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Irrationality Game II

Irrationality Game:

I believe Plato (and others) were right when they said music develops some form of sensibility, some sort of compassion. I posit a link between the capacity of understanding music and understanding other people by creating accurate images of them in our head, and of how they feel. 80%

Summary of "How to Win Friends and Influence People"

Dear Cosmos

Thank you for you answer. I'm not too shabby, that is I can easily turn a stranger into an acquaintance or lover. It's from acquaintance to friend, and finding acquaintances I'd like to be friends with that I could improve (which translates to chapters 4 and 5 of your book, which sadly are not available). Please do update when they are.

Summary of "How to Win Friends and Influence People"

Thank you.

Since I presume you have read the book, may I ask, how did it work for you?

I'm very interested in upping my social skills.


How to read a book

As Rain said it is based on the book.

The more I read your post the more difficulty I have in answering. I don't know how valuable your time is, so cannot say if this book is worth your time or not.

It is not worth mine, but, alas, it was once.

If you read a book by starting on the first word and going to the next one until you arrive at the last one, then read it, the first half.

If you never read a book arguing for the classics, then read it, the second half.

Or instead of following what I say skim it, and decide if it is worth your time.

Even better, use the algorithm above on a book that you know is worth your time, and if you find the algorithm worth it, then you can infer that the book may also be worth it.


How to read a book

Don't waste your time. Here is the algorithm:

A. Systematic skimming or pre-reading.

  1. This is achieved by: reading the title, table of contents, preface, editors note, introduction, back flap, etc.

  2. Reading the index to see the major themes, topics, ideas, and terms the author will be discussing.

  3. Reading through the book by reading the first couple of pages or so, the last couple of pages or so, and then flipping through the book, dipping in here and there.

B. Superficial reading is the second part of inspectional reading. To achieve this you must read through the entire book at a fast pace and without stopping to think about terms you’re unfamiliar with, ideas you don’t immediately grasp, and points which are footnoted for further inspection. Doing both (A) and (B) will prepare you to read the book through for the second time; the analytical stage.

IV. The third stage of reading is called “analytical reading.” There are three stages, made up of various rules, of analytical reading.

A. Stage one: Rules for finding out what the book is about.

  1. Classify the book according to kind and subject matter. This is also referred to as pigeonholing a book.

(a) Is it a poem, play, epic, work of philosophy or theology, history, science, etc.

(b) Is it theoretical or practical.

(i) A theoretical book reports facts, offers detached arguments, or offers insight or understanding of a position. These books teach you that something is the case.

(ii) A practical book tells you how to live, or how to do something. These books teach you how to do something.

(iii) As an aside, these two cannot be sharply separated. As John Frame points out in The Doctrine of God, facts and application of the facts go hand in hand. When I learn the 6th commandment I know how to apply it. But as I apply it to more diverse areas of life, I learn more about the 6th commandment.

  1. Succinctly state what the book is about. That is, find the main theme or point of the book. You should be able to state this in a sentence, paragraph at most. This is different than (IV.A.1) in that here we are asking what the book is about, not what kind of book it is.

  2. Outline the book. See this outline for an instantiation of this rule. Basically, you want to get at the bones of the book. The basic structure. The construction of the major themes and arguments. How the book proceeds. The skeleton.

  3. Define the problem(s) the author has tried to solve. To see the unity of a book you need to know why it has the unity it has (supposing it’s a good book and it has a unity!). To know why it has the unity it has you should know the authors main problem(s) he’s trying to answer; as well as subordinate questions and answers.

B. Stage two: Rules for interpreting the book’s content.

  1. Coming to terms with the author.

(a) A term is not a word. A term is the meaning of a word. Water and agua are two different words, they mean the same thing though.

(b) To know the authors terms, then, is to understand the meaning of his argument or explanation, etc.

(c) Find the important words and through them come to terms with the author.

(d) The words he uses in an important way, or the ones you have trouble understanding, are probably the important terms you need to know.

(e) Read all the words in context to find the meaning of the terms; how the author means them, that is.

  1. Grasp the leading propositions by finding the key sentences.

(a) Propositions are the meanings of sentences.

(b) You find the leading propositions by finding the key sentences.

(c) You find the key sentences myriad ways:

(i) The author marks them out for you in some way.

(ii) These are the sentences that give you the most trouble.

(iii) The sentences express judgments, I.e., they are not questions or exclamations!

(iv) These are his reasons for affirming or denying the main problem(s) he has set out to answer.

  1. Find the author’s argument by finding them in the key sequences of sentences.

(a) Sting together the important propositions into an ordered structure.

(b) An argument must involve more than one statement.

(c) An argument might be an inductive or deductive one.

(d) Observe what the author says he must prove and what he must assume.

  1. Find which problem(s) the author solved and which one’s he did not. If he did not, find out if he knows that he did not.

(a) Did the author solve the problem(s) he set out to solve?

(b) Did he raise new ones in the process?

(c) Did the author admit or know that he failed to solve some of the problem(s)?

(d) If you know the solutions to the problem/s you can be confident that you understand the book.


Science: Do It Yourself

So to make myself clear, maybe I'll get some responses. If 100000 people use strategy A which gives results 10% of the time, and 100 people use strategy B which gives results 50% of the time (results as in they get rich), you will have 10000 people that got rich trough A and only 50 trough B.

If you wanted to get rich you'd be better served using strategy B, but you cannot see the cemetery of strategy A only looking at the Forbes 400. So isn't this strategy not only not optimal, but actually harmful?

Science: Do It Yourself

" Google the list of the Forbes 400.

  • Go through each of the biographies for people on the list (or the first 200, or the first 100, or whatever is a large enough sample).

  • Write down how they got rich.

  • Summarize the data above: How do most rich people get rich?

Actually looking at data is simple, easy, and straightforward, and yet almost no one actually does it."

Won't that incur in the "not seeing the cemetery" fallacy?