Cheri's Hypertext Monster

04 Sep 2021

Book Notes: The Scout Mindset

Finished Reading: The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t by Julia Galef 📚

This book is about how to think more clearly. Here are three passages I liked:

Intelligence and knowledge are just tools. You can use those tools to help you see the world clearly, if that’s what you’re motivated to do. Or you can use them to defend a particular viewpoint, if you’re motivated to do that instead.

The problem with identity is that it wrecks your ability to think clearly. Identifying with a belief makes you feel like you have to be ready to defend it, which motivates you to focus your attention on collecting evidence in its favor. Identity makes you reflexively reject arguments that feel like attacks on you or the status of your group.

… viewing yourself as rational can backfire. The more objective you think you are, the more you trust your own intuitions and opinions as accurate representations of reality, and the less inclined you are to question them.

Galef does a great job of busting up myths about what constitutes “good thinking” and then she follows up with actionable advice on how to think clearly despite our baked-in cognitive biases.

I found it helpful.