Monthly Archives: August 2014

How to Criticize with Kindness

Critiquing someone else’s point of view in a constructive way is an important skill, and a difficult one.

Check out this blog post summarizing philosopher Daniel Dennett’s short guide to :
How to Criticize with Kindness

Here’s the key bit from Dennett:

How to compose a successful critical commentary:

1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.
2. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
3. You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

Thinking Critically About the Media

By Barry Ritholtz, for Bloomberg Views, demonstrates how to adopt a critical attitude when reading the business news:

How to Spot the Garbage in News

“…I can randomly pick up any newspaper article or analyst report, and find holes and flaws merely by asking questions the author left unanswered. Active reading often leads to the conclusion that the vast majority of news is at best incomplete and uninformative, while a majority of research reports are full of biases and logical errors.

That is a pretty bold statement, and to demonstrate this, I am going to take a random article and dissect it using logical skepticism…”