No skill is more important in today's world than being able to think about, understand, and act on information in an effective and responsible way. What's more, at no point in human history have we had access to so much information, with such relative ease, as we do in the 21st century. But because misinformation out there has increased as well, critical thinking is more important than ever.
These 24 rewarding lectures equip you with the knowledge and techniques you need to become a savvier, sharper critical thinker in your professional and personal life. By immersing yourself in the science of cognitive biases and critical thinking, and by learning how to think about thinking (a practice known as metacognition), you'll gain concrete lessons for doing so more critically, more intelligently, and more successfully.
The key to successful critical thinking lies in understanding the neuroscience behind how our thinking works - and goes wrong; avoiding common pitfalls and errors in thinking, such as logical fallacies and biases; and knowing how to distinguish good science from pseudoscience. Professor Novella tackles these issues and more, exploring how the (often unfamiliar) ways in which our brains are hardwired can distract and prevent us from getting to the truth of a particular matter.
Along the way, he provides you with a critical toolbox that you can use to better assess the quality of information. Even though the world is becoming more and more saturated information, you can take the initiative and become better prepared to make sense of it all with this intriguing course.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
I have listened to several lectures in this series and loved every one. Not so much this one, though. I keep rereading the title to see if it might give me some indication where I went wrong. But, no. That's no help.
Going into the lecture, I was expecting Professor Novella to instruct us on ways to use the scientific method to think about things in a critical way. That's not what this lecture is about at all. Instead, it is about how to think critically about science.
In the first two or three sessions he does touch on some practical uses of critical thinking, and then again in the final session. The rest of the time he spends talking about scientists who have made mistakes and people who believe in kooky ideas, like cult teachings.
I initially chose this lecture over, say, Important Pharaohs of Egypt, because of something I recently heard on the news. The White House held a press conference to let people know that the government healthcare website was safe and had not been hacked. Normally I don't pay much attention to White House press conferences, but this one struck me because there was no news report before hand to indicate that the website was unsafe. This, therefore, led me to think that this was the result of a logical fallacy. Someone was poisoning the well. Someone who is opposed to government healthcare started a rumor, and people who weren't using their critical thinking skills spread it around, thus causing the White House to address a problem that did not exist.
Because of this, I wanted to know more about how our brains work, and why people let themselves get carried away by things they haven't fully thought through. Not about the drudgery of scientific proof.
There is one thing about this lecture that I did like, however. While I was sitting there listening, trying very hard to learn something new, I realized that my level of critical thinking is above normal. Learning by not learning. Hmm...
I'm not saying this is a bad lecture. It will be very interesting to someone who has never heard this information before. It's very important to learn how to call BS when it needs to be called. But I didn't find this lecture helpful. Perhaps I am just to skeptical about everything already.
Greetings. My brother introduced me to Audible in 2011. Since, nothing but enjoyment. Hopefully my reviews are very useful to you. Enjoy!
Yes I would. Very informative and exposes the listener to things going on that impact your life that you know nothing about and no way to offset it. It provides very useful info regarding nearly every aspect of your life. The narrator/professor speaks in layman term. Very pleasant to listen to.
The organization of these lectures was very good. The material was not new for me - if you have read Dan Ariely, Daniel Kahneman or Michael Schermer, etc. then the concepts will not be new - but it was a great reminder and I particularly liked the way the material flowed and was organized. Very logical.
The narration by the professor was excellent. Great diction and pace.
These are essential concepts that are good for me to remind myself of at least once a year.
I received some good points on critical thinking but felt the author promoted his own point of view more than being objective as he was telling us to be.
I found the piece had little new information for me and didn't present its idea effectively. When I have to decipher what someone is saying because of their poor choice of words and lack of flow in what should a polished, published peice like this then there's a problem. The examples and stories were boring and a few times were misinformed.
I felt like this whole thing was done in a single, poor take. The professors constant use of the word 'literally' was a bit obnoxious.
Individuals looking for reaffirmation of their skepticism of, or those looking to walk out from the shadows of pseudo-science.
There is no skill building here. The book lays out the world as the author (and for the most part the scientific community at large) sees it; but provides nothing for the reader that can be used to build on their existing critical skill set. An individual struggling to shake off belief in the existence of Bigfoot may find this book useful; but if you are a professional looking to add something to your toolkit with regards to your own critical thinking process, the author has nothing to offer you. Don't waste your time.
I found this narrator a tough listen.
I would describe this as 11 hours and 56 minutes of talking points, with most of the underlying supporting research and references left out. You will get a lot of good cocktail party conversation out of this, but you will have to do your own research if you are going to make any kind of informed judgment as to the potential validity of what is being presented.
The title of this presentation is way off the mark. If you are looking for Effective Communication Skills technique, you need to look elsewhere.
This course is not worth the time spent on it, since all the ideas from these lectures could be explained in one 30 minute lecture.
Moreover, the course is not about critical thinking, the course is about how to think as a scientist.
It remains a mystery for me why this course has such high rating on audible!
I'm a big fan of non-fiction books about the way our minds work, the way our logic works, etc... Books like "Thinking: Fast and Slow" are fascinating but at times can be overwhelming in their depth and length. This set of lectures is a concise yet all encompassing overview of the whole subject. It's got enough depth to sink your teeth into, without beating over the head with too many example, and it moves from subject to subject at a pace that keeps things interesting. You'll definitely want breaks to process some of the information, as listening to 5-6 lectures straight might make your eyes glaze over. But overall, this is the best of the great courses, in my opinion.
The Professor engages in a tour of how flawed your brain is and how you cannot trust your brain. He also offers examples to illustrate the point but I found several inane.
For example, he a made a point to state that a pilot diverted his ship because of a UFO but turned out to be a Mylar balloon. Obviously he does not consider that the term UFO means "unidentified flying object" which is what the pilot reported.
From a lecture series on critical thinking, I expected the words and sentence structures to be a little more precise. It got a little loose thus clarity was lost.
He also offers a lot of evolutionary explanations and uses a "bandwagon" fallacy to support evolution. He speaks of gaps in evolution as if it is mere details instead of very large holes in evolutionary theory. Instead of embracing this critical thinking he dismisses it with an ad hominem "Evolution Deniers".
Then he engages in the construction of logical argument. Given that he argued that your brain is flawed and cannot be trusted, why should anyone take the arguments and logic from someone else's brain?
BHis explanation on logical argument is a bit weak. You'd be better off getting a quick primer. He confuses terms and conflates them.
Have not finished the lectures but am not finding them worthwhile
Dr Steven Novella has written an excellent series of lessons that really helps one understand why people believe strange things. More importantly though, he explains how our own brains can deceive us. Ever wondered how everyone else around you remembers something completely different to how you remember it? Or how someone can come to a completely different conclusion to something than you did, even though you both had the exact same data? This book is fascinating and helps one realise, just because you saw it/ heard it/ analysed it (etc.) doesn't mean you'll come to the correct conclusion unless you take steps to ensure you don't let personal bias get in the way.
His many years as a teacher at Yale and podcasting ensure it is very easy to listen to this series of lectures. Broken down into half hour sessions, you can go through it is small chunks (I listened to it in three large chunks though, I was enjoying it so much). The one criticism I would have, being an audiobook, the times Dr Novella mentions different visual phenomena that fool us becomes a little difficult, not having the picture in front of you (some are famous and probably don't need an accompanying picture, but some aren't). The same with the audio phenomena. It would have been easy to include them in the audiobook. There also appeared to be mention of a workbook, which I could not find out anything about.
Having said that, those few issues were not serious enough for me to take any marks off. This is a great book with some truly fascinating things to learn, read in a way that made the time pass by so quickly.
Thoroughly recommend it.
"This covers it all"
So as a scientist, this is an area of great personal interest and I've done a huge amount of background reading in this subject. This one book covers all aspects of critical thinking. If you are familiar with this area, then be prepared to hear some of the same examples you will have come across elsewhere, but don't let that put you off. This is clear and well laid out and I wish everyone could listen to it.
"A great insight into the ways we think"
Insightful, useful, applicable
The useful and applicable methods to make the most of our inherent methods of thinking
Engaging examples, useful approaches
Highly recommended for everyone, especially those whose work depends on thinking
Amazing talk by great speaker. Really says what it is in their title. Thinking about thinking and really being analytical and questioning yourself and others.
Highly recommend for anyone that likes to intellectually engage.
"How to grow your brain & explode your ego!"
This course will grow your brain by challenging your beliefs and give you a clear process to reality check any of your conclusions. In other words, putting your dearest most lovingly held beliefs through the meat grinder of scientific critical thinking. Not for the faint hearted! It is not about how to be right, although it could be, but hopefully it will explode your ego in the same way it has mine and give you the tools you need to have more humility in the face of your thoughts and beliefs.
"Brilliant introduction to objective thinking"
The topic was presented with multiple, easy to understand, examples. Despite it being a "scientific guide", it is presented for a wide demographic
Prof Novella was able to bring about several personal anecdotes to emphasize certain points
Recommended listening for learning how to understand your own flaws in thinking and catch & correct biases. Excellent!
"A great introduction to critical thinking skills"
This course discussed critical thinking skills over 24 lectures, covering topics such as biases, our flawed perceptions as humans, logical fallacies, common myths, problems with media/journalism amongst others.
Needless to say, since the breadth of topics is so large it's difficult to comprehend everything in one run through. I imagine this will be the case with all audiobooks from the great courses.
However, this means that there is a wealth of knowledge to be learned here and some topics are more important and helpful to others. This means that there is opportunities to listen to relevant chapters again if one so desires. I would like to point out that a single run through is sufficient to increase your critical thinking skills.
I personally enjoy learning common logical fallacies since I think that is an easy way to help correct the thinking of yourself and to see the flaws in logic in others. I also enjoyed learning about common myths and their criticisms. It demonstrates critical thinking skills quite well and encourages you to attempt critical thinking of your own.
He has the perfect speaking speed to play comfortably at 2x speed. Otherwise speaking was clear and concise.
I loved the wisdom that the author gave that while science is a powerful tool it cannot answer all questions. Questions such as "What is good?" (i.e. Morality) and "What is beauty?" are not questions which can be answered by science. So it's important to remember that you cant know everything from science alone and it should only be used to answer questions which it can answer.
I found this very eye opening.
I 100% recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve their critical thinking skills. It made my critical thinking skills improve with immediate effects by being able to judge scientific journals and articles better by appraising the merits of the writing and the science behind them. I've also made use of it in multiple discussions where I've avoided falling into multiple logical traps as well as being able to make better constructed arguments.
Awesome course, can't recommend it enough.
"Should be required reading for everyone"
One of those "change your whole world view" audio books. Excellent content and presentation from Steven Novella.
Very highly recommended
"Highly recommended for those of a skeptical nature"
I really enjoyed this course. I feel I can think more clearly about what is going on around me and I would recommend it to anyone for this reason.
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