creative thinking as well as critical thinking, and can be applied to challenges in every field of study. The chapter explains the W.I.S.E. approach in detail and gives examples of its use in problem-solving and issue analysis. It also includes a detailed treatment of the various kinds of evidence and the ways to evaluate each kind.
  • Chapter 3, “Improving Your Investigative Skills,” consolidates the material on investigation* previously included in different chapters and focuses exclusively on skillful research in the library, on the Internet, and in interviews. It also includes helpful information on avoiding plagiarism found in previous editions.
  • Chapter 5, “Recognizing Errors in Thinking,” adds a fourth category of errors--Errors of Expression.* The specific errors included in this category are Contradicting Oneself, Arguing in a Circle, False Analogy, and Irrational Appeal.
  • Chapter 6, “Persuading Others,” now includes a new example of persuasive writing* on a timely issue--the questionable value of multitasking. The example describes the application of the W.I.S.E. approach and demonstrates how its conclusions form the basis of the composition. An exercise invites students to examine the composition and identify the principles and strategies of persuasion it reflects.


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: 0840066546 | ISBN-13: 9780840066541)

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.

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.