If you've been on social media lately, or turned on your TV, you may have noticed a lot of dumb ideas floating around.
"We know when history will repeat and when it won't."
"We can tell the difference between evidence and coincidences."
"The simplest explanation is usually true."
Wrong, wrong, and dangerous!
If we're not careful, loserthink would have us believe that every Trump supporter is a bigoted racist, addicts should be responsible for fixing the opioid epidemic, and that your relationship fell apart simply because you chewed with your mouth open.
Even the smartest people can slip into loserthink's seductive grasp. This book will teach you how to spot and avoid it--and will give you scripts to respond when hollow arguments are being brandished against you, whether by well-intentioned friends, strangers on the internet, or political pundits. You'll also learn how to spot the underlying causes of loserthink, like the inability to get ego out of your decisions, thinking with words instead of reasons, failing to imagine alternative explanations, and making too much of coincidences.
Your bubble of reality doesn't have to be a prison. This book will show you how to break free--and, what's more, to be among the most perceptive and respected thinkers in every conversation.
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About the Author
Date of Birth:June 8, 1957
Place of Birth:Catskill, New York
Education:B.A., Hartwick College, 1979; M.B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1986
Read an Excerpt
What Is Loserthink?
Despite evidence to the contrary, we all use our brains. But most of us have never learned how to think effectively. I’m not talking about IQ or other measures of intelligence, which matter in their own way, of course. I’m talking about thinking as a learned skill. We don’t teach thinking in schools, and you can see the results of that nearly every day. If you use social media, or you make the mistake of paying attention to other people’s opinions in any form, you’re probably seeing a lot of absurd and unproductive reasoning that I call loserthink.
Loserthink isn’t about being dumb, and it isn’t about being underinformed. Loserthink is about unproductive ways of thinking. You can be smart and well informed while at the same time being a flagrant loserthinker. That is not only possible; it’s the normal situation. My observation, after several decades on this planet, is that clear thinking is somewhat rare. And there’s a reason for that. No matter how smart you are, if you don’t have experience across multiple domains, you’re probably not equipped with the most productive ways of thinking.
For example, a trained engineer learns a certain way of thinking about the world that overlaps but is different from how a lawyer, a philosopher, or an economist thinks. Having any one of those skill sets puts you way ahead in understanding the world and thinking about it productively. But unless you have sampled the thinking techniques across different fields, you are missing a lot. And again, to be super clear, I am not talking about the facts one learns in those disciplines. I am only talking about the techniques of thinking that students of those fields pick up during the process of learning.
The good news is that you don’t need to master the fields of engineering, science, economics, philosophy, law, or any other field in order to learn the basics of how to think the way experts in those areas think.
For example, if you didn’t know what the concept of sunk costs is all about, I could explain it in thirty seconds and you would fully understand it.
Sunk costs: Money you already spent shouldn’t influence your decision about what to do next, but for psychological reasons, it often does.
I wrote this book to get you acquainted with (or remind you of) the most productive thinking techniques borrowed from multiple domains. Collectively, they will help you avoid unproductive loserthink.