Think you're right? How to test yourself in the battle of ideas.

Our opponents' objections to our ideas often contain insight as to how we can better refine them.

  • When we're convinced in the truth of our ideas, we often believe if we just explain it to others that others will immediately come onboard with them. However, what we see in practice is that we need some resistance from others to help refine those ideas. In doing so, we make them more marketable in the marketplace of ideas.
  • When we have debates, we have to not censor our opponents. We have to be confident enough to have discussions with them aimed at getting at the truth.
  • When we prohibit the expression of ideas, we lose the chance to prove our ideas right — we lose the chance to advance their legitimacy in the court of public opinion.
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What makes a good leader: strength or smarts?

When it comes to leadership, we're quite picky on who we let govern us.

  • Research suggests that human beings are equipped for, and even prefer, a kind of mild hierarchy.
  • However, there is a certain alchemy behind successful leaders. For instance, we don't want leaders that are too powerful or too autocratic or are too able to impose punishment on ourselves.
  • The best leaders foster connections, friendships, and cooperation among their subordinates.
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  • What distinguishes humans is social learning — and teaching.
  • Crucial to learning and teaching is the value of free expression.
  • And we need political leaders who support environments of social peace and cooperation.


Why we prefer people just like us. And why that may be dangerous.

In general, birds of a feather do tend to flock together.

  • It's common for people to form groups of like minded individuals who also have similar abilities.
  • Evolution confers advantages on heterogeneous groups of people and groups with diverse talent sets.
  • Prizing individual identity ahead of group identity also helps counteract tribalistic politics.