Seeking Wisdom reading group first call

The first call of the Seeking Wisdom reading group is coming up on:

Tuesday, February 12
12 – 1pm NY time (9 – 10am California time)
1-661-705-2005 itl
code: 11215
*This call will be recorded

This call will cover Parts One and Two (pages 1 – 114).  A list of discussion questions is below.

—- Consider these questions —-

1. Thinking habits
In the introduction, Peter Bevelin argues that a key lesson from Darwin’s life is that “even people who aren’t geniuses can outthink the rest of mankind if they develop certain thinking habits.” (p. ii).

I am running this reading group because I believe that honing our thinking habits is one of the critical roles of the Councils. Improving how we think should help us ask better questions of each other and help us provide better answers to each other – all in hopes that we can use the Councils to succeed in realizing our greatest ambitions.

The roles of the Councils are as I see them are encourage the development of the following habits:

– habit of building trust and asking for help
– habit of developing thinking (including reading and learning from the best minds)
– habit of persistently seeking our ambitions and hopes

Do you think we can develop “our thinking”? Do you agree that the Councils should encourage the above habits? How do *you* think about thinking?

2. Evolutionary biology and the challenge of learning how to think
The author presents the growing consensus in evolutionary biology and psychology that says that how we evolved to think and behave is out of step with the complex world we have created. In other words, 4 – 7 million years of evolution produced a species that does well in small hunter gatherer groups but – ironically – may not have the right instincts for the modern complex world that that species itself has created.

“…humans have spent more than 99% of their evolutionary history in the hunter gatherer environment.” (p. 19)

One implication of this history is that “our brain is wired to perceive before it thinks…” (p. 27)

What other implications does Bevelin outline? What case does he make for what influences our thinking?

What’s the structure of his argument though the first three chapters? What struck you as most interesting, provocative?

3. Psychology of misjudgement
Bevelin outlines 28 common misjudgments that we humans make.

Which of these misjudgments have you made? Are you willing to share examples of misjudgments you have made and how you may have learned from them?

Are any misjudgments missing?  What’s your *favorite* misjudgment – i.e. the one you think has had the most impact on you, your family, your company, our society?

On page 112 he quotes from some “final advice from Charlie Munger”, including that the goal is not to eliminate all mistakes but to simply make fewer of them. Do you think that is possible?

He then concludes on pages 113 and 114 by pointing out how our “fast intuitions and quick reactions” can be twisted and quotes Lao-Tsu. The implications of these first chapters seem to challenge the popular book “Blink” – by pointing out that while our wiring has helped us for millions of years and still helps today, it can also take us off track.

Do you agree that this challenges “Blink”? Do you find this helpful in thinking about your own life, your own mistakes and how to move forward in realizing your ambitions?

18. January 2008 by Arrian
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