The Scout Mindset
The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don't is a non-fiction book by Julia Galef, host of the Rationally Speaking podcast, and first published on 2021-04-13. The book describes a way of looking at the world where you attempt to obtain an objective understanding of reality instead of fooling yourself with how you'd like it to be. It explains the benefits of viewing the world in such a way, and how we become more capable of changing it for the better because of it.
Julia Galef became popular in the skeptic community in the late-2000s and grew through the early-2010s, I really liked her lectures, but she disappeared for awhile and then suddenly reappeared in 2021 with her new book. I pre-ordered it in audio book format, and started reading it shortly after it was released.
I own the audio book of this book, read by the author, and have listened to it.
- I like how Galef compares the more typical "soldier mindset," where people try to defend their beliefs and attack opposing positions, with "scout mindset," where people try to understand what's going on. I think she does a good job pointing out the benefits and addressing the criticisms.
- The author uses several real-world examples of what she's talking about throughout the book which helps ground her thesis in reality, something I always appreciate. She also includes dozens of ways a person can asses their own position to check for and correct biases.
- I like the author's writing style of beginning with a story, showing how it applies to her point, and then resolving the story later.
- True to the point of the book, Galef is careful to not pick specific sides on any issue she discusses, but rather focuses on how to better understand the issue.
- Although she doesn't praise them, Galef gives a lot of attention to billionaires Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates, who are all pretty awful people who don't deserve the attention.