How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass: A Critical Thinkers Guide to Asking the Right Questions

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It helps you understand where people are coming from and what they're influenced by. I didn't read this to learn to be a pain in the ass so much as to learn how to formulate a solid argument or position and this book covers that.

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I did find some of the topics a little hollow and overly lengthy but the author knew what he was trying to share so I'll just go with it. Sep 30, Blakely rated it liked it. If your college Philosophy class was a three course meal this is a nice light snack. Quick, easy to read and to understand, but still pretty good. This contains probably the best description of the Socratic Method I've every read. Oct 19, Bruce rated it really liked it. Good roadmap to a way of thinking about your views of the world. It provides terminology, rationale and comparison for multiple views.

A good starting point for a more formal entry into skepticism. Jun 20, Michiel Tummers rated it liked it. First and second part where okay, nothing i havent read before. The drawings didnt add anything to the book imo, good easy page turner. Mar 13, Maarten Tummers rated it really liked it. Fun to read but missing examples and how to do this in real life etc. Aug 12, Sarah Clement rated it liked it Shelves: skeptics-book-club.

This would be a really great book for teaching critical thinking to high schoolers. The writing is clear and easy to understand, and it covered the most basic and important aspects of critical thinking. It's systematically written, and it's very clear where diCarlo is taking you. However, the style of writing wasn't for me, as it seemed more like an essay for university than one with a compelling, interesting narrative. It was almost robotic at times, then he would throw in a pretty decent joke, This would be a really great book for teaching critical thinking to high schoolers.

It was almost robotic at times, then he would throw in a pretty decent joke, so I don't think he's completely humourless! I just think his personality doesn't come through in the writing, and even though it's a book about a serious topic, I think a more compelling narrative would have made the book much better. His paragraphs are also unbearably long in parts, mainly because they cover more than one point.

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This not only makes it more difficult to read, but it doesn't make sense given how clear he is in most of the book. He also has a habit of repeating the same points over and over again. In several places he actually has almost an identical sentence written with slightly different wording, right in a row!

Professor helping students develop a critical way of thinking | engasomlesent.ml

The only reason I can think of for this is that he teaches undergraduates, and he must be used to having to flag his point really obviously and repeatedly to make sure it gets through. I'm a very slow, careful reader, however, so this drove me insane. The illustrations in this book are weird. They are often of everyday objects, and it's difficult to find the method in the madness behind how these were selected.

When there are relevant illustrations that are useful, they sometimes just threw me off. In his discussion of the "Onion Skin Theory of Knowledge" for instance, he is actually talking about pre-existing theories that many authors before him have discussed. Using systems theory to explain the relationship between natural and cultural systems is not new, and I found it a bit odd that he didn't reference any of these authors. There are entire disciplines devoted to this sort of perspective! They were interesting, but it would have been better if he had either phrased the questions more accurately or set them up better.

I personally misinterpreted a few. For instance, "why am I here?


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If he had explained that this was to get a sense that this was about whether you believe in natural or supernatural origins of life, that would have changed my thinking, but I thought the questions were more about ontology and epistemology. All that said, I am giving the book a fair rating because I think it's a really good guide to critical thinking, and I think it will be a useful book to keep around as a reference. I recently heard an interview with diCarlo, and I must say I am looking forward to his next book which is on free will.

But I think with that book I will have a look through before buying to see that it's written in a style that is Feb 14, Bob rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. When I started this book I was unimpressed by the accompanying diagrams -- they seemed totally unnecessary. And the first part of the book is really a primer for those unacquainted with the tools of critical thinking but it is well written with a certain self-deprecating humor.

The author frames the book in terms of the Five Big Questions that most humans attempt to answer in some form or another either through a natural or a supernatural approach. It is designed for anyone who would like to kno When I started this book I was unimpressed by the accompanying diagrams -- they seemed totally unnecessary.


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It is designed for anyone who would like to know more about how to think of such things in a way that is honest and practical and meaningful. The middle part of the book reviews early critical thinkers it would have been a blast to have a further historical survey, but this was not part of the author's intention and, again, is a good primer on the written origins of rationalism. Having answered the big five as requested in the first part -- and anticipating that my answers wouldn't change -- I didn't expect much from the third section, where the author explores both the rational approach and the supernatural approach to answering these primary questions.

But he really hit his stride and systematically broke down each of the ways we can arrive at answers to these questions. Along the way he effectively gives a concise summary of the big bang, evolution, quantum mechanics and other scientific ideas that are top-notch. By the end of the book, I was energized and enthused by his methods and can readily recommend the book to the newly skeptical or to the open-minded believer both.

Jul 02, Josh rated it really liked it Shelves: own-in-print. This is an excellent and accessible introduction to formal logic as well as an interesting discussion on philosophy. The first section deals with formal argument, including different structures of arguments as well as many fallacies common in Logic.

The book itself has a definite bias towards a naturalist alignment, but does well to make attempts to emphasize the suspension of judgement towards the supernaturalist points of view. In the third section of the book, diCarlo makes a strong argument This is an excellent and accessible introduction to formal logic as well as an interesting discussion on philosophy.

In the third section of the book, diCarlo makes a strong argument for taking the naturalist position when it comes to five of the most important questions of the human condition the Big Five he calls them. He reminds the readers that we are subject to what he calls historical facticity, meaning that just because we can't quantify things like God, soul, and other supernatural entities, doesn't mean that they might not someday develop the means to empirically measure the soul Newton would not have been able to discuss formal Quantum Mechanics, for example, the discourse of his particular milieu would have prohibited it--the knowledge had not yet been discovered.

I would recommend this to anyone is looking to springboard into philosophy and logic, and is open to having ideas like faith, truth and knowledge examined closely.

It is also ideal to those who took a level philosophy course during their undergraduate career and wants to brush up on argument and reasoning skills. Apr 01, Jay C rated it liked it. Probably more like a 3. Sort of a textbook on critical thinking and skeptical thinking as a PROCESS, rather than how it is more often viewed in the world at large as "not believing in anything. Why is that, anyway? One somewhat petty annoyance I found in the book was the inclusion of a lot of unnecessary or superfluous "ill Probably more like a 3.

One somewhat petty annoyance I found in the book was the inclusion of a lot of unnecessary or superfluous "illustrations" or "figures. When he mentions the squirrel, he parenthetically notes: "see figure x" which is a photograph of a squirrel sitting on a feeder. Did that enhance my reading experience?

Professor helping students develop a critical way of thinking

I found it odd May 15, Paul Lunger rated it really liked it. Overall one of the better self help guides in recent memory. View all 4 comments. Nov 08, Ryan rated it it was ok.

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I'd probably give this 3. It's a very solid--and funny!


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  • Fun though it was, there were times where DiCarlo could have fleshed some things out a bit more and added some stronger arguments for and against the supernatural positions that he picks apart. Still, this is a fun, informative and quick read that I'd probably give this 3.

    Still, this is a fun, informative and quick read that would work really well for a book club. Nov 10, Kati rated it liked it.