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God's Debris

Book notes for “God’s Debris”, A Thought Experiment by Scott Adams

Highlights:

My solution was to create smart-sounding answers using the skeptic’s creed: The simplest explanation is usually right. My experience tells me that in this complicated world the simplest explanation is usually dead wrong. But I’ve noticed that the simplest explanation usually sounds right and is far more convincing than any complicated explanation could hope to be. That’s good enough for my purposes here. Read more at location 32

“We like to believe that other people have the same level of urges as we do, despite all evidence to the contrary. We convince ourselves that people differ only in their degree of morality or willpower, or a combination of the two. But urges are real, and they differ wildly for every individual. Morality and willpower are illusions. For any human being, the highest urge always wins and willpower never enters into it. Willpower is a delusion.” Read more at location 828

“You’re alone much of the time.” He was right. I enjoyed being alone. I had friends, but I was always happy to get back home. “How do you know that?” I asked. “Your pupils widen when I talk about ideas.” “They do?” “There are two types of people in the world, my young friend. One type is people-oriented. When they make conversation, it is about people—what people are doing, what someone said, how someone feels. The other group is idea-oriented. When they make conversation, they talk about ideas and concepts and objects.” Read more at location 912

“If I gave you advice, would you follow it?” “Maybe. It depends on the advice.” “No, you wouldn’t follow my advice. No one has ever followed the advice of another person.” “Now you’re just being disagreeable,” I said. “Obviously people follow advice all the time. That’s not a delusion.” “People think they follow advice but they don’t. Humans are only capable of receiving information. They create their own advice. If you seek to influence someone, don’t waste time giving advice. You can change only what people know, not what they do.” Read more at location 928

“It would seem phony to you while you asked the questions, but it would not seem that way to the stranger. To him it is an unexpected gift, an opportunity to enjoy one of life’s greatest pleasures: talking about oneself. He would become more animated and he would instantly begin to like you. You would seem to be a brilliant and talented conversationalist, even if your only contribution was asking questions and listening. And you would have solved the stranger’s fear of an awkward silence. For that he will be grateful.” Read more at location 939

“Most disagreements are like my example. Two people have different information, but they think the root of their disagreement is that the other person has bad judgment or bad manners or bad values. In fact, most people would share your opinions if they had the same information. If you spend your time arguing about the faultiness of other people’s opinions, you waste your time and theirs. The only thing than can be useful is examining the differences in your assumptions and adding to each other’s information. Sometimes that is enough to make viewpoints converge over time.” Read more at location 955

“A woman needs to be told that you would sacrifice anything for her. A man needs to be told he is being useful. When the man or woman strays from that formula, the other loses trust. When trust is lost, communication falls apart.” Read more at location 982

“Yes, probability is still involved. But fescue and foosball were only a few of the unusual words and ideas that you tuned your brain to this week. The others didn’t cross your path again so you took no notice of their absence. When you consider all of the coincidences that are possible, it is not surprising that you experience a few every day. Read more at location 1031

“A person who does affirmations takes mental tuning to a higher level. The process of concentrating on the goal every day greatly increases the likelihood of noticing an opportunity in the environment. The coincidence will create the illusion that writing down the goal causes the environment to produce opportunities. But in reality the only thing that changes is the person’s ability to notice the opportunities. I don’t mean to minimize that advantage because the ability to recognize opportunities is essential to success.” Read more at location 1034