How to write, think and learn more clearly

I stumbled upon a great presentation on Hacker News (2022-04). It was about write, thinking and learning more clearly.

Some of the ideas are worth excerpting here:

Writing

  • People who write are powerful.
  • You don’t know what you know until you try to express it.
  • You don’t have to be able to name and classify the parts of your language in order to use them!
  • Instead of doing what’s easy for you, do what’s easy for your reader.
  • Write down ideas in random order, then sort them.
  • State the main point before you give the reasoning that leads to it.
  • Put the main point of each paragraph in its first sentence.
  • Always use the clearest, simplest language that will do the job. NEVER try to sound formal or sophisticated.
  • Never use a word unless you know EXACTLY what it means.
  • Whenever possible, shorten your sentences by removing needless words.
  • Never draw the reader’s eye to anything that is not the main point.
  • The reader will expect every change to mean something.

Thinking

  • How do you know what a sentence means? Largely, by knowing how to find out if it’s true or false.
  • Epistemology is the study of how to acquire knowledge by observing the world around you.
    • The goal is to end up believing things that are true and not believing things that are false.
  • A belief isn’t warranted unless you could have known if it’s not true.
  • Your guesses and opinions need to be testable. They have to say what will not happen.
  • It is important to be able to understand and present sympathetically a position that you do not agree with.
  • If people believe something, they probably have a reason worth knowing about even if they’re mistaken.

Learning

  • Changing your goals is OK. Not having goals is not!
  • Different kinds of material require different learning strategies.
  • A student who is only good at one subject is often someone who only has one learning strategy.
  • Students who are lost have always been lost longer than they want to admit.
  • People accustomed to incomplete learning get terribly lost in rigorous, logical, mathematical material.
April 19, 2022 |