Book Review: How to Become a Really Good Pain

This book is just what anyone interested in becoming a critical thinker needs to set them on the path of understanding the basis of other’s arguments and what questions to ask in order to spot faulty reasons for the things they believe. Begin by answering five key questions: What can I know? What am I? Why am I here? How should I behave? What is to become of me? it is possible to learn a great deal about yourself and others. Those answers in large part determine why people believe certain “truths” even though there is no scientific basis for doing so. DiCarlo goes on to demonstrate how to argue effectively, ways of overcoming the biases we all have, what makes for sound science and so much more. Whether it is common fallacies, dealing with conflicting perceptions or belief in the supernatural, DiCarlo clearly demonstrates how a person’s experiences and belief system (or lack of) color their view of themselves and the world around them.

Rather then a dry dissertation, this is a light, approachable read that can be enjoyed by anyone with an open mind and a willingness to look at their beliefs with a critical eye. Matters of the supernatural, religion, pseudoscience and philosophy are given the same insightful evaluations that tie age-old beliefs with the latest research findings. It’s too bad a copy of this can’t be presented to all first year college students because with the tools provided, it would be possible to develop the necessary lifelong skills to have more productive arguments and reasoned responses to those around them.

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