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
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
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.
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.
This is one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to and my favourite so far of The Great Courses
Professor Novella is easy to listen to, simplifies topics so they are understandable without 'dumbing it down' for his audience.
Everyone should to listen to this and use these tools of critical thinking in everyday life.
This is now required for my students in the college courses I teach. An absolutely thorough and well tempered exploration of critical thinking, scientific skepticism, and cognitive bias. For me the lecture really picks up momentum when it reaches informal fallacies, and from then on out I felt totally engaged with the speaker. A fantastic reminder of our own fallibility and the need for systematic analysis of our own beliefs.
One of best courses I've listened to. Prof Novella over delivers in the course. I will definitely revisit this time and time again in the future.
Author suffers from a good number of brain flaws he describes in the book. Too much agenda not enough science.
Filter the agenda, stick to the science.
Avoid the agenda or at least mask it a bit!
I've enjoyed most of the Great Courses books but this one is just not good!
Overall a good lecture. Started to seem slow near the end. My favorite part was the logical fallacies. I'd like to go back and memorize them. Then I would use them when debating someone.
"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.
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.
"Excellent but listen like a true sceptic"
Overall and excellent overview of the way to attempt to cultivate a rational and balanced view.
There are no characters in this audiobook.
As with all the Great Courses the narrator is the expert and thus has a natural passion and thorough knowledge of what they are speaking about. This intimate connection is essential to enjoying an audiobook but is lacking in so many books that have employed professional narrators who clearly have little idea about the tone and rhythm appropriate to the subject matter.
I found some of the author's views to be strikingly incoherent.
The author seems to believe that media outlets have sufficient staff to thoroughly investigate an international act of terror, stocks and shares trading by multi-national financial corporations, the CIA/FBI, senior government officials and foreign governments yet he also states that they do not have the resources to employ a qualified science editor to research articles before publishing them.
He also completely ignores the complication of economics and politics that are intertwined with coverage by all modern media outlets whether this be the desire to retain large advertising contracts to the fact that governments have the jurisdiction and power to prevent information that they do not want to be exposed from being broadcast or published through laws that incorporate national security.
The method the author uses to reach his conclusions during some sections of the book are glib, presumptuous and rather hypocritical given the overall lesson of this audio book.
The author's own fallibilities only serve to highlight how easy it is to enter into lazy group think and lose a true sceptic's approach of dissecting and analysing information.
"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
"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 toolkit for life"
This is quite the most useful course I have bought, I have so many bookmarks and notes in this. I felt the need to have the content: including heuristics and logical fallacies memorised so that I can steer a safe course around the hucksters of modern advertising and over the pitfall of modern life.
It's pretty unique, but if I had to I'd say it reads like a survival guide (or a handbook to common problems you might be having with your wetware). The problem/issue is stated clearly (usually some kind of problem with perception or the brain's habit of creating useful but problematic short cuts to methodical truth evaluation) then a useful label then the remedy to ameliorate the problem, cool I promise.
Engaging, I love the supporting evidence the set up so to speak for the course, fascinating!
Lol, it would be a documentary and it might be:The brain a users guide, or Under the hood
Thanks great courses
Very interesting subject, delivered in a clear and engaging manner. I highly recommend to everyone.
"Amazingly pithy and practical"
This is an absolutely fantastic guide to anyone who wants to know why we're naturally so bad at thinking critically and how you can deliberately turn yourself around.
Only negative is the canned applause and terrible intro music.
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