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
This series of lectures was both entertaining and very enlightening. I found myself every bit as engaged with this as with most of the fiction titles I've listened to and not the slightest bit dry.
The info itself translates well for non-scientists. IMHO it gives the average person different ways of approaching questions and claims made by others - be it medical professionals, sales people or other individuals.
Well worth listening to.
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.
IT covered a lot of ground and did so well.
I do a lot of driving and it covered the topic without the need for visuals.
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.
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.
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'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.
Dr. Novella is very good at communicating, which made this course easy to listen to. Of course the content was excellent as well.
I highly recommend this book to anyone curious about how science, skepticism, or critical thinking.
With a bit of research I feel I could have given just as good a course myself. It's terrible to listen to an author who doesn't follow his own advice, one who uses contradictory ideas to prove his own theories. I found myself arguing with this professor quite a lot because of not very well articulated references.
Some interesting and informative lecture material but mostly a very uninteresting shotgun approach to critical thinking. I found myself getting bored with it and the applause before and after lectures is laughable as it is obvious there is no actual audience.
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.
"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.
"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.
What a brilliant book, very insightful and like all of the best ideas, brought back to simple terms throughout.
"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
"very strong start but undermined in by bias"
Perhaps it cant be. How many of us can be truly objective?
I didnt expect anything different on brain structure and chemistry, so was expecting the a priori conclusion that there is no 'self', even though the explanations given need not be the final word in themselves. Is the cause of a light switching on, the switch itself ?
However for a course that billed itself as critical thinking I expected better when it came to genuine reservations regarding Darwinian Evolution. Why? Because there is no other subject in Science that seems to raise emotions as much as this. Objections are often dismissed simply because of who presents them and invariably assumes that each protestor must necessarily be a Creationist which is not necessarily true (Richard Milton for example described himself as an agnostic). So in such a course this was inevitably going to be a pivotal revealing topic. Yes, the context in which this was discussed was vis-a-vis Creationism, and from this the impression given was simply that there were some gaps that might be explained in the future. Is this not however a case of the very wishful thinking that is criticised earlier on in the course? Also the complaint that the alternative explanation was not scientific compelling is not for me the primary issue but rather the doubts of flaws of Darwinian Evolution expressed in the first place.
I think that the other issue was this course was really heavily centred around the scientific method with a logic overlay, which granted was pointed out at the start. However this precludes approaches such as metaphysics, that does not lend itself to the scientific method but is consistent and no less critical in the application of logic.
No because it will be very dependent on the individual course tutor.
The narration itself was well done.
yes the first section of the book was very good, particularly some of the examples of conspiracy theory. Unfortunately once you see a bias, particularly in this type of course, it then undermines the delivery.
For logic and critical thinking I found D Q McInerney's 'Being Logical : A Guide to Good Thinking, a much smaller but good concise guide.
Importantly for the scientific paradigm Thomas Kuhn's 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions' , Karl Popper's 'The Logic of Scientific Discovery' and yes even Paul Feyerabend's 'Against Method'
"thank you made my life look so boring now"
"secret history o f the world" :-)
enyone else will do
the professor was trying to denounce some myths with not so easy to proof theorys of his, leaving everyting in hands of coincidence.
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