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Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  707 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Volumes 1 and 2 of Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills Lecture Series. 24 total lectures, each 30 minutes long on 12 discs.
Audio CD, 6 pages
Published 2012 by The Teaching Company
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Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Okay as an introduction to the topic, but the tone is off, some of the examples are silly (conspiracy theories about greedy corporations are to be rejected out of hand), and the explanation of how we know about causality is incomplete (delving into cigarettes and lung cancer without discussing the Hill criteria).
Eugene Evenwel
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
The course’s goal was to make me learn about learning and think about thinking. It did exactly that!
Feng Ouyang
Jun 02, 2019 rated it liked it
The 24 lectures examine how ideas and understandings deviating from reality be accepted and spread as truth and beliefs.
After the introduction, the author starts by analyzing the human cognition systems. He points out that human perception and memory are not perfect. We fill the gaps with our understanding of the world, thus creating a reality that is a combination of sensory input and our preconceptions.
The lectures then turn into the human thinking process. Rational thinking is only a small
Ionuț Băjescu
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it
The book explains the thought process that people like homeopaths go through to arrive at erroneous conclusions.

The narration was slightly annoying as it was filled with "uhms" and repeated words, which is a bit annoying given that it's a recorded course i.e. he had time to prepare what he was going to say and still got some words wrong.

Having finished the course I don't think I've learned any new things, but I don't regret reading it either.
Brianna Silva
My favorite thing from this course was something he said near the end:

That we should invest our egos not in any particular beliefs, but in the process of critical thinking itself.

That way, challenging our beliefs never feels threatening; instead, we naturally take pride in changing our minds, and become afraid not of new information, but of being irrational.

That's the smartest brain hack I think I've ever heard.
A good refresher course on critical thinking skills. Topics covered include cognitive biases, flaws of memory, logic fallacies, heuristics, marketing scams, conspiracy theories, and pseudoscience. While the content is important, especially in the current social and political climate, I really wish the presentation had been less dry and lifeless.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! I was a little skeptical (meta!) going into this course that it was just going to be common sense, and maybe a good majority of it is common sense, but there are some really illuminating chapters that walk you through why conspiracy theories, ghosts, ESP are all bunk. For example, the tendency for humans to see patterns combined with the natural clustery nature of random data and events, causes humans to see dark connections when really nothing ever existed. The problem with large num ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
If only public schools in the U.S. implemented critical thinking skills. We certainly wouldn't be in a world where some people literally believe the world is flat. In 2018. Don't even get me started on the impact social media and troll farms have had on our political climate. This course is valuable in that it provides small parcels of information in an engaging way that keeps the listener interested. ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This audiobook was too one dimensional in my opinion.
Andrea Kladar
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This should be mandatory reading for everyone.
Kevin Hanks
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Quote enjoyed this topic. It gave me a lot you think about: stressing the symptoms I make and pondering the "lenses" through which I see the world. I appreciated how the author did not come across as arrogant our condescending in his take on this topic (something that other teachers of "critical thinking skills" have had in abundance). Very well presented. ...more
Joseph L.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Watch a detailed review along with my favorite ideas and takeaways at:
J Crossley
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was time well spent. I have learned how to be more knowledgeable about how information is used to convince me to make a choice. There are a wide range of topics covered, and I have listed them below so that you can if the lectures would be good for you.

The lectures lead you step-by-step deeper into thinking issues. The beginning talks about thinking and memory, which leads to our individual realities. The lecture on the structure of arguments was heavy-duty (at least for me), and I am looki
Elwin Kline
What I thought was going to be a journey about 'Thinking about thinking', turned into what seemed like a 300 series level college course (meaning, mid-level Bachelor's Degree level material, nothing too high-end/overly difficult to grasp) on scientific analysis and critical thinking devoted into that realm.

When selecting this Great Course, the main title Your Deceptive Mind was front and center, but the "... : A scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills" was cut off. In all honesty, I didn't
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills by Steven Novella, is a challenging with energizing journey through to real understanding of just what critical thinking is, why it is important and how the brain works to translate the information we need to live our lives. He begins by stating that the course is about metacognition or thinking about thinking. The entire course seeks to give the listener these skills which are important in navigating the world. Each of the 24 l ...more
Thinking about thinking...
I found that Professor Novella presented a series of clearly stated, well organized lectures with examples of instances in which rational, critical thinking skills were not employed. His point is, we are all individuals who, according to our upbringing and educational background, have internal biases that either cloud or aid our ability to clearly ascertain truth (real, absolute far as that's possible) in a, huge...variety of situations. Prof Novel
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I want to say that this book spent a bit too much time up front on a general overview of thinking. I want to say that the thematic of cognitive biases was incredibly detailed and helpful. I want to write that Steven Novella had a great voice throughout, both structurally and vocally. I'd love to tell you all about my feelings regarding the dissonance between keeping a solid, statistical, binary mindset vs. the epistemological value of some gut-level observations of shit. It'd be fun to tell you ...more
Paul DeBusschere
Sep 30, 2020 rated it did not like it
Novella makes some good points about critical thinking, but he poisons the well with his own, fully displayed biases. Also, the narrative is filled with contradictions such as "don't accept things on authority," later followed up by, "you should believe this because the scientific consensus says so," and so on. If you read this and didn't pick up on any of this, I'm afraid Novella's course didn't really help you. But, there's hope - Daniel Kahneman has the excellent "Thinking Fast and Slow," whi ...more
Ruby Khaja
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Awesome lectures by Steven Novella. It draws the borders between natural and supernatural world and how the mind evolved in millions of years to perceive the two, and what is the difference between the scientific and critical thinking and faith. I read it and listened to the audio twice. Very rich subject and worth every penny and more. For over 12 years I was and still am a follower of Steven’s podcast “The Skeptic Guide to the Universe “ and loved his lectures as much as I loved his podcast. I ...more
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is value to hearing the basics of sound thinking refreshed and re-emphasized periodically like a sermon for people more worried about self-deception than about their having been right, and this book is perfect for that. No great breakthroughs or novel angles, just well laid out lessons on Richard Feynman's insight, "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool." ...more
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: criticalthinking
An excellent starting point for anyone that would like to have a better understanding of critical thinking and everything it encompasses. I listened to the audiobook that also offers a PDF with all the lectures.

The structure of the lectures offers a broad perspective of all the aspects that we must be aware of to be a better critical thinker, and the PDF also provides an additional reading list for each subject.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Second time through. It's got great stuff. Some things I didn't pick up on the first time. I still think it has flaws and his emphasis on consensus concerns me - it's a breeding ground for groupthink (which he doesn't really cover). But there are so many important issues in this. I listened to this at 2x speed. ...more
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great introduction to critical thinking. This was actually my first foray into audiobooks, and I really enjoyed listening to parts of it throughout the day. I also enjoyed the academic approach to the subject matter, and all the references that were provided for further research
Overall Mr. Novella was a good narrator and I was able to put myself easily into his class.
Blair Hodgkinson
Having read The Skeptic's Guide To The Universe, I expected Novella would do well with this material and was not disappointed. Having said that, if you listen to this lecture series, you have little need of reading his book or vice versa. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on superstition and pseudoscience. ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A series of lectures about critical thinking. Mr Novella guides the reader through the difficult world of scientific inquiry.

Highly actionable.
Makes you think from the start.
Very approachable.

Gives a lot of examples about the hoaxes and conspiracy theories. Presents a process a reader can use to filter information not only from outside world but from within himself.
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, great-courses
Some great food for thought. Our minds are not as good as we generally think they are at perceiving and remembering. Our thinking is often irrational and fallacious. This was a bit humbling to read, it certainly behooves all of us to recognize our limitations and allow that we may be wrong about a lot of things, especially when confronting differing opinions.
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The book explores a wide range cognitive biases that can affect everyday's decision making as well as people's worldviews. It also offers useful skills to avoid such cognitive biases. It's full of good stuff, and I never got bored listening to it.

I didn't know Prof. Steven Novella before, but after finishing this audiobook, I'm now a fan of his.
Rana Saad
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great flow of ideas and clear examples that relate directly to everyone's normal life. That book just increased my motivation to master the critical thinking skill and implement it in every single interaction I encounter. ...more
I listened to the audio version of the full 24 course series.

A worthwhile course for those interested in learning more about how the human mind works and how we can become better at critical thinking.
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