Philosophers are the strongest thinkers I know.

They're trained to evaluate ideas from a kaleidoscope of perspectives. They think like intellectual boxers, who understand ideas by making them fight with each other.

Their thinking is bloody, but boy is it effective.
In particular, I admire their patience with ideas.

Most people jump to moral conclusions when they find a new idea. A good philosopher has none of that hubris. Through critique and dialogue, they simply try to understand it instead, knowing that understanding is a slow process.
While the rest of us judge ideas, philosophers critique them.

They think dispassionately because they welcome the idea of being corrected, and in turn, updating their worldview. Thus, they welcome self-criticism, so long as it's done with a posture of intellectual generosity.
Where can philosophers improve?

"Philosophers are not interested enough in basic empirical facts, statistics, or in understanding expected value theory... Many of the best philosophers tend to be only interested in speaking with other philosophers."

@tylercowen When you come across an idea, you don't need to rush to judgment.

I call this "Sitting with the question."

Over time, your brain will play with ideas as you play with a Rubix Cube. As the colors change, you'll move towards truth by discovering their 2nd and 3rd order effects.
@tylercowen Sorry but history predicts that many of your core beliefs are actually wrong.

I know it's fun to mock the ideas of people who came before us, but there's no reason to think our grandchildren won't do the same thing to us. Choose intellectual humility over chronological snobbery.
@tylercowen Play with ideas like you play with a Jenga tower.

You study the architecture of an idea by examining its design. Thinking, then, becomes the act of poking at the blocks until the entire structure collapses. Once it does, you find the critical assumption.

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More from @david_perell

19 May
This paper explores the core personality traits of entrepreneurs:

∙ Capable
∙ Hubristic
∙ High self-esteem
∙ More likely to have done “illicit activities”

But here's the key line: "The number one predictor of entrepreneurship is asymmetric information about skill levels." ImageImageImageImage
I discovered this paper when @wolfejosh shared it a few years ago.

He mentioned a quote from William Blake: "I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create."
By asymmetric skill levels, the authors refer to people who are more talented than they are credentialed. They're the kinds of people who know how to build a business, even though they never went to college.

Being under-estimated makes them more likely to start a company.
Read 4 tweets
6 May
For all the talk about progress, why are beautiful buildings like this so rare these days?
Modern architecture really makes you question the gospel of efficiency.

I mean, seriously.
Oh and while we’re at it, can we have some Art Nouveau wallpaper too?
Read 4 tweets
3 May
The Simpsons secret to writing: Create an imperfect world, then improve it.
First, flood the page with ideas. Then, edit.

“Since writing is very hard and rewriting is comparatively easy and rather fun, I always write my scripts all the way through as fast as I can, the first day, if possible.”

(h/t @MarketPowerYT)…
The writers for The Simpsons were completely independent.

Since not even executives received advanced copies of the scripts, all the writers had to do was please themselves.
Read 5 tweets
30 Apr
New essay: A couple years ago, I realized that I knew embarrassingly little about Christianity.

So, I decided to change that. That search led me to history of human rights and the moral underpinnings of Western culture.

Here’s what I discovered.…
I didn’t think this piece would resonate.

But in terms of quality responses in the first 24 hours, it’s the most successful essay I’ve ever written.

Never have I experienced such a flood of responses — and I particularly love the personal stories of religious transformation.
Religious or not, every Westerner bathes in the waters of Christian ideology.

We are desensitized to Christianity’s influence on Western thought not because it’s irrelevant, but because it’s so all-consuming.
Read 5 tweets
5 Apr
Some paradoxes of modern life:

1. The paradox of reading: The books you read will profoundly change you even though you’ll forget the vast majority of what you read.
2. The paradox of writing: Great writing looks effortless. But because the ideas are so clear, casual readers don't appreciate how much time it took to refine them.
3. The paradox of creativity: Your work is done when it looks so simple that the consumer thinks they could've done it, which means they won't appreciate how hard you worked.
Read 14 tweets
1 Apr
I like the motto: “Don’t put-spend your competitors. Out-teach them.”

If you have a unique perspective, a solid product, and know how to spread your message on the Internet, you don’t have to spend money on paid marketing.
For information products, the Internet is inverting the way we’ve always done things:

Old method: Say little in public, share everything with customers.

New method: Say everything in public, but distill and refine ideas for customers.

(Simplified, but directionally true.)
“Education is a soft way to get your name — and your product’s name — in front of more people.

And instead of a hard sell “buy this product” approach, you’re getting attention by providing a valuable service.

People who you educate will become your evangelists.”

Read 4 tweets

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