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If you tend to freeze before shelves full of books, unable to decide which one to pick, James M. Russell offers a helping hand in A Brief Guide To Smart Thinking (Hachette, 399). He picks 70 iconic works, from an obscure text by the classical writer Epictetus to the best-selling Thinking, Fast And Slow by the Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, and introduces each of these revolutionary “smart-thinking books" breezily. A couple of pages, each entry ends with “The Speed Read", giving you the digested gist of the book. Puritans may disapprove of such short-cuts, but with so much distraction around, it’s helpful to know in advance if it’s worth investing time in a book. We have to thank Russell for this.

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