The Independent Thinker By: Patrick King
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Learn to ask the intelligent questions, draw insight, and analyze situations.
Independent thinking is critical thinking. And critical thinking is the key to a life examined.
Better decision-making, smarter reasoning, and greater mental clarity.
The Independent Thinker is a guidebook on how to navigate this world, simply put. Without it, who knows what you'll get caught by. An errant fact? A confusing statistic? A belief that holds dubious truth? We are all subject to these everyday tricks! This book will teach you, from A to Z, exactly how to think. Because the skill of thinking is truly what separates the exceptional from the average.
How to make sure that you aren't being fooled, tricked, or manipulated!
Patrick King is an internationally bestselling author and social skills coach. His writing draws of a variety of sources, from scientific research, academic experience, coaching, and real life experience.
Protect yourself from bad data, inaccurate statistics, and old wive's tales.
The 3 levels of independent thought
Critical reading, thinking, and even logic
What Nietzsche teaches us about finding out for ourselves
Why our feelings, emotions, and even memories are not reality
The Paul-Elder framework of critical thinking and examination
Most importantly, freedom from your own biases, past, and filters
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What does it really mean to be an independent thinker?
In the spirit of originality, let’s begin not with the perspective of this book’s author, but with yours.
When you opened this book, you had a few expectations about what you’d find inside, as well as some idea of why you were reading such a book. These expectations may be unconscious, or you may be more aware of them. But whatever they are, they’re an excellent starting point for the themes and ideas we’ll be exploring in the chapters that follow.
The Levels of Mastering Independent Thought
In choosing this book, you’ve already shown a desire for, or interest in, independent thought. Some part of you is already independent. And yet, ironically, in picking up a book that guides and teaches you how to be more independent, you must necessarily already lack this characteristic. If you were truly independent, you would not need the book, right?
Take a moment to imagine in your mind’s eye everything you associate with an “independent thinker.” Imagine it now, before you read on. Imagine what it looks like, sounds like, and how you envision you’ll be once you are a more critical thinker, a more authentic individual and self-governing agent able to live in the integrity of their ideals, instead of other people’s.
Now, this somewhat disheartening start is simply to illustrate that many people are merely imitating autonomy in the personal development world. They have a picture of what they think this looks like, and they try their best to perform that image.
Level 1: A patchwork Identity
Maybe in your mind, you’re attracted to the “cool guy” aesthetic that certain celebrities, authority figures, historical personages and fictional characters put forward. Maybe you like the attitude of the rebel, who is confident, a little arrogant, and so, so appealing. Maybe, without realizing it, you mimic the mannerisms, beliefs, thoughts, and speech patterns of people you admire. Or maybe you buy into certain shared cultural ideals of what intelligent, independent, enterprising or creative people ought to look like.
Teenagers are masters at mimicry and creating patchwork identities from bits and pieces they find in their world. It’s as though you show up to the great Identity Marketplace, being a blank slate yourself, and pick and choose the costume and role you like best. It’s not a personality so much as a curated collection. While a 13-year-old going through a goth phase in the 90s may be a blatant example of this, we all do it to some extent. We even do this when we’re explicitly trying not to do it (i.e., “I want to be a truly unique individual! Now, let’s Google some other people who are doing that and see how it’s done…”).
This is the first level on the path of independent thinking.