How to Become a Better Thinker and What Everybody Needs

The Piazzetta_Smithsonian
Making Sense:

Most of the links I share weekly are not ten step lists, and for a reason. For the stuff that truly matters requires we put in the work. Knowledge is most useful when it becomes wisdom, understanding is mostly about love.

  • How do I become a better thinker? Shane Parrish on QuoraTwo of the guiding principles that I follow on my path towards seeking wisdom are: (1) Go to bed smarter than when you woke up and (2) I'm not smart enough to figure everything out myself, so I want to 'Master the best of what other people have already figured out.'
  • What Everybody Needs. Brain Pickings: You know what everybody needs? You want to put it in a single word? Everybody needs to be understood. And out of that comes every form of love. If someone truly feels that you understand them, an awful lot of neurotic behavior just disappears — disappears on your part, disappears on their part. So if you’re talking about what motivates this world to continue existing as a community, you’ve got to talk about love.

Making do:

A look at the contradictions between what companies say and what they do and what individuals seek and what they end up doing because of it.

  • The Not So Friendly Skies. The Big Picture: “Purchasing a ticket to a point beyond the actual destination and getting off the aircraft at the connecting point is unethical,” according to the letter by American, which isn’t party to the case. Overbooking and bumping people, of course, is perfectly ethical. Also, I’m not sure if any airline official has yet commented on the ethicality of not lowering fares in the face of the price of oil – the airline industry’s single largest expense – being halved. Funny how prices aren’t sticky on the way up, but only on the way down.
  • On Being Original. Om Malik: I keep asking the question: can we be original in this time of a networked society? How does one be original, and not be influenced by what is happening around us, all the time? We are being bombarded by information, and even unknowingly, we are getting influenced by it.

Making It:

Creators do need a mechanism to exchange views. This is different from a tribe, it is where the idea is protected long enough to germinate and the prototype is rendered functional before its public release. Peer reviews might lead to changing course; so do circumstances. Necessity being the mother of invention.

  • The Return of the Guild — Life and Philosophy — Medium: It’s easy to forget that guilds once ruled the world. By the time Rembrandt painted his masterpiece “Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild” in 1662, the concept, and inherent intrinsic value of guilds, was already a 400 year-old idea. If you were a craftsman, or merchant, or clothier in the case of Rembrandt’s drapers, guilds offered members and society at large great benefits: ranging from education and apprenticeships to medieval forms of peer review, and all important stamps of approval.
  • How Statisticians Changed the War, and the War Changed Statistics. The Economist: The new statisticians worked on government accounts; rationing (which ensured no Britons starved and greatly improved the diet of the poorest third); manpower surveys; the “pay as you earn” system of taxation (which raised the cash needed to wage the war); and the Beveridge Report on social insurance that later led to the founding of the welfare state.

[Image credit: James McNeill Whistler, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery]

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