Kyoto University’s Deep Thinking Method

by Hiroshi Kawakami

ISBN978-4-7631-3641-1 C0030

203 pages / November 2017 / 1,400 yen (w/o tax)

The Science of Design professor’s method to improve your deep thinking skills


☆ The definitive book on how to think by a current design professor at Kyoto University

☆ Stop pretending you understand. What’s the secret to thorough thinking?

☆ The essence of deep thinking is hidden in one “technique”

☆ Improve your problem-solving ability with “focused thinking”


The concept of this book involves building up your mental stamina to become able to think more thoroughly. Many people aren’t good at thinking logically, or give up too easily without thinking things through. A large number of books on thinking have been published due to a universal societal desire to improve the power of thinking.


But what exactly is “thinking power?” It’s an obscure concept, and it’s difficult to pinpoint what needs to be done in order to improve the way we think. Professor Kawakami points out that the obscurity of “thinking power” is what makes it a difficult technique to improve.


Professor Kawakami does research on “inconveniences” and teaches a science of design class at Kyoto University. He aims to resolve what he calls our “thinking troubles” and help us improve our thinking skills. In this book, he tackles questions such as:

・What is thinking?

・What does “I thought it through” mean?

・How can you improve your ability to think?


“Just as actually running helps you to run faster, you have to run your thoughts in order to improve thinking stamina.” To go along with these words, Kawakami provides numerous hints on how to think deeply, in a thorough, step-by-step style.


So what phenomenon holds the secrets to deep thinking?


After reading this book, you’ll find yourself having more thinking stamina and will experience “focused thinking.” This book has the answers to the mysteries of deep thinking.

From the table of contents

Chapter 0             The essential point of deep thinking

Chapter 1             Why do people who use pencils seem more capable of deep thinking?

Chapter 2             Numbers aren’t needed for clear explanations

Chapter 3             People with pencils have the ability to “trace”

Chapter 4             The courage to do away with “important things”

From the editor "Umechan"

When I heard there was somebody at Kyoto University doing research on “inconveniences,” I quickly sought out Professor Kawakami with a book idea.


I learned that Professor Kawakami’s studies were originally focused on the convenience of AI technology. When he explained that he felt unable to go along with the conventional thinking of an increasingly convenient society after studying beneficial inconveniences, we started drafting a book about the power of thinking.


This is a book that focuses like no other does on what’s really important for thorough deep thinking. Read it to experience truly deep thinking firsthand.




Hiroshi Kawakami

Hiroshi Kawakami is a professor at Kyoto University Design School. He has a doctorate in engineering, and his field is system design.


He was born in Shimane Prefecture in 1964. While a student at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Engineering, he studied artificial intelligence and intelligent information processing, completed his master’s degree, and then worked as an assistant at Okayama University while obtaining his doctorate there.


Upon returning to Kyoto University, a professor said, “This is a generation of beneficial inconveniences.” This jump-started his research into the benefits of inconvenience.


As an accessory to his studies, he developed a prime numbers ruler (only prime numbers are shown on the ruler). The peculiar device became very popular, and over 30,000 of them were sold at Kyoto University alone.


In a generation where everything is automated and growing more and more convenient, Kawakami is searching for a way to resolve the adverse effects of convenience with his new system design approach.


His other authored works include Design That Stems from Inconvenience (Kagakudojin) and If You Feel Stuck, How About Incorporating Inconveniences? The Concept of Beneficial Inconveniences (Impress).