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anonymous

Thinking Problems

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Hello, I would greatly appreciate it if anyone would suggest reading material about how to better ones thinking. The errors in my thinking lead to contradictions in my mind that often bother me, and also too, my thinking it too complicated and not simple. It is a bother not only to me, but to my listeners and readers as well. My goal is to convey my ideas as simple as possible. I do want to think,write,speak and create in a simple way.

Thank you

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After I finished reading Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology and Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, my thinking skills were noticeably improved. If your goal is to convey your thought simply and clearly, Rand's book The Art of Nonfiction seems to be ideal for that, but I cannot recommend it, as I have not read it yet.

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Hello, I would greatly appreciate it if anyone would suggest reading material about how to better ones thinking. The errors in my thinking lead to contradictions in my mind that often bother me, and also too, my thinking it too complicated and not simple. It is a bother not only to me, but to my listeners and readers as well. My goal is to convey my ideas as simple as possible. I do want to think,write,speak and create in a simple way.

Thank you

Thomas Jefferson's advice to "never use two words where one will do," is a good place to start. Even in the above, short though it was, you really could have gotten away with the first sentence, "I would greatly appreciate it if anyone would suggest reading material about how to better ones thinking."

The rest, if that particular direction is important to you, could be summed up as, "particularly in regards to communication."

A second mistake that I feel confused by with speakers is stream of consciousness drift. Staying more directly on the subject, or at least acknowledging it directly when you do leave the subject, helps keep others with you.

A study of grammar could be helpful. Also anything on critical thinking. I got quite a lot out of http://www.amazon.com/How-Think-About-Weird-Things/dp/0767400135

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I have two suggestions, both of which come well recommended but I haven't yet tried myself:

  1. Jean Moroney (who I believe is Harry Binswanger's wife) teaches thinking tactics at http://www.thinkingdirections.com
  2. Peikoff has a course called "The art of thinking". Check it out on http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com

Oh, that's right! I second anything by Jean Moroney. Also, Peikoff, obviously.

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Those are good suggestions, and also there is Barbara Branden's "Efficient Thinking" course, which also appears as a chapter in N Branden's Basic Principles of Objectivism book.

But if you're looking for some free stuff online, there's a few options off the top of my head:

There are some logic books like:

HWB Joseph Introduction to Logic

GH Joyce Principles of Logic

and the more basic book from WS Jevons Elementary Lessons in Logic

and don't forget the great Henry Hazlitt's Thinking as a Science

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...my thinking it too complicated and not simple. It is a bother not only to me, but to my listeners and readers as well. My goal is to convey my ideas as simple as possible. I do want to think,write,speak and create in a simple way.
Do you practice writing and editing? Often, we can recognize and fix such issues, but ... "practice makes perfect". Strunk and White is very short, and a "must-read". Edited by softwareNerd

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Do you practice writing and editing? Often, we can recognize and fix such issues, but ... "practice makes perfect". Strunk and White is very short, and a "must-read".

I'd exercise a bit of caution when recommending S&W (though it's the most common recommendation to give on the subject of writing). Pullum has some interesting points to make in this respect here: http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/~gpullum/ETfinalProof.pdf

I'd actually recommend Huddleston and Pullum's 'A Student's Introduction to English Grammar' (since the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language makes for quite a wallop on your wallet): http://www.amazon.com/Students-Introduction-English-Grammar/dp/0521612888

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Thank you very much for the many links that were provided for me to view, and thank you all for the great responses.

ObjectivistMathematician Thank you for bringing up those two nonfiction works by Ayn Rand, which I've read sometime ago, but that was when everything was so new to me and I was trying to absorb so much. I need to re-read those and take more notes. The passage on forming concepts was so helpful. Obviously though, I haven't applied what I had read, I only understand so little, according to the spiral theory of knowledge. It will be great to re-read those books a second time.

patrik 7-2321 I had listened to several of Binswanger's tapes, which were very helpful to me. I had not heard of Jean Moroney and her "thinking tactics", so thank you for mentioning her. "The Art of Thinking" by Leonard Peikoff, yes! I think this is what I really need to listen to. I'll surely look into renting or purchasing it.

aequalsa Yes, word economy seems like good practice to simplify my writing. Thank you. I had read a critical thinking book by Carl Sagan, which I really enjoyed, so I'll look into the book you suggested, "How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age".

2046 I've bookmarked Barbara Branden's "efficient thinking" course, which looks very helpful. I haven't read thoroughly into books on logic, so thanks for those links.

softwareNerd I do take many notes on ideas that I have, but I've yet to edit any of them. Perhaps by editing my writings I can further simplify my ideas through practice. "Strunk and White" is a short read, which I have bookmarked and will check it out for sure. Thanks!

West I'll read Pullum's article in conjunction with "S&W" then, and thank you for the link to Amazon. Improving grammar can only help to improve my thinking.

Edited by JASKN
Per user's request

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