Wednesday, December 4, 2019


I am thinking of picking up a copy of Scott Adams' latest book Loserthink, about how we look at the world from inside familiar bubbles, setting ourselves up to fail. Adams explains it is not exclusive just to “losers.” We all do it. Interesting! The problem is not that we lack the facts necessary to understand our reality: that, he explained in Win Bigly, is just part of the way we are wired. Rather, the problem is that the way we train ourselves to think tends to work well inside certain disciplines, but not others.

For example, he notes, it is common that Hollywood stars, many of whom are exceptionally talented and highly trained, fail to understand politics. The worst part is that they don’t know they fail: they act as though their opinions are the only correct ones. That is partly the result of conformity: few conservatives dare to come out of the closet in Hollywood. But it is also a result of loserthink: they assume their expertise in one area carries across to another.

Likewise with climate science, Adams says. To journalists, and even to many scientists, the familiar graphs that predict global warming far out into the future seem convincing. But to anyone with experience in the corporate world, Adams says, those graphs look like every phony economic projection ever used to sell an idea. That does not mean climate change is a fraud. What it means is that it is being sold as a fraud, which is why so many people doubt it.

The problem is that most people who believe in climate change are trapped in loserthink bubbles. (So, too, he says, are some of the climate skeptics.) Thinking narrowly does not make you a “loser,” but it means you are less likely to succeed. In the climate change example, that means you are less likely to persuade others, or you will adopt policies that make everyone miserable without solving the problem. 
There is something in Loserthink to shock everyone — which is his point. This book may be a way for many of us to break out of our “mental prisons”. Adams hopes that by encouraging his readers — and those they encounter online — to familiarize themselves with new ways of thinking, from different disciplines, he will help break down the divisions that have emerged in our society which make us all so unhappy.

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