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How do I take your approach on reading books?

Hi Lucio, how can I read, analyze and review books like you? Because I am a victim of many others reading a book and accepting everything it says like an indoctrinated sheep even if it conflicts with the truth, realistic beliefs or my beliefs and then end up getting internal conflicts and confused. How can I approach reading books like you? How can I master critical thinking when it comes to extracting the most important information from the books I read? And then learn to rate how well or bad it is? Thanks

Hey man,

Well, this is a very deep question.

Critical thinking skills are so crucial for personal empowerment and, I'd say, are also crucial for a well-functioning society based on freedom and democracy.

A population of critical thinkers is resistant to one of the biggest dangers of freedom and social well-being: the snake oil salesmen and charismatic leaders, hidden wolves in saviors' clothing, who periodically during history set us back of decades or centuries.

Unluckily I think this one deserves a deeper answer that could be done in a quick post.
Delving into critical thinking and how to acquire those skills is one of my next projects, I aim at condensing everything into one single post, but it will require some further research on my side as well.

As very quick pointers though:

  • Mastery (in a certain field): the more you know, the more you will be able to discern the bullshiters with an agenda form the more professional folks who write based on science, evidence, or experience. So don't worry about it for now, keep on learning, the more you learn, the more you also become good at learning
  • Self-esteem: there is an element of self-esteem. Higher self-esteem people are more immune to manipulation and group-think. Your self-esteem also rise with your mastery, self-development is all connected
  • Developing critical thinking skills: the great news is that those skills can be developed
  • You're starting out well: it seems like you have a lot of self-awareness, and you have the internal strength to recognize your own weaknesses, plus the hunger to fix it. That's powerful stuff. As I like to say: "knowing your weaknesses is the very first of your strengths". And the one right next to that, is the drive to fix it.
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

"knowing your weaknesses is the very first of your strengths"

Great I love it!

I would add that something seemingly so simple as always asking why and why?, and being able to consider what would happen if what we believe is in this way results to be in a different way, or the exact opossite of what we/other people/the world believes, what would be the consequences.

Very usefull to avoid confirmation bias from weakening you critical skills is to constantly search for evidence and arguments against your believes, to see if some of those make you reconsider or modify your original position.

Reading a lot of philosophical debates by other rational thinkers , maybe even more when there is not a clear winner, also helps a lot to hone your own skills

Quote from Stef on August 20, 2020, 5:36 am

Very usefull to avoid confirmation bias from weakening you critical skills is to constantly search for evidence and arguments against your believes, to see if some of those make you reconsider or modify your original position.

Yes, this is also a great technique of positive psychology to change one's own limiting beliefs, or to stop being too harsh towards oneself.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I'm taking the opportunity of this thread to ask you also about your habits about reading. I mean: do you have a special time in the day when you read? If yes for how long? Do you have a goal in terms of pages or time? Do you use audiobooks? Do you use speed-reading? Because I'm quite impressed with the quantity of book you read!

Quote from John Freeman on August 27, 2020, 5:45 pm

I'm taking the opportunity of this thread to ask you also about your habits about reading. I mean: do you have a special time in the day when you read? If yes for how long? Do you have a goal in terms of pages or time? Do you use audiobooks? Do you use speed-reading? Because I'm quite impressed with the quantity of book you read!

Well, recently I'm going much more slowly since my audio-canceling headsets broke nad the new one I tried.. I just don't like them. So I'm taking the opportunity to reflect more and take more notes from real life.

However, usually, definitely thumbs up for audiobooks.

I also read on ebook readers, usually before sleeping, but that takes far, far longer.

Good audiobooks I listen twice.
Great ones, or good and complicated ones, even 3 times (rarely 4 times).

But even when I listen to them 4 times, it still goes much faster than actual reading.

I also usually read a summary before starting a new book, or at least get an idea of what the book is about and what the author is specialized on, so that I "prepare" my mind for that kind of information. It helps a lot.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?