If there’s one key takeaway from this book, then it is to embrace being wrong and be less resentful. Ego gets hurt when someone disapproves of our idea or opinion, but being rigid costs us and hurts our growth. Intelligence is a twin of doubt, the sooner we get that message, the better we can get. Cocksure is only for stupid and arrogant.
Learning to rethink is a skill that’s most demanded these days. And this is what the book exactly tries to do. To turn us into scientists who always question and question like the great old Socrates. Let’s start the cruise—
- Don’t be the preacher. Don’t get me wrong. Being a preacher here means a person who doesn’t change his beliefs no matter what. Or there’s another category who defends. That is a prosecutor. And the last don’t-want category is a politician who sells lies to make us believe. But a man with a scientific temper like Bill Nye brings us questions, challenges and a curious mind who’s a bamboo bending to the winds of evidence.
And also it doesn’t mean being a man or woman without confidence who should always bend his head and listen. It means having a right proportionate intellectual humility whose house is open to fresh visitors.
George Bernard Shaw—“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Avoid big totalitarian egos.
- Debate is not a war to win. Best negotiators do not strike the opposite soldier but make a deal. That’s what you need to do. Find the common ground without losing cool and accept when the point is right and carefully mention when something is wrong. And don’t blabber too much. Shoot the best points and stay quiet. And ask questions if there’s a disagreement. Dance with your foes and engage with the critics.
Dick Cavett—It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear.
- Avoid Binary bias. Turning debates into believers vs non-believers leads to polarization which is bad in our continuing search for truth. There are always many sides to the issue. For instance, take the issue of affirmative action. It’s not about continuing or cancelling it because that’s not going to solve our problem of injustice. Instead, we need to look to loopholes on the pro side and con side and then fix issues on both sides.
Denying rather than perspective-taking will divide us. Here’s a pearl of hot wisdom to you—
“I do not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”