Expert Thoughts

Don’t Poison the Well: Questioning Someone’s Motives Exposes Your Weak Argument

They're definitely calling out a few motives. (Wikimedia Commons)

“I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.” — Charlie Munger

One of the most common ways of refuting an argument is to call into question the motives of the other person. After all, this is easier than showing them what is wrong with the case they are making. Who has time for that, we’ve got meetings to attend. Read More

FARNAM STREET

The Era of Fake Knowledge: Why It’s Never Been Easier To Fake What You Know

(Wikimedia Commons)

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” — Mark Twain

Recently, Karl Taro Greenfeld, a journalist and author, published an op-ed in the New York Times on faking cultural literacy.

“It’s never been so easy,” he wrote, “to pretend to know so much without actually knowing anything. We pick topical, relevant bits from Facebook, Twitter or emailed news alerts, and then regurgitate them.” Read More

FARNAM STREET

Something For Nothing: The Illusion of an Education on the Internet

Screen shot 2014-04-22 at 12.00.20 PM

I imagined that spending time on the internet would be a fun way to learn new things. That was the promise right? Well it turns out to be nothing more than an illusion in practice.

It struck me one day while looking at my Twitter feed that most of it was junk. But like the bowl of potato chips at a party that I didn’t want and tried to avoid, I consumed it anyway. But why, I wasn’t sure.

I realized that I was moving in that direction too. At Farnam Street, the website I run with the goal of mastering the best of what other people have already figured out, I experimented with headlines recently to find out what was really going on. Read More