Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Thinking for Yourself, 9th Edition

  • Marlys Mayfield
  • ISBN-10: 1133311180
  • ISBN-13: 9781133311188
  • 400 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2010, 2007, 2004
  • COPYRIGHT: 2014 Published
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About the Product

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. Its hallmark features include interesting readings, cartoons, multiple options for application and testing, and a lively explanation of critical thinking concepts and standards. In 2016, THINKING FOR YOURSELF won the Textbook & Academic Authors Association’s McGuffey Longevity Award for demonstrated excellence over 15 years.


  • 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.


"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

About the Author

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.

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?

New to this edition

  • 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.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Prepare for class more quickly and effectively with resources such as teaching tips, syllabus planning, and lesson organization.

MindTap Multimedia Reader, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 130564560X | ISBN-13: 9781305645608)

MindTap Multimedia Reader is the digital learning solution that powers students from memorization to mastery. It gives you complete control of your course—to provide engaging content, to challenge every individual, and to build their confidence. Empower students to accelerate their progress with MindTap. MindTap: Powered by You. This multimodal reader includes learning paths for reading, responding to multimodal texts and research. Students become better thinkers, communicators, and writers as they review every aspect of the writing process. Interactive activities focus on grammar and mechanics while a paper management system allows electronic submission, grading, and peer review while tracking potential plagiarism. Video tutorials and examples support research and professional tutoring guides students from rough drafts to polished writing. MindTap works with your existing LMS.

Student Supplements

MindTap Multimedia Reader, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 130564560X | ISBN-13: 9781305645608)

MindTap Multimedia Reader helps you learn on your terms. INSTANT ACCESS IN YOUR POCKET. Take advantage of the MindTap Mobile App. Read or listen to the text and study with the aid of instructor notifications, flashcards, and practice quizzes. MINDTAP HELPS YOU GEAR UP FOR ULTIMATE SUCCESS. Improve your college writing and research skills with built-in tools, such as a professional tutoring service, a database of scholarly sources, and interactive videos to support research papers. A dictionary and other tools keep you organized and on track. Track your scores and you’ll know where to focus efforts as you follow your goals. MINDTAP HELPS YOU MAKE THE TEXTBOOK YOURS. No one knows what works for you better than you. Highlight key text, add notes, and create custom flashcards. When it’s time to study, everything you’ve flagged or noted can be gathered into a guide you can organize.