Over recent years I have had five books published by Macmillan International Higher Education:

  • How to Write Better Essays (4th edition 2018)
  • Smart Thinking (2016)
  • How to Write your Undergraduate Dissertation (2nd edition 2014)
  • Thinking Skills for Professionals (2010)
  • Philosophy (2006).

My aim in hosting this website is to help all those readers of my books who need help or just want to enter into a discussion of some of the issues these books raise.  

Since 2001 I have worked by email with hundreds of students who have read How to Write Better Essays to help them tackle the problems they routinely have with writing essays. Now I want to extend the same help to all those who are faced with the challenge of researching and writing a dissertation.    

As for Philosophy I am very happy to enter into the same sort of discussion. You will see that with the book comes access to a Palgrave website dedicated to the book, which contains a lot of material helpful to both students and teachers.  

In the student zone you will find the complete notes on each chapter, essay plans for the typical questions set on many of the issues raised in the book, structured methods to help you develop your philosophical skills and explanations of some of the most difficult philosophical terms and problems.  

In the teacher zone there is a wealth of material designed to help teachers to teach their courses, including tables and figures that feature in the book, along with questions, exercises and other material. Attached to the site I hope to develop a discussion forum where teachers of philosophy can not only exchange ideas on many of the intriguing issues discussed in the book, but help each other in the difficult art of teaching their subject.  

Smart Thinking: How to think conceptually, design solutions and make decisions

Smart Thinking: How to Think Conceptually, design solutions and make decisions
by Bryan Greetham
Published by Palgrave Macmillan.

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Paperback ISBN: 9781137389763

Have you ever wondered how people, like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, can come up with such stunning insights and new, revolutionary concepts that so transform our world? Then learn to be a smart thinker. In the process you will develop the most important employability skills that employers around the world are desperate to find.

Smart thinking is all about generating new ideas, creating new concepts, designing solutions to problems, producing new insights, assessing risk and coming to your own decision. Just think how many ground-breaking ideas there are out there just waiting to be revealed, if only you had the skills of a smart thinker. This book will teach you how to produce new insights and ways of seeing things nobody else has seen. You will learn how to solve problems you never thought possible and how to make the right decisions, when others are overawed by uncertainty.

How to Write Better Essays

How to Write Better Essays (fourth edition) by Bryan Greetham
Published by Palgrave Macmillan.

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Paperback ISBN: 978-1-352-00114-3

The fourth edition of this bestselling book includes new chapters on note-taking for creativity, on revising for exams, examination technique, on finding your own voice, on suspending your judgement and on finding and choosing the best word as you write.

It also now contains two complete sample essays showing the effects of revising their structure and content and a new chapter showing readers how to learn most effectively from the feedback that they get from their tutors on their essays.

There is, in addition, a host of new material on the companion website, including new exercises and materials on critical thinking, on remembering through structures, material on how to improve your memory, exercises on editing and ordering your ideas during the planning stage, on writing introductions, on writing topic sentences at the beginning of paragraphs, and on how to revise the content of essays.

If you have ever wondered why it is that while you struggle to get the simplest idea down on paper, others effortlessly write clear, elegant well-structured prose incorporating relevant and interesting ideas, this book is for you. It will take you through all the five key stages of essay writing showing you how to structure your ideas, develop your arguments consistently and present your ideas in a style that is concise and effective.  

In the process you will not only develop your writing skills, but you will also learn how to improve your research, note-taking, reading and organisational skills. What's more you will learn to think more analytically and creatively. You will develop your thinking skills: you will be taught how to analyse difficult concepts and arguments, synthesise ideas and evidence from different sources, discuss and criticise, and evaluate arguments and evidence.       

Lastly, on Palgrave’s Companion Website you will find a very helpful troubleshooting section that allows you to locate solutions to your writing problems immediately.

The companion site →

Thinking Skills for Professionals

Thinking Skills for Professionals
by Bryan Greetham
Published by Palgrave Macmillan.

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(2010) ISBN: 978-1-4039-1708-9

It is common to praise business people for their decisiveness, for knowing their own minds and making quick decisions. One of the most successful sales pitches, celebrating the triumph of action over thought, insists that we 'Just do it'. So, perhaps it's not surprising that we make such poor decisions, like the takeover of ABN Amro by RBS or HBOS by Lloyds. Instead of carefully analysing problems, assessing alternatives and coming to wise decisions, we routinely make decisions by applying yesterday's solutions to today's problems. Rational analysis plays a surprisingly small part.

Over millions of years we have adapted to our environment to become routine, unreflective thinkers. For much of our existence our survival has depended on rules and patterns of behaviour well-tested by the thousands of generations before us. Learning to flee without thought in response to a certain pattern of colours and movement that signalled a predator was essential for survival. As a result, today we make decisions guided more by unchallenged rules and accepted patterns of behaviour than by rational analysis and reflection. As evolutionary psychologists are fond of saying 'Our modern skulls house Stone Age minds.'

Yet, little in our past has prepared us for the decisions we have to make in times of such rapid change. The solution lies in thinking beyond these ruling patterns of behaviour. This book develops the skills we all need to do this.

How to Write your Undergraduate Dissertation

How to Write your Undergraduate Dissertation
(second edition) by Bryan Greetham
Published by Palgrave Macmillan.

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(2014) ISBN: 9781137389763

The second edition of this very successful book teaches you how to generate your own ideas and develop them into original research projects. It shows you what examiners are looking for and how to get the highest mark, and it takes you step by step through the whole process of planning and conducting your research, using the right quantitative and qualitative techniques and instruments for your project. It shows you how to put your ideas and evidence together to form the most persuasive and consistent arguments, and how to write using your own voice in a clear, concise, economical style. It identifies how each step of your dissertation helps to develop your employability skills. And, finally, you learn how to revise your work to make sure the quality of your achievements really shine through.

Dissertations are largely about thinking: they are set to give teachers a window into the minds of their students, to see how they think, not just what they think. Unlike any other book this starts where you have to start: it teaches you how to generate your own ideas and develop them into interesting, original research projects. It shows you how to put your ideas together to create the most persuasive and compelling arguments. It teaches you how to use evidence and language consistently. Throughout it emphasizes that writing is a form of thinking: the most difficult form and dissertations are a test of your ability both to think and write clearly.  

Of course, dissertations are also about more practical matters. All of these are here too. Indeed, every aspect and every stage of producing a dissertation is explained in these pages from generating your first ideas about what you might like to research to binding and submitting your work. You will learn how to get the most out of your relationship with your supervisor, how to plan your research, manage your time and read and take notes more effectively, and how to work with primary and secondary sources, choosing from the complete range of quantitative and qualitative research techniques.  

And, of course, as I’ve said, it is also about writing – the most difficult form of thinking. You will learn how to plan every detail of each chapter, how to construct sound arguments, use language consistently and deploy your evidence convincingly, and how to convey your ideas simply and economically with a light effective style to produce a memorable, thought-provoking piece of work. Then, finally, you will learn how to revise and edit your dissertation, so that the quality of your work and the extent of your achievements really shine through.


Philosophy, Bryan Greetham
Published by Palgrave Macmillan.

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(2006) ISBN: 1-4039-1878-3

The first time we study any subject we need a book that is clear and interesting, from which it's easy to learn. This book is all of those things. Written in a clear, lucid style enriched with fascinating insights into the lives and ideas of philosophers, it will capture and hold your imagination. It is a clear, accessible introduction to the method and subject of philosophy.

Written to meet the needs of students, there is a complete glossary of key concepts and each chapter is analysed into clear note structures to help you use complex ideas confidently. There are also conceptual time lines that show you how philosophers and movements in ideas are interrelated so you can see clearly how each fits into the whole.

For the teacher the book is broken down into manageable units with exercises, questions and suggested reading at the end of each chapter, making it easier for you to design your courses. This book not only captures the imagination of everyone new to the subject, but provides more effective ways of developing their understanding and confidence.