The Lucifer Effect

Have you ever wondered why otherwise good people end up doing bad things? I’m not talking about telling white lies or eating grapes out of the bag in the grocery store. I’m talking about whole nations swept up in a Nazi stupor. I’m talking about Guantánamo Bay, Abu Graib, and drone bombing of wedding parties and hospitals. On home ground, I’m talking about police brutality. And, to a lesser extent, I’m also talking about college kids who mentally and physically abuse their peers in psychological experiments or, more commonly, in hazing rituals. Regardless of the degree, I’m talking about acts of evil.

There is an easy answer that comes to those who have not taken the time to contemplate this issue or to those who would rather not find out what human nature is actually like. Continue reading “The Lucifer Effect”

If you gave me one book to read, which would it be?

I never learn… When you lend someone a book you’re pretty much guaranteed never to get it back. I’ve lent (or should I say ‘reluctantly given away’) more great books than I can keep track of.

And the worse thing is that those who don’t return your books are the ones who didn’t even like the books. How do I know this? Because if you liked the first book of liberty that you read you find yourself in a never-ending quest for more. The ones who liked the books I gave them are the ones who came back to me wanting further book recommendations. Continue reading “If you gave me one book to read, which would it be?”

Communication Skills

If there is one thing that I’m willing to bet on, it’s that there are topics within the pages of Books of Liberty for which you are very passionate. And wouldn’t it be great if you could convince just a few more people to see things the way you do on these subjects? If there is one tool in your tool-belt that you need in order to achieve this aim, it’s improved communication skills.

With techniques such as nonviolent communication, or NVC (for which we have many books and study guides), or other means of empathic connection you can reach a meeting of the minds on almost anything. In addition to convincing an “opponent” in a debate, this may significantly improve interpersonal relations, parenting, help with conflict resolution and is an important social skill to have.

In fact, good communication skills of this sort are so vital, they affect everything from a chat at the water cooler, to negotiating a hostage crisis (because you never know when you might find yourself in that situation).

In order to strengthen your arguments, you will utilize critical thinking and problem solving techniques to help frame your ideas, apply logic consistently and remove cognitive biases, and you will learn to identify others’ use of logical fallacies or fear and manipulation.

Then, with the power of empathic connection you will use your rhetoric to its full potential, whether through writing, debating, negotiation, public speaking or other forms of communication.

Now you just have to promise to use your superior communication skills for good and not for evil… And as always, thank you for reading!