Julia Galef's 'Scout Mindset' acts as an accessible term to cover practices taught in both the sciences and liberal arts. It will change the way you think, for the better.
The Scout Mindset presents two opposing approaches for engaging with information in our daily lives: as a soldier, or as a scout.
The soldier mindset focuses on the defence of existing viewpoints, and the attack on information that would expose our held views as false. By contrast, the scout mindset focuses on openness, investigation, and regularly updating our worldview.
Galef suggests that soldier mindset evolved to sustain social cohesion, and ensure tribal norms were upheld, but is an insufficient mental model for our hyperconnected global society. She positions scout mindset as a more suitable mental model, as the amount of information we consume on a daily basis requires vigilance and examination so that we do not accept what we see, hear, or read without consideration.
Galef calls on us to view reasoning as a form of mapmaking, and to ensure that our "map" of knowledge, or of our identity, is as accurate as it can be. Discovering that we are wrong about something should be a simple "update" to the map, rather than seen as a personal failing.
This is one of my favourite books this year. As a long-time member of the world scouting community, I admit to being drawn to this out of curiosity, but then found it impossible to put down.
Part teaching-through-storytelling, and part handbook for reasoning, Julia Galef coins and describes two opposing modes of thought: scout and soldier mindset. The former, and the main focus of the book, she defines as follows:
I call it scout mindset: the motivation to see things as they are, not as you wish they were. 
The latter, soldier mindset, she defines based on the use of "militaristic metaphors" when referring to reasoning, and the language of defense or attack when engaging in arguments.
Personally, I found the following quote by Upton Sinclair to be a useful reference for soldier mindset:
It’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. 
As it is written for a general audience, Galef's "mindsets" act as accessible (and catchy) terms to cover practices taught in both the sciences and liberal arts, such as the scientific method, research methodologies, and critical thinking. For those who have read David Foster Wallace's This Is Water, it should be easy to see parallels here, with a disciplinary reframing.
My favourite concepts from the book were the different types of motivated reasoning, which I hadn't come across before, and the idea of "updating" your map. Seeing corrections as "updates" is a wonderfully simple way of challenging the fear of being wrong, which in my field, software engineering, is rife.
I would recommend this book to knowledge workers, but believe it would be as equally valuable to anyone wishing to improve their thinking.
You can pick this up on kindle, or buy a physical copy, here on Amazon.
 Galef, Julia. The Scout Mindset : Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t. London, Piatkus, 2021.
 “It Is Difficult to Get a Man to Understand Something When His Salary Depends upon His Not Understanding It – Quote Investigator.” Quoteinvestigator.com, 30 Nov. 2017, quoteinvestigator.com/2017/11/30/salary/.
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