Paul Krugman on open-mindedness

From Ideology and Integrity (back in May 2015):

Times like these call for a combination of open-mindedness — willingness to entertain different ideas — and determination to do the best you can. ... Everyone has an ideology, a view about how the world does and should work. Indeed, the most reckless and dangerous ideologues are often those who imagine themselves ideology-free ... and are, therefore, unaware of their own biases. What you should seek, in yourself and others, is not an absence of ideology but an open mind, willing to consider the possibility that parts of the ideology may be wrong.

I've been quite critical of Krugman's writing in this regard before - its not clear to me that he lives up particularly well to what he claims above. However, in what he says above I think he's right.

Random links

Wisdom in Context
"wise thinking is often characterized by an asymmetry such that people are more likely to show a greater ability to reason wisely about problems of other people compared to personal problems"
Can Super Smart Leaders Suffer From too Much of a Good Thing? The Curvilinear Effect of Intelligence on Perceived Leadership Behavior.
"Accounting for the effects of leader personality, gender, age, as well as company, country, and time fixed effects, analyses indicated that perceptions of leadership followed a curvilinear inverted-U function of intelligence. The peak of this function was at an IQ score of about 120"
Medieval medical books could hold the recipe for new antibiotics / Scientists reveal 20 Kenyan plants that can cure cancer
I expect that a lot of this stuff is likely to be ineffective, but it seems also worth the effort of exploration at it as least seems likely to be a bit better than just randomly testing things.

How many books should you read?

A Farnam Street interview:

Reading is something you seem to know quite a lot about, but in a recent post, you discussed that you are purposefully reading fewer books. What is your thinking around that decision?

I fell into a trap with reading. It almost became a personal challenge that you can easily get wrapped up in. In 2014, I was basically reading a book every few days. I think I ended the year with over 140 books read, but I must have started at least 300. I realized I was reading just to finish the book. That meant I wasn’t getting as much out of it as I should. I ended up wasting a lot of time using that approach and it also impacted what I read. You have these subtle pressures to read smaller books and to digest things in a really quick way. I wasn’t spending enough time synthesizing material with what I already knew and honing my understanding of an idea.

It's not about how many books you read but what you get out of the books you read. One great book, read thoroughly and understood deeply, can have a more profound impact on your life than reading 300 books without really understanding the ideas in depth and having them available for practical problem solving.

... Have you ever watched TV and somebody comes in on a commercial and says, “What are you watching,” and you're like, “I have no idea,” but you've been sitting there 20 minutes? Well, we can do that with books too. You'll start reading, and paragraphs will fly by, and then you'll have no idea what you were reading. It's fine if you're reading for entertainment, you might be able to catch up later, but if you're reading for understanding, that's something you want to avoid.

Random links

The Persistent Effect of Temporary Affirmative Action
"Affirmative action increases the black share of employees over time: in 5 years after an establishment is first regulated, the black share of employees increases by an average of 0.8 percentage points. Strikingly, the black share continues to grow at a similar pace even after an establishment is deregulated. I argue that this persistence is driven in part by affirmative action inducing employers to improve their methods for screening potential hires."
Roger Pielke Jr's twitter version of a talk titled "Climate Politics as Manichean Paranoia"
Conflicts and how to effectively develop a way forward
The Practice of Ritual Defamation: How Values, Opinions, and Beliefs Are Controlled in Democratic Societies
The sort of behavior I tend to expect from a lot of activists.


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