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24 August 2010

Worthwhile Reads

A few things that have passed across my laptop the last few days:

There are times when David Brooks' columns about cognition and related topics prove too dense for me.  Today is not one of those times.  Brooks comments about what he terms a "metacognition deficit."  The crux of the matter:
There’s a seller’s market in ideologies that gives people a chance to feel victimized. There’s a rigidity to political debate. Issues like tax cuts and the size of government, which should be shaped by circumstances (often it’s good to cut taxes; sometimes it’s necessary to raise them), are now treated as inflexible tests of tribal purity.
To use a fancy word, there’s a metacognition deficit. Very few in public life habitually step back and think about the weakness in their own thinking and what they should do to compensate. A few people I interview do this regularly (in fact, Larry Summers is one). But it is rare. The rigors of combat discourage it.
Of the problems that afflict the country, this is the underlying one.
Read the article in its entirety here.

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A great book review from the NYT and the next book I will purchase: The Tenth Parallel by Eliza Griswold.

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And then, from the NYT Magazine this past Sunday, "the charitable divide."  The implications of this article, I believe, are far-reaching.  Check it out.


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