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Tangentially Speaking

454 – ROMA 41 (How to Think for Yourself)

By December 18, 20205 Comments

In this episode, I talk about how to think independently, why it’s an important skill, and how to cultivate it — all while dipping in and out of Paul Graham’s essay, “How to Think for Yourself.”

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Intro music: “Brightside of the Sun,” by Basin and Range,“Disturbed,” by Peter Gabriel; “Distinto,” by Orishas; “Graceland at 4AM,” by Bobby Weidman.


  • I watched the recent ‘interview’ Obama gave to late night show host Stephen Colbert to promote his biography. I like Colbert (and even Obama) but the whole thing was nothing but an exaltation of the former president, who was very self-serving when trying to justify his drone program. Journalist Mehdi Hasan was NOT kind when he deconstructed the interview, and showed how Obama even made jokes about the killer drones during one of the White House correspondents; dinner party by threatening (in jest) the Jonas Brothers not to get too cute with his young two daughters. And the worst thing is the former president will NEVER sit in front of a real journalist willing to throw hard questions at him.

    I think with Obama, the fact he didn’t bring Hope and Change to Washington feels like when you hear news of a priest found guilty of sexual abuse –the deed is worse because of the higher expectations placed on their shoulders. You are right: Obama in a way is the Batman that ended up creating The Joker (Trump).

  • Todd Adams says:

    Hello Christopher,
    Your work has been really helpful, educational and inspirational for me. First began a deep dive into your interviews and information regarding “Civilized to Death” after seeing your appearance on The Jimmy Dore Show. Thank you for all of your dedicated efforts of research and presentations and writing and for ongoing fascinating thoughts and perspectives on Tangentially Speaking as well.

    In this podcast (ROMA 41), I was intrigued with your comments of having access to the brink of fame and success – a pinnacle most people esteem to reach – after your first best seller, yet stepping away from those potentially lucrative offers and defining a path for yourself. I have heard numerous people tell their stories of success, and not a one ever reveal backing away from that open door. Please do, as you said you might, a podcast on what this looks like. I would be and presumably others as well highly interested in hearing it!

    Todd Adams,
    AB, Canada

  • Sebastian says:

    Wouldn’t the real metric of critical thinking be that you know the turnout of things beforehand and not in hindsight?

    • Sometimes, thinking critically can help you see trends that others miss, and therefore you may have better guesses about how things are going to go. But nobody can see into the future, as far as I know.

  • marcus leversha says:

    The criticism of anti-maskers involves a straw-man argument and is hypocritical on your part.

    I would agree that people preaching not to wear a mask is irritating, but not because they are anti-mask, but because they are preaching their opinions. Anyone would find that annoying and you have made that connection ( what I think the kids call a straw-man argument ) to distort the perception of those people and make them seem as odious as possible.

    What about people who honestly, humbly, and quietly have come to the ( in your opinion wrong ) conclusion that masks are in some ways harmful? Surely if we are sincere about thinking independently, that involves tolerating opinions we believe are wrong, or we dislike?

    It is hypocritical because you have published self-righteous views on why everyone should wear a mask, and done 2 podcasts on this, yet you demonize anti-maskers for the alleged same behavior of self-righteously airing their views.

    Ironically – I find that to be the opposite of critical thought because only one opinion on the matter is deemed acceptable.

    Also – just for balance, I could send you about 25 studies I happen to have read that claim masks are ineffective, but I’m not sure you would want to read them somehow!

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