Sunday, August 7, 2022

Frank Runza Book Report: The Scout Mindset by Julia Galef

General Overview

The Scout Mindset by Julia Galef is a book that deals with how individuals see the truth, and why it is hard to overcome our biases. The book breaks apart the common mindsets of human beings, and how they relate to life. The book deals with the idea that individuals who are good decision-makers decide to see things for the way they are, and that most people would rather believe in a lie than be hurt by the truth. The author blames modern culture as the reason that people don't face reality. The book aims to help people understand that the world isn't always going to be a happy-go-lucky place, and humans don't do themselves a favor when they choose to ignore the reality of the real world. The author seeks to point out that we as humans need to learn from our mistakes instead of making up excuses for ourselves. The author wrote this book after she quit graduate school, and decided to help people who needed assistance in making tough decisions. This book is written for people who need help facing hard decisions in life.        

The book describes two mindsets that humans take on in life. The first mindset is the soldier mindset. The soldier mindset is a mindset in which an individual sees things as they desire to see them. People who embrace the soldier mindset don't necessarily always see things for the way they truly are. The second mindset the book describes is the scout mindset. The scout mindset is a way of thinking for individuals who see things as they really are in simple terms. People of a scout mindset tend to think things out more rationally, and often confront the hard decisions that life brings. In turn, people of the soldier mindset will simply keep putting off conflict or hard decisions. The book is a constant battle of the soldier mindset versus the scout mindset. Overall the book gives the reader advice on how individuals should go about their lives from the author's point of view. The author writes this book as an attempt to enlighten people on how they can live happier, more realistic, and successful lives.

Based on the information below, Which mindset are you? 

Soldier Mindset
Reasoning with yourself is a defense
Your beliefs depend on your ambitions 
Being wrong is often painful
You defend your beliefs past reason 
Denial and wishful thinking are common personality traits 

Scout Mindset
Reasoning is truthful 
Beliefs depend on facts and evidence 
you will correct yourself when wrong 
Constantly accept new information 
Learning and honesty are common personality traits 

Favorite part of the book and how it relates to class

My favorite part of the book is the chapter which is titled "Noticing Bias". This chapter relates directly to the class because a large part of our class has been about identifying bias, fallacies, and effects such as the sunk cost fallacy, the halo effect, and the anchoring bias. This section of the book describes a series of tests, fallacies, and double standards. It highlights on the point that people only like to believe in things that fit their personal agenda. One of my favorite concepts that is pointed out in this chapter is how people bend the truth to fit their desired effects. An example that was used in this section is that if a democrat was voting and a democratic politician cheated on his wife he would say "A mans business is private and not of my concern" but if that same politician was republican the democratic voter would say "He is a bad character because he cheats on his wife" in order to justify voting for the democratic candidate. This oddly enough also relates to the idea discussed in class that people will recall events based on their current expectations that was discussed in lecture 9 that dealt with UFOs. The book points out that people will recall politicians in the voting booth in a way that they want to see them. 

The next thing that makes this my favorite part of the book is the multiple tests that are discussed in the book. I will be describing these tests in a power point in which you can find the link to below.

Google Slides Link: 

Please reach out to me if you cant open the link, but you should be able to


The purpose of this book was to make people aware of a different style of thinking in life that will allow you to live a successful, happy life, that isn't clouded by trying to justify your mistakes to make you feel better. This book has helped me, and can also help people become strong self minded individuals that seek the truth rather than seek excuses to live their daily lives in a way that makes them unhappy. Persoanlly, I am a firm believer that you need to be mentally tough and have discipline to get the things you want in life, and this book highlights that quality as the key to success. I think that this book points out an important fact, and that fact is if people stopped paying attention celebrities, others, and politicians lifestyles, they would be better off. Insted of looking at life with one eye closed people need to start looking at the world for what it really is, and by doing so we will be better off. This book can serve as self help for people who are down on themselves, and are having a difficult time getting through hard decisions in life. The way that I have applied this book to my life is by using the Status Quo Bias test on myself. I often find myself comfortable with my situation in life, but I have ambitions to become more. I wouldn't want to move or travel far away to get my dream job, but after reading this book I also realized, I wouldn't leave my dream job to move back home. This book has helped me make a difficult decision in my life, and it can help you too! 

Here is a TEDTalk on why the scout mindset is important with the author

An interview with Michael Shermer from our lectures and the author




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