Higher Education

Thinking for Yourself, 9th Edition

  • Marlys Mayfield College of Alameda
  • ISBN-10: 1133311180  |  ISBN-13: 9781133311188
  • 400 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2010, 2007, 2004
  • © 2014 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $124.50
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Mayfield's THINKING FOR YOURSELF fully integrates critical thinking with composition and reading. Rather than teaching from the "outside in" of rules and imitation, the text offers students an "inside out" approach for improving their own thinking, perceiving, writing, and awareness skills. With each chapter building upon previously developed skills, students learn how to write more detailed description as they learn to observe better; to write reports where they can separate facts from inferences, opinions, and assumptions; and finally to write an argumentative research paper grounded in step-by-step skill development in reasoning and critical analysis. THINKING FOR YOURSELF is a book that students like to read. Its hallmark features include interesting (and provocative) readings, cartoons, multiple options for application and testing, and a lively explanation of critical thinking concepts and standards. Available with InfoTrac® Student Collections http://gocengage.com/infotrac.

Additional Product Information

Features and Benefits

  • There are 30 high interest readings in the 9th edition. Featured authors include John Bul Dau, Samuel H. Scudder, Dorr Bothwell, Frances Moore Lappé, Christopher Ketchem, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Socorro Venegas, John Bul Dau, Kate Chopin, William Ecenbarger, Mark Twain, Barbara Ehrenreich, Leslie T. Chang, Alice Owens-Johnson, Naomi Starkman, Richard M. Nixon, Ferris Jabr, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Jefferson, Susan B. Anthony, and Sherry Turkle.
  • There are updated social and political examples, new student writing samples, new cartoons and new photographs for use in descriptive and analytical writing exercises.
  • The text's unique approach fully integrates writing skills with thinking skills, and the teaching of composition with instruction in critical thinking.
  • Students learn thinking and writing from the inside out--with a focus on their thinking, perceiving, and awareness--rather than from an outside in focus on imitation and admonitions.
  • Serving the under-prepared student as well as the more advanced student, the text provides a fresh orientation and a foundation for life-long self-directed improvement.
  • The text is built on a simple organization of chapters that describe familiar (yet commonly misunderstood) elements of thinking. When students fully understand these elements, they are capable of critical thinking, critical reading and critical writing.
  • The author links perception training to the writing of more detailed description and connects the development of higher order thinking skills to the creation of clear, cogent, well-supported reports, arguments, analysis, and research.
  • Multiple features throughout the text work together to ensure student success. Discovery exercises encourage students to discover key principles for themselves. Application assignments, peer reviews, reading questions, summaries, and quizzes reinforce the learning of thinking concepts. Scoring box rubrics clarify assignment expectations and standards while also serving as guides for peer assessments and instructor grading.

Table of Contents

1. Observation Skills: What's Out There?
2. Word Precision: How Do I Describe It?
3. Facts: What's Real?
4. Inferences: What Follows?
5. Assumptions: What's Taken for Granted?
6. Opinions: What's Believed?
7. Viewpoints: What's the Filter?
8. Argument: What's a Good Argument?
9. Fallacies: What's a Faulty Argument?
10.Inductive Reasoning: How Do I Reason from Evidence?
11.Inductive Fallacies: How Can Inductive Reasoning Go Wrong?
12.Deductive Reasoning: How Do I Reason from Premises?

What's New

  • Humorous or provocative cartoons--almost all are new to the edition--actively encourage critical thinking and class discussion.
  • Many new photos and 19 new readings have been carefully selected to provide a focus for thinking, evaluating, and writing. New reading selections include "New Dog in Town" by Christopher Ketchem; "Johnny Depp" by Socorro Venegas; "Desiree's Baby" by Kate Chopin; and "On Turning Poverty into an American Crime" by Barbara Ehrenreich.
  • New "Critical Thinking Hero" boxes highlight an individual or several individuals who made a difference in the world by their thought leading to action. These heroes include whistleblowers, scientists, environmentalists, farmers, investigative journalists, soldiers, ministers, corporate executives, and unconventional leaders. Examples include Rachel Carson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Galileo.
  • Enhanced "Building Arguments" boxes appear in most chapters. These boxes are designed to show how the chapter's concept applies to the fundamentals of writing and evaluating arguments.
  • Chapter 8, "What's a Good Argument?" has been completely revised around the theme of genetically modified foods. Additional controversial topics appear in a pro and con format with new exercises.
  • Appendix One, "The Research Paper," contains a new student model essay based on an analysis of two arguments on genetically modified foods.
  • InfoTrac® Student Collections are specialized databases expertly drawn from the Gale Academic One library. Each InfoTrac® Student Collection enhances the student learning experience in the specific course area related to the product. These specialized databases allow access to hundreds of scholarly and popular publications - all reliable sources - including journals, encyclopedias, and academic reports. Learn more and access at: http://gocengage.com/infotrac.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"I have, many times, described it to colleagues as the best in its field and chock-full of excellent instruction for students in many areas."

— Maureen Girard, Monterey Peninsula College

"I enjoy using your textbook. More important is how much the students like and learn from it. You got it right, Ms. Mayfield, each chapter builds effectively on the previous chapter to help students understand and use the skills of a critical thinker."

— Ollievita Williams

“The content is not intimidating to students, i.e., not too much technical jargon. The text makes the instructor’s job easy.”

— Rhea Mendoza

“Near entire course in a book—well organized—academic—yet accessible with lots of great exercises and assessment tools.”

— Rick Walters


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.

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Meet the Author

Author Bio

Marlys Mayfield

Marlys Mayfield was a pioneer in the teaching critical thinking together with writing; she began developing this book for her English composition students at the College of Alameda in 1983. At present she offers her services as a critical thinking teaching consultant.