Top 10 Reads of 2015

I believe that intentionally expanding our understanding of the world through the differing perspectives of others is an incredibly important component of living deliberately. Reading is one powerful way to do that.

Reading is also good for developing focus and empathy, for reducing stress, for enhancing leadership capacity, for fostering deep and innovating thinking, and for improving memory!

Elephants and Algorithms: How to avoid the confirmation bubble

There’s a famous parable about six blind men and an elephant. Each of the men approach the elephant from a different angle, and, using only their sense of touch, discuss what they find. ‘It’s a rope’, says the man holding the tail. ‘No, it’s a tree branch’, says the one holding the trunk. The man holding the tusk thinks it’s a pipe, and on they go, disagreeing, until a king approaches and explains the elephant as a whole animal.┬áThe lesson, of course, is that they were all partially right – it’s just that each of them had access to a different part of the truth, and none of them, with only his own perspective, had the whole picture.

The reason this parable has been around for hundreds of years and been retold throughout numerous cultures, is that it contains a simple, powerful truth about human nature – we have a tendency to blindspots. We find ourselves viewing the world from a particular perspective, and tuning out voices that might conflict with that understanding. Yet there are a few simple things we can do to help correct for this tendency, and so be in the best position to see the true big picture and make the best decision in light of that.

How not to be fooled by 7 common, but flawed, tools of persuasion

The ability to exchange differences of opinion in a reasoned and respectful manner is vital – both to personal relationships and to the health of society. Yet these sorts of healthy dialogues sometimes seem in short supply.

There are often types of arguments put forward that sound convincing, and are certainly passionate, but actually lack credibility or internal consistency.

Being deliberate in what we think and believe means having the intellectual discipline to spot logical fallacies, and also refuse to use them ourselves.

Here are 7 flawed types of arguments to watch out for, in your own thinking or that of others.