In our society, the recognition of talent depends largely on idealized and entrenched perceptions of academic achievement and job performance. Thinking Styles bucks this trend by emphasizing the method of our thought rather than its content. Psychologist Robert Sternberg argues that ability often goes unappreciated and uncultivated not because of lack of talent, but because of conflicting styles of thinking and learning. Using a variety of examples that range from scientific studies to personal anecdotes, Sternberg presents a theory of thinking styles that aims to explain why aptitude tests, school grades, and classroom performance often fail to identify real ability. He believes that criteria for intelligence in both school and the workplace are unfortunately based on the ability to conform rather than learn. He takes the theory a step further by stating that 'achievement' can be a result of the compatibility of personal and institutional thinking styles, and 'failure' is too often the result of a conflict of thinking styles, rather than a lack of intelligence or aptitude. Sternberg bases his theory on hard scientific data, yet presents a work that remains highly accessible.