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I am trying to complete the following sentence:

This job requires both creativity and X

Where X is a single word describing the ability to think analytically. What would the best word be?

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2  
This job requires both creativity and analytical thinking is the best I can come up with. –  Marthaª Mar 16 '11 at 21:40
    
Are you paying by the word? Drop "both" and you'll get an extra word for free. (If this is for a crossword puzzle or for a question on that weird English stackexchange site, never mind.) –  jbelacqua Mar 17 '11 at 4:39
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9 Answers 9

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Here's something fancy to impress the ladies: perspicacity.

As in:

"Nathan Rothschild was a man of keen perspicacity and profited immensely from his shrewd decision to employ a courier at the Battle of Waterloo, which lead to his eventually becoming the wealthiest man in all of Britain."

From Wikitionary:

perspicacity (n.)
1. Acute discernment or understanding; insight.
2. The human faculty or power to mentally grasp or understand clearly.
3. (obsolete) Keen eyesight.  

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"The human faculty or power to mentally grasp or understand clearly." - perfect! The ladies will be impressed... –  fbrereto Mar 16 '11 at 22:47
    
You are very perspicacious for bringing this up. –  advs89 Mar 17 '11 at 0:16
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It's a good word, but for me it sounds stilted in this context. –  jbelacqua Mar 17 '11 at 2:11
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Perspicacity is meant to connote the handling of fidgety things with the mind. It is strongly akin to dexterity which makes it a wonderful word for general use, but not one that foils against "creativity" in the way the poster intended. For that reason, I agree with the stiltedness comment above. –  Andre Stechert Mar 18 '11 at 2:47
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@Billaire -- oh, I think you absolutely have the same sense of it I do. My extra comment was more as a caveat to people reading your answer who might think of using the word without really getting the sense of what using the fancy word might be heard as, tone-wise. –  jbelacqua Mar 18 '11 at 17:12
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You could use exactitude, thoroughness, precision, or rigor if you mean thinking in the mathematical sense of "analytical thinking".

You could use acumen, discernment, or shrewdness if you mean "analytical thinking" in the sense of "critical thinking".

I personally like shrewdness because of the connotation of "good business sense":

This job requires both creativity and shrewdness.

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To me, shrewdness has a negative connotation. It does mean good business sense, but also a bit underhanded and sneaky. I like the other options you've suggested though, so +1 for those. –  Nathan MacInnes Mar 17 '11 at 11:08
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How about thoroughness, rigor, logic or method? All describe the need for logical thinking, which is probably the main component of analytical thinking.

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"Analyticality" fits the bill. (Whether or not it sounds good to many is another question.)

As suggested earlier by @F'x, "rigor" is pretty good, and it plays off of and creates a nice tension with "creativity" .

It suggests rather than capturing whole "the ability to think analytically," so there is conceivably some ambiguity there. But personally I think any ambiguity there is appropriately resolvable by anyone with creativity and the ability to think analytically.

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+1 I see what you did there. –  fbrereto Mar 17 '11 at 5:51
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Some offerings:

  • Cogitation
  • Analysis
  • Ratiocination
  • Brainwork
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Often by thinking more specifically about what kind of analytic thinking you really want, you'll realize there is a better word than any of us could tell you without knowing your specific situation. (Although, "perspicacity" and "logic" are good generic suggestions.)

"Properly", analysis means breaking apart ideas. But due to uncareful usage, it's become synonymous with:

  • math
  • spreadsheets
  • computers
  • clear thinking

and many other things. Do you really want to hire someone with the ability to break things apart? Or do you want someone smart? Oder...?

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"Thoughtfulness", though simple, is meaningful and evocative.

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I know the questioner asked for a single word, but I would say the best way to complete the sentence and achieve the desired sense is in fact to use the phrase "critical thinking," which was mentioned as a gloss by another member but not offered as an answer to the question.

This job requires both creativity and critical thinking.

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The term now used is 'analytical ability'. Probably because there is no way you can take chances with what is intended being lost in linguistics or semantics. May the candidate be saved from, well, overuse of his analytical skills.

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protected by RegDwigнt Nov 4 '13 at 15:23

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