Thinking as a Science
This is a review and notes of Henry Hazlitt’s “Thinking as a Science”.
- Spend allocated time to think about a given hard topic
- Understand beforehand why it is important than all other topics for n minutes - mind wandering happens because we are not convinved of the importance of the problem being attached
- Train mind on hard questions - to box to get good at boxing
- Write to structure the thought and eliminate leaps
- High-bandwith increase through talking the thoughts out-loud, drawing
- Treat every idea as a beginning, “germ” no matter how complete and expand it anyway
- Know one domain well and read every 3rd or 4th book only in this domain
- Before solving, ask what difference would it make it I hold one opinion or the other
- Take as many viewpoints as possible
- Have contradicting viewpoints at the same time although for the limited time
- To think and to act differently just for the sake of it is dangerous
- Thinking is a tool, bad tools = bad product
- Unsolvable ideas are unlocked by the smalles of nature observations, but require rigorous thinking in order to be so
- To determine the validity of the problem is a problem
- A priori
- Method of a different nature 1) Thinking out for yourself 2) Reflect why the result fell short if that is the case
- Subdividing into smaller pieces
On the impossibility
If the problem is impossible to solve, leave it for a day, week, month, year progressively and keep coming back to it until solved. Forcing the mind to crack the problem is similar to creating waves on the sea — thoughts will be gone as birds from the water surface.
Complex Questions Bank
- Does the society shape people’s characters of people’s characters shape the society?
- What is the purpose of war?
If a book presents questions or conclusion at the end of each chapter - begin with it. Answer questions using your own mind, then go on to read the chapter and see if you’ve been correct and in what way presented information correlates with your outcomes.
In the middle of the author’s thought, stop reading and try to guess what’s the author is about to say next. Anticipate and see if you are on the mark.
What a waste of time is when no understanding is made on every thought written by the author by labeling such an approach “waste of time”.
Do not try go guess sentences, understand them.
Picking what to read
- No good book is going to offset bad books consumption. Food analogy: no nutritious food is going to offset junk you’ve eaten. There is no way back so pick carefully.
- Pick a goal, then a book.
Each word we use is just a concept. When I say “phone”, today I mean iPhone and in 1980 it would mean landline mechanical phone. Words, their meanings constantly flux in the mind. Imagine how they differ among invidivudals.
- To convey some thought as precise as possible express it in as many ways as possible
- Write down and idea immediately as it flushes through
- Improvement in thought ⟷ Improvement in writing
- Write problems and solutions not addressed in the book and then think them out for yourself
Next-up reading recommended
1) Herbert Spencer’s “First Principles”
2) Collection: Sir John Lubbock’ “One hundred best books”
3) Collection: Frank Parson’s “The world’s best books”