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Publisher's Summary

"...an engaging and enlightening account from which we all can benefit." (The Wall Street Journal)

A better way to combat knee-jerk biases and make smarter decisions, from Julia Galef, the acclaimed expert on rational decision-making.

When it comes to what we believe, humans see what they want to see. In other words, we have what Julia Galef calls a "soldier" mindset. From tribalism and wishful thinking, to rationalizing in our personal lives and everything in between, we are driven to defend the ideas we most want to believe - and shoot down those we don't. 

But if we want to get things right more often, argues Galef, we should train ourselves to have a "scout" mindset. Unlike the soldier, a scout's goal isn't to defend one side over the other. It's to go out, survey the territory, and come back with as accurate a map as possible. Regardless of what they hope to be the case, above all, the scout wants to know what's actually true.

In The Scout Mindset, Galef shows that what makes scouts better at getting things right isn't that they're smarter or more knowledgeable than everyone else. It's a handful of emotional skills, habits, and ways of looking at the world - which anyone can learn. With fascinating examples ranging from how to survive being stranded in the middle of the ocean, to how Jeff Bezos avoids overconfidence, to how superforecasters outperform CIA operatives, to Reddit threads and modern partisan politics, Galef explores why our brains deceive us and what we can do to change the way we think.

©2020 Julia Galef (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"...an engaging and enlightening account from which we all can benefit." (The Wall Street Journal

"Most books tell you what to think. This is something rarer, and more valuable: a book about how to think, and how to learn, without the fear or favor that so often holds us back from inching closer to the truth. The beauty of The Scout Mindset demonstration is it is, itself, an example of the ethos it teaches. The delight it takes in questioning its own premises, and understanding the alternative arguments, will make you want to be a scout, too."(Ezra Klein, editor-at-large and cofounder of Vox, best-selling author of Why We’re Polarized

“I find myself quoting Julia in my writing again and again, because no one explains thinking and rationality better than she does. The ideas in The Scout Mindset have been stuck in my head ever since I watched her TED Talk. The Scout Mindset is a lens, and once you're looking through it, the world makes a lot more sense.” (Tim Urban, co-founder of “Wait But Why”)  

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What listeners say about The Scout Mindset

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An Excellent Book,

This is a great guide for how to stay open to learning from the countless opportunities that present themselves to us daily.
Extra bonus, this audiobook is read by the Author; she is a masterful speaker.
Her podcast Skeptics Podcast “Rationally Speaking” is also a fabulous learning device.

5 people found this helpful

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Valuable and enjoyable

Concise and well-written and performed. A great guide and framework for a reboot of how I approach a lot of topics and issues, in life and politics and more. The scout metaphor is simple and compelling and will stick with me. There's a lot of wisdom here from someone who has obviously done a lot of work on how to approach decision-making and how to process a lot of the craziness in today's world. There's and outline here of things I will do to shift how I identify myself, which is a crucial insight. I will dip into this audiobook again at times as needed. I recommend it and bought a hard copy for a younger relative. I am also digging into the archives of her podcast, Rationally Speaking, which I have been aware of for a while but was a little put off by the title...too bad for me.

3 people found this helpful

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Not deep but a good start

I agreed too much with this book. I want a book that offers the counter argument. You are wrong, so am I, AND THATS OKAY! Embrace your intellectual honesty .

2 people found this helpful

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Very thin

I like the distinction between scout and soldier mindsets, but the book is *extremely* thin. This really seemed like a 2000 word blog post fluffed into a book. I think I could have stopped after maybe an hour and gotten just as much out of the book as I did by listening to the whole thing.

The author was a good reader, so I did enjoy the performance. However, a minor point): the writing wasn't always great, and there were enough usage errors in the book to be distracting. For instance, the author repeatedly uses 'disinterested' to me 'uninterested' which was confusing at times in a book about bias.

2 people found this helpful

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this is how (and why) to be more right.

very useful ideas, explained very wel. one of my favorite books and one I'll have to revisit often.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book great author

I Stan this book! It should be a whole subject in school. Everyone should be able to pass an ideological turning test!

2 people found this helpful

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One of the best in the "genre"

This is now my official recommendation for starting out toward the path of being a more rational human. Nice balance of breadth and width. Really well done, in my opinion. Get it.

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well help you see the world realistically

one of my favorite parts about this book is that it makes a point of emphasizing that viewing the world realistically does not necessarily mean you are not going to be happy. this book is a solid tool set for someone who wants to become aware of and manage their own biases

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Best Book Ever, wait um probably.

I've been a Scout for 2 years and I'm so excited to finally read a book about people like me and how to improve as a Scout. Thank you, Julia Galef!

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Many learnings and topics to be reminded of.

It tells many issues we may face in our thinking. Some new, some that we just need to be reminded about. Provides the main argument and a set of tools to help on its use. Well organized. Told on a pleasant pace and voice.

1 person found this helpful