April 20

Free book on critical thinking

30  comments

Freud, Murder & FameJust a quick post to alert everyone to Freud, Murder and Fame, a free Kindle book on critical thinking as it applies to differentiating historical fiction from historical fact. It serves as a primer on the importance of critically evaluating historical interpretations. Here is how the author describes it in the Introduction:

Specifically, this book was … written for the reader who needs to learn more about critically evaluating my (or any other) interpretation of historical events.  As a college professor, I have found that many students passively accept historical interpretations without demanding supporting evidence and without critically evaluating the quality of the evidence before them.  Many of my students seem stunned to learn that history books sometimes contain interpretations that are not fully accurate, or even just plain false.  This may be because most historical accounts are solely focused on providing historical information (i.e., facts and interpretations).  This focus assumes that readers already understand both the process of recreating the past and the need to critically evaluate such historical recreations.
My book does not make this assumption, but instead tries to teach readers about the critical evaluation of historical interpretation.  Thus, another primary focus of this book is to teach the process of history and provide the reader with the tools to critically evaluate historical interpretations.  Students should leave a history course with a clear understanding that historical interpretations should not be confused with historical facts, and I have provided many examples that reinforce this important lesson.

The book is a  fun and interesting read. It’s written by a friend of mine who teaches critical thinking at the college level. And it’s FREE! Through today, Sunday, April 21. Grab a copy.
Also, if you want another great read by the same friend, grab a copy of When Good Thinking Goes Bad. It truly is a primer on critical thinking. It’s a great companion book to another of my favorites Mistakes Were Made. Dr. Riniolo’s book differs in that it walks you through several critical thinking exercises. I will review it more When Good Thinking Goes Badextensively in a later post, but wanted to at least mention it now while I’m recommending his free Kindle book on Freud. Unfortunately, When Good Thinking Goes Bad is not free, but it’s well worth the small price. It is one of the very few books I like enough that I purchased both the paperback and Kindle versions. This was before Dr. Riniolo and I became friends, so I truly did purchase both versions. If you do grab a copy of this book, you’ll see early in the introduction why I had to overcome my own cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias to keep on reading. And why I contacted Dr. Riniolo to start a dialogue.


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  1. Pingback: Book Thread
    1. Dr. Eades, thanks for the heads up. I downloaded and read the book. Aside from the grammatical errors and a misspelling or two that distracted me (and thereby detracted somewhat from the quality of the book) I found it an interesting read.
      I have not yet decided whether, or to what degree, the author achieved his purpose. Magnanimously, he allowed for this.
      As a former all-source intelligence analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency, I feel qualified to recommend one of my favorite monographs. It is, in my opinion, a significant work in the study of analysis. It is “The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis” by Richards J. Heuer, Jr. The work is available for free download in PDF format at the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence. It is of great interest to me to see what sort of comparative comments are generated here by those who read it.

      1. Thanks very much for the tip on the monograph. I downloaded it and started reading. I have too much scheduled right now to continue until I get a few more things on my to-do list knocked off, but the book is extremely well written and completely engrossing (at least to me). It’s difficult to stop reading. In the short amount I did read (approx 50 pages), I found a few examples that will help me with a slide presentation I’m putting together. So, thanks again. I look forward to reading the entire thing soon.
        For those who would like to read it, here is the link to Psychology of Intelligence Analysis.

        1. Dr. Eades, I thought you would like it. I know how hard it can be to put down. That goes even for now, and I can’t tell you how many times I have read it.

  2. Hello Dr. Eades, I have been reading your blog for several years now and love it. I wish you blogged more though…..
    As for this book, I just downloaded it and thank you for sharing, I just sent it to my husband too.
    We appreciate the education!
    Sincerely
    Jennifer Wrightington
    Whole Foods Market
    Hingham Mass

    1. I’m going to post more. I promise. Got a post coming up on the Asian conundrum, i.e., if carbs are so bad, why are Asians, who follow high-carb diets, so healthy?

      1. “why are Asians, who follow high-carb diets, so healthy?”
        Well, that’s easy: those eating high carb, healthy they’re not. It’s a myth.
        The older Japanese actually don’t eat a high-carb diet. Just got back from there.
        I was ever only served 1/3 cup rice at breakfast and another 1/3 at dinner. I was told that
        in Japan it’s considered very rude to ask for seconds. I never saw anyone have seconds on rice. None of my Japanese colleagues
        with whom I ate every meal for days and days ate a high-carb diet.
        I never personally saw a Japanese person with whom I worked eat even an entire cup of rice. Japanese portions
        are minute by American standards, even the bowls are tiny.
        The Japanese teenagers however – they are a different story. They eat at all the American fast food restaurants that
        dot the streets. And there are lots of American-style fat teens now all over Japan. Thus since
        2008 the Japanese government has introduced a special screening for the obese.
        Because the Japanese know they now have an obesity crisis. See: “Monitoring Health and the Body:
        Anthropometry, Lifestyle Risks, and the Japanese Obesity Crisis” for example. http://depts.washington.edu/jjs/manzenreiter.htm
        Altho’ this particular article is critical of the Japanese policy for cultural reasons, the Japanesse know they have a problem.
        As for the rest of Asia, where they do eat high carb, India & China are in the middle of a diabetes explosion. They are obese.
        “China has higher childhood diabetes rate than U.S.” http://scienceblog.com/55394/china-has-higher-childhood-diabetes-rate-than-u-s/
        “Obesity produces diabetes epidemic in India” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-23/obesity-produces-diabetes-epidemic-in-india/4148616

        1. Yep, I know all this and you know it, but the average person doesn’t. And the average person doesn’t even know whether Asians are overweight or healthy or not. Most people simply parrot what they’ve heard, what has become kind of a meme. My plan is to serve it up from a different perspective instead of trying to argue that Asians aren’t really all that healthy or thin.

          1. People from Indian have some of the highest rates of diabetes and heart disease – not healthy at all, all that rice and breads all those Indian sweets and desserts ! They’e not overweight but being slim is no indication of health in their instance.

  3. Dear Dr. Eades –
    The reviews for the two books you suggested by Riniolo got very good reviews. Your recommendations plus the reviews prompted me to download the first book, and order the second. However, I cannot find the third book you mentioned [presumably by a different author] with the simple title of : “Mistakes Were Made”. There is: “Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)” by Tavris and Aronson; and another: “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” by Pastas. Are either of these two the third book you suggested?
    Thank you for all that you do for us out here.
    Warm regards,
    Cheryl Moyer

  4. Oops! I just found the link to the book within the blog post email itself. That led me to a previous blog entry from 2008, and there was the whole BOOK TITLE plain as could be: “Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)”!
    So, in the words of Gilda Radner’s Rosanne Roseannadanna, “Nevermind”. 😐
    Warm regards,
    Cheryl

  5. What a coincidence – last night I was going to begin reading one of Edward Bernay’s books. Didn’t get around to it, as instead I watched a movie. I didn’t realize Bernay was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. I guess it will be an all Freud family reading couple of days!

  6. Today each Japanese consumes, on average, about 60kg of rice a year, roughly half the amount of the early 1960s
    The above is from Dec,17, 2009 article in The Economist.
    My own experience when i was in Japan was that rice was eaten at every meal. Portion size for all food sources was smaller than a typical American would eat; and no snacking on sweets or lots of healthy fruit was eaten every day.
    Look forward to your insights

    1. It was free just for a couple of days. That’s how those things go on Amazon. That’s why I whipped that post out in the middle of the night so that readers could take advantage of the free copy.

  7. Wow, Dr. Eades…this book makes you really think…Did you happen to think about the fact that Ancel Keys developed all of his theories in a questionable manner, and just happened to have the luck of Eisenhower having a heart attack? Some similiarities there, you think?
    I also thought about where I stand on Scientific materialism and free will and the existence of evil because of the talk about Darrow and that people are ‘forced’ to murder due to their circumstances. You know with all the mass shootings and the terrorism in Boston, people are talking about motives, and looking for organic causes they can understand…many in the nutrition circles even implicate inflammation and omega-6 content (stupid, in my view). Evil by its nature can not be understood, I believe, and attaching science to it makes it less easy to understand, in my view. I do think there are things outside the realm of science, and morality and values are one of those things…that’s good, in my view, if you think about this book and the trial.
    I personally think we have free will, and we have to make choices in our lives, and sometimes, we have to make choices against our physiological desires, and these are not preferences or a function of biology and circumstance. These are moral choices between good and evil.
    It’s not soybean oil that made Leopold and Loeb do what they did, it was evil because by all accounts, they were brilliant and wealthy (so malnutrition is not an excuse, either).
    I make no bones about that opinion, and I am not apologetic about it. It is non-scientific…free will and morality are those topics of metaphysics…
    But having that opinion about morality does put a wrench into the obesity theory I accept that stresses insulin metabolism, as I tend to think of that physiologically, rather than a defect in moral character…
    Ultimately, it does make you think how screwed up experts are, at least to me, when overeating is default in moral character and murder is a physiological response…

  8. Hi Dr. Eades – Thanks for the great steers on a wonderful topic. You reminded me of sitting in a classroom listening to Dr. Stephen Ambrose. He constantly urged critical thinking and independent evaluation of facts before drawing historical conclusions. You just made my day. Now, off for the downloads … Thanks!

  9. Dr. Mike,
    I want to thank you for all the work you have done and all the low-carb information you have posted here for so many years. Your book ‘Protein Power’ helped me lose 100 pounds and brought me back from the edge of Type 2 diabetes. I enjoy your blog tremendously and hope to read more from you in the future when you get time. I do understand how busy you might be these days. Meanwhile, I am working my way through the wealth of information in your blog archive.
    Thank you.

  10. Hi Dr. Eades, very interesting and informative post. I think these books should be required reading. Many thanks to you. I look forward to your review of the book.

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