What are some books that can make anyone think better and more logically?

There is no greater, more powerful and more logically challenging book - that the one where a Scientist deconstructs the most powerful belief system we have - God. And that is why I consider Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion - as a seminal Masterpiece where Logical Thinking is required.

Loy Machedo

Reading is great because it’s essentially stepping into another person’s mind which can be clarifying, illuminating, and helpful.

The first time I read geometric proofs (step by step arguments) or heavy-math, my understanding about rigor, clarity of thought, being specific and detail-oriented improved greatly.

Some works I’d recommend:

(1) Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus - Wittgenstien’s famous first book and also the work in which truth-tables (used all over logic) were created.

(2) Principia Mathematica - Russell and Whitehead - first to prove that yes, 1+1 does equal 2!

(3) Godel’s 2nd Incomplete

Reading is great because it’s essentially stepping into another person’s mind which can be clarifying, illuminating, and helpful.

The first time I read geometric proofs (step by step arguments) or heavy-math, my understanding about rigor, clarity of thought, being specific and detail-oriented improved greatly.

Some works I’d recommend:

(1) Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus - Wittgenstien’s famous first book and also the work in which truth-tables (used all over logic) were created.

(2) Principia Mathematica - Russell and Whitehead - first to prove that yes, 1+1 does equal 2!

(3) Godel’s 2nd Incompleteness Theorem - Kurt Godel’s great paper - are there mathematical truths that cannot be proved? Yes.

(4) Euclid’s Elements - Good example of geometric proof both because it’s the first book about geometry and because it proceeds using step-by-step axioms!

(5) Any professional logic journal - Journal of Mathematical Logic, Review of Symbolic Logic, Journal of Symbolic Logic[1]

Footnotes

Not books, but training guides like

For abstract logic, and Test Yourself! Free high quality psychological tests at 123test.com

Complete all excersizes and that oughta help you get started on your path to intellectual improvement.

Thinking with your heart is not always good for you. At times logical thinking can prevent you from making or repeating mistakes that may cost dear in future. It is assumed that people who think with their left brains are logical whereas those thinking with their right brains are more emotional and intuitive. Some people are born with high deductive ability which they cannot give up even if they try. Logical thinking can be a curse or boon; depending on the situation you are in. Logical thinking can blow off the mist created by emotions to show you the reality and factualness of the situation

Thinking with your heart is not always good for you. At times logical thinking can prevent you from making or repeating mistakes that may cost dear in future. It is assumed that people who think with their left brains are logical whereas those thinking with their right brains are more emotional and intuitive. Some people are born with high deductive ability which they cannot give up even if they try. Logical thinking can be a curse or boon; depending on the situation you are in. Logical thinking can blow off the mist created by emotions to show you the reality and factualness of the situation or people. When you become a logical person, you will be able to differentiate between truth and lies, solve your problems effectively and take right decisions which will benefit you and others. Often, the truth is staring back at us, but we tend to ignore it as we are blinded by our emotions. These are 6 easy ways that can help you think more logically, so that you will be able to look at the world more clearly with right reasoning.

1. Small details are important:

Sherlock Holmes said, ‘The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” The clue to logical thinking lies in being observant and noticing details. If you watch a person closely, you will be amazed to know how easy it to tell a lie from truth. Do not try to change facts so that they fit into your belief system, but build your beliefs on the facts. The trick of observation can be developed through practice and perseverance.

2. Work with puzzles:

Logical thinking is improved when you work on puzzles like Rubik’s cube, which demands deduction of results from all possible angels. The solution for puzzles is often described by the mnemonic SMART, which means the deductions should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bounded. Puzzles and games which involve rational thinking exercise the brain to work on logical thinking. With time thinking logically becomes a habit.

3. Hold on to your own beliefs:

Do not give in to arguments that show that all people believe in it, so it is true. There was a time when everybody believed that earth was flat and center of the universe, including all the major religions of the world. There is no need for you to accept something as true, just for the reason that you cannot prove it to be wrong. Hold on to your logical thinking and beliefs that come with it, no matter how much pressure others mount on you. Never underestimate the power of intuition and gut-feeling as illogical, as they can be quite reliable at times, especially when they are your own.

4. Build formidable defense against emotional blackmail:

Not many people like it when you think about them rationally; hence, they are bound to distract you with emotional blackmail or any other defense mechanism they are familiar with. If you are not strong with your own defense against such strategies, you will yield to the pressure sooner or later. Beware of your own defense mechanisms which may have developed over the period. When people try to vague, ask them to be specific and explain exactly what they mean.

5. Ask yourself questions:

When you are doing something irrational, stop and ask yourself the question why you are doing it? Look at the action and resulting consequences from all possible angles before moving ahead. Keep aside bias, patronizing and prejudices while making your decisions. Slow down, take deep breaths and be calm. You cannot be logical when you are stressed and running in hurry. Answer your questions honestly, racking your brain for right information.

6. Be prepared to handle the truth:

Many people stop being logical just because they are afraid to face the truth. Preparing yourself to handle the truth is the first step towards becoming a more logical person. Beware that truth can be quite painful at times; but there is no reason in living in a false world. Do not ignore facts, data, clues or cause that holds light to truth because you are afraid what it may reveal. Prepare yourself to handle the bitter truth.

No one thinks logically all the time.

Logic book or no logic book.

We all have cognitive biases to a varying degree.

Prof. Daniel Kahneman described it best in his book “Thinking fast and slow”. We have two parts of our mind which are used to accomplish various tasks.

  • An intuitive mind, which takes shortcuts and operates on autopilot. This type of thinking is effortless and most of the time we are on autopilot. It is also called system 1.
  • A rational mind, which is logical but requires a lot of effort. This part of the brain is lazy and we don’t always use it. It is known as system 2.

[1]

Here is a prob

Footnotes

No one thinks logically all the time.

Logic book or no logic book.

We all have cognitive biases to a varying degree.

Prof. Daniel Kahneman described it best in his book “Thinking fast and slow”. We have two parts of our mind which are used to accomplish various tasks.

  • An intuitive mind, which takes shortcuts and operates on autopilot. This type of thinking is effortless and most of the time we are on autopilot. It is also called system 1.
  • A rational mind, which is logical but requires a lot of effort. This part of the brain is lazy and we don’t always use it. It is known as system 2.

[1]

Here is a problem taken from his book.

If a baseball bat and a ball cost a total of $1.10, and the bat costs $1 more than the ball, then how much does the ball cost?

If you listen to you intuition then most likely your answer will be 10 cents which will be wrong. 80% of the best and brightest students from the MIT, Princeton and Harvard made this mistake.

But what about 20% people who got it right?

They involved their system 2 and didn’t trust their intuitive judgement. They invoked their knowledge of algebra.

Do you think reading a logic book makes a difference?

Not in my opinion.

In research studies, what was found to make a difference was bad fonts. Yes, that is correct. If the question was written in bad fonts then it caused cognitive difficulty engaging system 2 and using basic algebra to solve it properly.

We are all illogical in one situation or the other.

Footnotes

When attempting to learn formal logic, you have to be wary of getting disillusioned and disheartened, oft times from the initial difficulty. Unlike normal education where we gather information, learning logic is trying to teach yourself how to think - which is much harder.

You should always start with a beginner’s introduction. I suggest ‘Introduction to Logic’ by Harry J. Gensler if you want a primer into all the various forms of Logic given to you in an unassuming prose. He gives a lot of explanations, examples, and exercises. Then there’s the fabulous LogiCola software he’s invented to pract

When attempting to learn formal logic, you have to be wary of getting disillusioned and disheartened, oft times from the initial difficulty. Unlike normal education where we gather information, learning logic is trying to teach yourself how to think - which is much harder.

You should always start with a beginner’s introduction. I suggest ‘Introduction to Logic’ by Harry J. Gensler if you want a primer into all the various forms of Logic given to you in an unassuming prose. He gives a lot of explanations, examples, and exercises. Then there’s the fabulous LogiCola software he’s invented to practise with. He also often gives quotes from philosophical texts so you can try your new skills out for yourself.

If you’d like to spend more time learning ‘critical thinking’ before moving on-to formal logic, you should pick up ‘Introduction to Logic’ by Irving Copi, which only teaches basic syllogistic and propositional logic, but does so expertly and with *a lot* of depth and explanations.

Other such introductions include the one by Peter Smith, who is a professor at Cambridge (though I personally don’t like it very much), or Paul Teller’s ‘Logic Primer’ which is freely available (but out of print).

If you want a *really* basic text (essentially one like an ‘Idiot’s Guide’) then you could also go for Guttenplan’s ‘The Language of Logic’ - but unless you’re extremely bad at reasoning or mathematics I doubt you’d need it.

If you don’t want to learn formal logic per se, but only want the mathematical side of it, I would suggest going with ‘An Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning’ by Peter J. Eccless. It also starts with truth-tables, but then moves on directly to problems of axiomisation and sets. However, fair warning: its often harder to read any form of logic, be it mathematical, philosophical or fuzzy without a basic categorical thinking. Using Gensler or Copi will help you acquire that.

In terms of mathematics, one can look at the absolutely fantastic ‘How to Prove It’ by Daniel J. Velleman. There is no better book which looks at proofs and teaches one how to analyse, understand and execute them. For anyone interested in mathematics or even philosophical modal proofs, I would recommend this book. Another (for solving) might by ‘How to Solve It’ by G. Polya.

However, I find Gensler to be inescapable. Because, after him you can go learn any particular field you want. You see, logic has its own sub-disciplines which you can study once you’ve learnt the basics. And Gensler introduces all of them. There is also a ‘Further Reasing’ list to help you decide.

You might also want to check his ‘A-Z of Logic’ (be-wary he has another book with a different name with the exact same content) which lists nearly all the books for the various fields.

Anyways, I don’t think there is any one “best book” for logic, but rather the best is the one which bests helps you accomplish your goals. Hopefully the above mentioned will give you a good start.

  1. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kanheman:

    It discusses the differences between “System 1,” which is our intuitive mind, and “System 2,” which is our analytical mind. He cites hundreds of studies from other scientists as well as a ton of studies he did himself. You will learn so much it’s actually dangerous.
  2. Mastering Your Hidden Self by Serge King

    He talks about your subconscious mind, and how to communicate with it effectively. This is the most influential book I’ve ever read.
  3. The Red Queen by Matt Ridley

    Evolution is often thought to be very heavy on the “survival” side. In reality, the “
  1. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kanheman:

    It discusses the differences between “System 1,” which is our intuitive mind, and “System 2,” which is our analytical mind. He cites hundreds of studies from other scientists as well as a ton of studies he did himself. You will learn so much it’s actually dangerous.
  2. Mastering Your Hidden Self by Serge King

    He talks about your subconscious mind, and how to communicate with it effectively. This is the most influential book I’ve ever read.
  3. The Red Queen by Matt Ridley

    Evolution is often thought to be very heavy on the “survival” side. In reality, the “replication” or “reproduction” side is perhaps more important. He talks about how and why, and it leads to some really insightful conclusions that predicts present day human behavior, as we do battle with our instincts and our moral fiber.
  4. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

    This is a book on how to be a better writer, but it can be interpreted as how to be more creative in general. I read this book with no intention of taking up writing as a hobby or career, and was very pleased with what I took out of it.
  5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

    A fictional book set in a Utopian society. It blew my mind in so many different directions that I’m still searching for some of it.

I’m currently reading “the Art of War” by Sun Tzu, as well, that’s worth looking into.

In general, the only way to become smarter, or more intelligent, is to learn things that you didn’t previously know about, and genuinely consider whether or not they could be valid points. When you read these books, don’t take what they say as dogma—make up your own mind and use reasons.

So, depending on your frame of mind, you could also choose to read books that are totally outside the scope of what you think about the world. In high school, we read “Revolutionary Suicide” by Huey Newton (the founder of the Black Panther Party), which was massively eye opening for me at the time.

Books by philosophers are usually phenomenal, mostly because they are so rigorous with their findings. I would read 1. Nietzsche 2. Socrates (Plato) and 3. Descartes in that order. Some of their arguments are invalid—try to find out which ones on your own.

Surround yourself with people smarter than you, who have different viewpoints than you, and consider that they might be right, or they might be wrong. Books can be those “people,” if you so choose. Reading quality books is one of the best habits you can be in.

How do you improve your logical thinking as compared to your creative thinking…

I see this question has already been answered by many people and I am quite late to respond, nevertheless I will expound how would have I achieved it.

Creativity by essence of it all meanings and interpretations - is the newness or originality in the expression of any existing idea.

It is more of how you say something when you say it.

It is more of having the new eyes to look at something when the view has never changed.

So, it is obviously subjective.

You, having your own personal style to say, do or see something, is w

How do you improve your logical thinking as compared to your creative thinking…

I see this question has already been answered by many people and I am quite late to respond, nevertheless I will expound how would have I achieved it.

Creativity by essence of it all meanings and interpretations - is the newness or originality in the expression of any existing idea.

It is more of how you say something when you say it.

It is more of having the new eyes to look at something when the view has never changed.

So, it is obviously subjective.

You, having your own personal style to say, do or see something, is what makes you creative.

Now, when we think about logic, it is rational and causative. It could be taught to a person to be reasonable and to act a certain way, in order to achieve a certain outcome, as opposed to being spontaneous.

It is more of a pattern recognition and then building over that pattern thing.

It is a function of understanding rather than intuitive originality.

Remember that, when we talk about seeing a pattern, we are talking about being able to see the puzzle pieces, and the consequent big picture. A pattern itself means that it has pre-existed, as opposed to creative thinking which in itself is original and indigenous.

So you kind of train your mind, to link patterns and to look to their possible outcomes and thus you can predict the behavior, and the outcomes of situations.

Reasoning and analytical thinking can be learned by guiding your mind to think in a certain way.

And as one person already pointed out here, very importantly :

‘Put yourself out of the equation and try to look at the situations objectively.’

Thanks for the A2A.

They did a study of people once comparing people who studied logic with people who studied chess and found that teaching people chess helped them think logically even more so than teaching them logic.

The reason for that is that our brains are visual, and most of the tenets of logic don't map cleanly into that visual thinking. But chess is both logical and visual.

Ideas such as transposition, overloading of pieces, pawn chain weaknesses and the like play into logic well in ways that mesh with the brains visual processing nature.

So I'd recommend, assuming you want deep skills a

Thanks for the A2A.

They did a study of people once comparing people who studied logic with people who studied chess and found that teaching people chess helped them think logically even more so than teaching them logic.

The reason for that is that our brains are visual, and most of the tenets of logic don't map cleanly into that visual thinking. But chess is both logical and visual.

Ideas such as transposition, overloading of pieces, pawn chain weaknesses and the like play into logic well in ways that mesh with the brains visual processing nature.

So I'd recommend, assuming you want deep skills and are not in a hurry, taking up chess and reading some books on it, then looking at some classic games and playing against people online and against computer opponents and analyzing the games.

You'll find that this increases your ability to start combining logical thoughts.

Then learn things like common fallacies of thinking and other philosophical thoughts.

If you want to go the computer programming route, a good book is this one, Structure and interpretation of computer programs at http://deptinfo.unice.fr/~roy/sicp.pdf which takes things from a logician's perspective.

The most important single questions to start asking yourself are

1. If this is true what else must also be true?

2. If this is true what else must also be false?

3. If this is false what else must also be true?

4. If this is false what else must also be false?

Or, put more succinctly:

"If I know this one (or set of) thing(s), what else can I conclude and also know?"

One other thing I did for a while is played sudoko for fun, and after a couple of weeks started playing without using a pencil (doing the whole thing in my head). That will build up your ability to not only see relationships, but to pile one relationship on top of another.

But it has it's limits (not always easy to transfer the skill to other logic domains) and does get boring after a while, so mix it up.

You want superpowers…wonderful! May your tribe increase!

Two great things to ferret out from your question (1) you assume you need to think more logically in your life, and (2) you assume rightly that there is a truth worth pursuing in accord with reason.

Logic is not simply about knowing that someone’s thinking is in error. Many people have some intuition that the argument they disagree with doesn’t ‘smell right’. Grasping logical thinking will give you the added opportunity to ‘know’ why someone’s thinking is in error, and to explain why, and then to draw out the truth they have missed. I agre

You want superpowers…wonderful! May your tribe increase!

Two great things to ferret out from your question (1) you assume you need to think more logically in your life, and (2) you assume rightly that there is a truth worth pursuing in accord with reason.

Logic is not simply about knowing that someone’s thinking is in error. Many people have some intuition that the argument they disagree with doesn’t ‘smell right’. Grasping logical thinking will give you the added opportunity to ‘know’ why someone’s thinking is in error, and to explain why, and then to draw out the truth they have missed. I agree with one of the previous answers that you must both spend time developing logical skills, and that reading good books is not enough. But to suggest you must engage in deliberate critical thinking, without the critical thinking foundation that is ‘learned’ in guided practice is, well…illogical. You need to know what you don’t know before you try to apply what you know to deliberate critical thinking.

For example, you may watch those TV commercials that have some celebrity promoting their brand of perfume. You may think and say, “There’s something wrong with thinking it’s a good perfume because they’re famous.” But wouldn’t it be nice to say, “They’ve committed the fallacy of an improper conversion of an A proposition?” And then explain that by using examples that show the ridiculousness of using that improper logic elsewhere, oh, and you might call that technique reductio ad absurdum to make your point. So, learn to swim first!

And speaking of leaning to do something well first prior to doing it, read Mortimer J. Adler’s How to Read a Book. It’s is a good place to start to acclimate yourself to critical thinking. I told my own children that if they wanted to be able to read well, i.e., to not simply improve comprehension but to also squeeze the marrow from the bone, they should learn to read prior to reading. They thought that was funny. But this book sets the stage for how you not just read, but how you should approach a book, inquiring as to its theme and the author’s intentions. It gets you thinking! If you’re going to invest your time in a book, it needs to be a worthwhile pursuit. And following his method, you will find yourself able to explain not just ‘what the book was about’, but what meaning it may hold.

But then directly to logic. I suggest Peter Kreeft’s Socratic Logic: A Logic Using Socratic Method, Platonic Questions, and Aristotelian Principles. If you have never taken logic, nor studied it before, you will be hard-pressed to find a more thorough introduction, written in a digestible language. This is symbolic (syllogistic) logic, not mathematical (symbolic) logic. The latter is more efficient, but not nearly as applicable to daily life. Logic is a path to truth by being able to whittle away error, and through these discovered truths a path to become wise(r). Mathematicians and computer programmers, as intelligent as they may be as practitioners of symbolic logic, are not a class typically known for their wisdom—that doesn’t mean they’re not wise of course.

I will humbly offer you the same advice I gave my daughter when she took logic in her pursuit of philosophy and theology degrees. Be prepared to no longer watch TV news. You will now KNOW the fallacies that are built on top of fallacies. This new-found ability of yours will also spill out into your everyday conversations, which will equally leave you frustrated as you find yourself continually trying to clarify the terms, reconstruct the statements, or reorient the invalid argument of the person in your conversation…in the end you will become lonely in your mind; better than NO one else, but a clear thinker, and unfortunately different…you now have a superpower!

Tip 1: Learn the language ‘C’ ~You might be an expert .NET, Java or PHP developer, but I would recommend that you MUST learn ‘C. We all know why ‘C’ is the most powerful programming language, but I am not recommending learning ‘C’ to you because of its power in programming.‘C’ offers you a structured style of
programming. You have one file with the main() method and the execution
begins from there and the execution flow proceeds as you have directed it to.The main advantage in ‘C’ is that it allows you to play around with memory directly. This I believe is very important if you need to under

Tip 1: Learn the language ‘C’ ~You might be an expert .NET, Java or PHP developer, but I would recommend that you MUST learn ‘C. We all know why ‘C’ is the most powerful programming language, but I am not recommending learning ‘C’ to you because of its power in programming.‘C’ offers you a structured style of
programming. You have one file with the main() method and the execution
begins from there and the execution flow proceeds as you have directed it to.The main advantage in ‘C’ is that it allows you to play around with memory directly. This I believe is very important if you need to understand how data is passed from one memory block to another. The reason is that you start to visualize in your minds eye how data moves in your program.The next step is to develop programs that will help you improve your logic.

Tip 2: Develop programs that test your mind skills ~Ever heard of the Fibonacci series?Ever built a program that will allow the user to type his/her name and allow to bounce off that name on the screen from one corner to another like a ball?Ever thought of creating a library for a Menu Bar system?All these are examples of programs that you can develop to improve your mind and programming skills.I remember the time I was at college and I would spends nights after nights to build my own library for screen interface for menu bars,
windows, text fields, etc. In a UNIX box I would use the ncurses library and build it. I would then try and replicate the same in Windows using the conio.h file and some assembly code.Try to develop as many programs as possible in ‘C’, this will help you improve your programming logic.Following are some programs that I can help you with:Write a program (WAP) to find the max, min, average and total of numbers entered by the userWAP to accept a string from the user and find the number of vowels and the vowels that got repeated the most.WAP to accept an array of numbers and sort the same using Bubble Sort Algorithm.WAP to accept a string from the user and print all its permutations and combinations.WAP to accept to accept a number from the user and test if it is a Fibonacci number or not.I can go on and on with such questions.

Tip 3: Locate code and try to understand why it was written that way ~Use
the internet or college library to locate code written by another
developer. Try to understand why it was written that way and understand
it completely. Once you have understood why it was written they way it
is written, check to see if you could improve that logic.The main objective of this exercise is to get your brain thinking.
Tip 4: Solve logic puzzles ~Check
your local newspaper. One section of your newspaper will be filled with
series of logic puzzles and riddles. Try solving them. Don’t get
disheartened if you can’t solve them or take a long time to solve them.
Remember that you are in the learning and improving stage. Things will
be slow, but you will make progress.Your brain will be trained to think
differently with every puzzle that you try to solve. This is because now
you know a new method of solving. You could apply the same thinking
pattern to your programs as well.As a standard prescription, I would
prescribe solving Suduku puzzles. Will help you improve your logic,
concentration and skills of grouping and organizing.

Tip 5: Help other people build logic ~Once
you start feeling confident about yourself and your logic capabilities,
you should immediately start helping people. Subscribe to a forum and
start helping people there. The benefit of helping people on forums is
that you get to learn new problems that people face. This immensely adds
to your knowledge. Just imagine the power you would have once you start
to learn problems faced by other people and how you or someone else
resolved it.I have seen friends following this advice but shying at
the last moment. Why? Because they don’t want to be ridiculed in the
forum. Don’t be scared of other people ridiculing you. Look at it as a
learning experience. People who ridicule you would be the one’s with
more experience… and learning from people who are experienced is no harm
at all.

I believe, when you read any good book, there is a parallel stream of thoughts flowing. You try to out yourselves into the shoes of a character, you try to analyze a situation from your point of view, you learn new angles to life, you get an insight into the world described in the book, you make your own conclusions, you relate your life to the book... it goes on.

The following are some of the books that I have listed off the top of my head:

  • "Mahabharatha" by Veda Vyasa

There is no one right way to analyse this work. It all comes down to this - It matters not how long you have lived but how you h

I believe, when you read any good book, there is a parallel stream of thoughts flowing. You try to out yourselves into the shoes of a character, you try to analyze a situation from your point of view, you learn new angles to life, you get an insight into the world described in the book, you make your own conclusions, you relate your life to the book... it goes on.

The following are some of the books that I have listed off the top of my head:

  • "Mahabharatha" by Veda Vyasa

There is no one right way to analyse this work. It all comes down to this - It matters not how long you have lived but how you have lived. You might possess great powers but what matters is how you use them. You may have endless excuses for what you choose but ultimately what matters is what is right.

  • "The Kite Runner" and "The Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini.

I got an insight into Afghan lifestyle - about how beautiful the country is, how they celebrate certain festivals, what is it like to live with Taliban hovering around. I was glad that my situation is so much better off. It set me to think about all the stuff I should really be grateful for.

  • "Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand.

I have always been a person who "goes with the flow". I was amazed at how determined and focused Howard Roark was about his visions in life. I wondered for hours together how content one would feel upon following only what the heart said and not succumbing to the worldly pressures.

  • "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling

Believe in the magic of love. Enough said!

  • "Avarana" by S.L.Bhyrappa (English translation available under the name, "The Veil")

What struck me about the book is the amount of effort that the author has put into writing this work. I understood that what is portrayed in our History text books and media is not the ultimate truth. It revealed a lot about the Mughal dynasty. Definitely, a must read.