Thinking about thinking - we are changing the way we think

Thinking About Thinking

History suggests that we have always been interested in how we think. Philosophy is a very old discipline and everything else we do from empire-building activities to politics and war depend upon our ability to understand and divine another person’s motivation.

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu wrote: “Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy, but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.” Self knowledge demands awareness, awareness increases the chances of empathy, empathy places us not just outside our own brain looking in also but inside the brain of someone else, looking out.

The last 20,000 years of history can be seen as a constant, relentless march towards augmentation. We used machines to help us do more than we physically can and computers to take more of a load than our brains can handle. But now, it would seem, just when we have machines that can do just about everything and computers that are so fast and reliable that they can drive cars on their own, what provides the defining advantage to going further is us, or more precisely what’s inside our head.

The brain has become the focus as “the ultimate weapon” as John Steinbeck prophetically, said. Whether we are looking to use the brain’s capacity as a weapon in the more literal sense of a battlefield setting or in the more cerebral way of it providing a competitive advantage the fact remains that it is the inner resources of our mental world that are now being turned to, to help maintain the momentum of our progress.

In thinking about thinking we can change the way we operate and raise our game by applying specific techniques successfully used by the most successful amongst us. This blog is a case in point as, indeed is the book behind it that details some of the ways we can become better versions of who we are.

In this endeavor I am not alone. Hand-picked for you are some of the blogs that are actively looking at decision making and what affects it to help you improve.

  1. InDecision - InDecision is a blog run by early career researchers and practitioners in judgment and decision making. We want to give younger scholars a voice, reach a wider audience with their work, and give everyone a chance to see what happens inside decision-making science. The blog is a look at science through a scientist’s eyes instead of a strict “how-to” but it is insightful, measured in its approach and informative.
  2. Wallstreetmojo – Is the personal blog of Dheeraj Vaidya, a former J. P. Morgan analyst who’s current focus is to help those who carry out financial analysis. The focus of the blog is on financial analysis; decision making plays a central role here.
  3. Farnam Street - This is the blog of Shane Parrish and it’s a compendium of insights, articles, essays and analysis. The mix is broad and heady but deftly handled and Shane has an easy-going writing style that helps everything make sense.
  4. DARPA research blog - The research blog of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. As you can imagine it covers virtually everything DARPA is interested. It’s a sign of the times we live in that decision making is key to it.

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