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The 5 Best Books On Critical Thinking According To British Philosopher Nigel Warburton

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

In a world inundated with information and data, the ability to think critically is an invaluable skill.

British philosopher Nigel Warburton, known for his contributions to the field of philosophy and his popular philosophy podcasts, has curated a list of six books that he believes are essential for developing critical thinking abilities.

These books offer a diverse range of perspectives and insights into the art of thinking critically.

So, without further ado, let's explore Nigel Warburton's top picks for books on critical thinking.

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post features Amazon affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links.

In a world where misinformation and pseudoscience can spread like wildfire, "Calling Bullshit" equips readers with the intellectual tools to discern fact from fiction. Authors Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West delve into the art of skepticism, teaching us how to critically evaluate data, statistics, and claims presented in our data-driven society. This book not only reveals the tricks and fallacies used to manipulate information but also empowers readers to be more discerning and informed consumers of data.

“To tell an honest story, it is not enough for numbers to be correct. They need to be placed in an appropriate context so that a reader or listener can properly interpret them.”
“Participating on social media is only secondarily about sharing new information; it is primarily about maintaining and reinforcing common bonds.”
“Machines are not free of human biases; they perpetuate them, depending on the data they’re fed.”
― Carl T. Bergstrom, Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World

Hans Rosling's "Factfulness" challenges our instinctive pessimism about the state of the world. Drawing on extensive data and a lifetime of experience as a global health expert, Rosling dismantles common misconceptions and illuminates the remarkable progress humanity has made. By highlighting the cognitive biases that skew our perception of reality, Rosling inspires readers to adopt a more critical and fact-based worldview, essential for anyone seeking to make sense of complex global issues.

“There’s no room for facts when our minds are occupied by fear.”
“Forming your worldview by relying on the media would be like forming your view about me by looking only at a picture of my foot.”
“The world cannot be understood without numbers. But the world cannot be understood with numbers alone.”
― Hans Rosling, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

A cornerstone of modern psychology, Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" explores the two distinct modes of thinking that govern our decision-making processes. Kahneman, a Nobel laureate, delves deep into the inner workings of the human mind, explaining how biases, heuristics, and cognitive shortcuts can lead to errors in judgment. This book not only provides a comprehensive understanding of human thought but also offers practical strategies for improving critical thinking and decision-making.

“A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact.”
“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it”
“Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.”
― Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

On Amazon

Rolf Dobelli's "The Art of Thinking Clearly" is a compendium of cognitive biases and logical fallacies that plague human reasoning. Through concise and engaging chapters, Dobelli exposes readers to 99 thinking errors, offering real-life examples and actionable advice for avoiding these pitfalls. This book is a valuable resource for individuals seeking to refine their thinking abilities, make better decisions, and develop a more critical and rational mindset.

“Whether we like it or not, we are puppets of our emotions. We make complex decisions by consulting our feelings, not our thoughts. Against our best intentions, we substitute the question, “What do I think about this?” with “How do I feel about this?” So, smile! Your future depends on it.”
“If 50 million people say something foolish, it is still foolish.”
“There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don’t know, and those who don’t know they don’t know,”
― Rolf Dobelli, The Art of Thinking Clearly: The Secrets of Perfect Decision-Making

"Black Box Thinking" by Matthew Syed challenges the conventional notion of success by emphasizing the importance of learning from failure. Syed explores how industries like aviation and healthcare have successfully adopted a culture of openness and critical analysis of mistakes. By examining real-world case studies, he underscores the value of an open, critical approach to failure, leading to innovation and continuous improvement. This book is an eye-opening exploration of how embracing failure can pave the way for success.

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
“The only way to be sure is to go out and test your ideas and programmes, and to realise that you will often be wrong. But that is not a bad thing. It leads to progress.”
“Failure is rich in learning opportunities for a simple reason: in many of its guises, it represents a violation of expectation.6 It is showing us that the world is in some sense different from the way we imagined it to be.”
― Matthew Syed, Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes--But Some Do


If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out more similar list on my on my blog —

In conclusion, these five books recommended by Nigel Warburton offer diverse perspectives and practical advice for developing critical thinking skills.

Whether you're navigating a world filled with data and misinformation or striving to make more rational decisions, these books provide the knowledge and tools to sharpen your critical thinking abilities and enhance your understanding of the world around you.


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