The Art of Thinking (Differently)

A collection of some of the best links from around the web, manually curated.

Asking the wrong questions

When thinking about the future, I like to come back to this classic from 2017. We’re not that bad at predicting the future, we simply predict the wrong things. Contains this wonderful quote: «And yet, despite predicting half of our world, as a father in the 1950s he could not imagine why his daughter — my mother — wanted to work.»

From Weekly Filet #375, in December 2021.

Questions

Here’s a simple, yet intriguing exercise: Make a list of questions you find interesting and would like to find answers to. I stumbled upon this list by Patrick Collison, co-founder of fintech giant Stripe. I happen to find some of his questions interesting myself, but that’s beside the point. Have a look and maybe you feel inclined to make your own list. I remembered that I had made one a while ago, I think I’ll make a new one to kick off the new year.

From Weekly Filet #375, in December 2021.

Calibrate your scout mindset

Julia Galef’s book «The Scout Mindset» is one of my favourites this year so far. In it, she makes the case for a «scout mindset» that strives to constantly refine its map, rather than the all too common «soldier mindset» that defends entrenched beliefs. One key skill of the scout mindset she discusses is the ability to have the appropriate amount of confidence in your beliefs. On her website, she offers a quick test you can take to see how well calibrated you are. Take the test here

From Weekly Filet #346, in May 2021.

Why adults lose the «beginner’s mind»

We tend to think of children’s brains as yet to be fully developed versions of adult brains (as a father of two small kids, I can confirm that it definitely feels like this). This hour-long interview with psychologist and philosopher Alison Gopnik gave me a new perspective. Children’s brains have some unique capabilities that fade in adults and that artificial intelligence can learn from. Newsletter writer’s adult mind: blown. Listen to it now.

From Weekly Filet #344, in April 2021.

The Multidisciplinary Approach to Thinking

It’s usually a good idea to start running when someone wants to tell you about a formula for living the best life you could possibly live. It’s worth making an exception for this one, though. 1. Because it’s well argued. 2. Because combining mirrored reciprocation with compound interest is not your usual carpe diem type of bullshittery. 3. Because what’s not to love about an ode to generalism and multidisciplinary thinking.

From Weekly Filet #337, in March 2021.

The «Other Side» Is Not Dumb

I’d love to say otherwise, but I plead guilty. I invest too little time (and empathy) in really trying to understand people who hold opinions that differ from mine. And of course, I’m not alone. It’s easier to argue against and even easier to write off somebody else’s views than to try to understand what they are based on. That’s what this piece is about. Key passage: «A dare for the next time you’re in discussion with someone you disagree with: Don’t try to ‹win›. Don’t try to convince anyone of your viewpoint. Don’t score points by mocking them to your peers. Instead try to ‹lose›. Hear them out. Ask them to convince you and mean it.»

From Weekly Filet #247, in September 2017.
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