Photo by Samuel Silitonga from Pexels
Nov 17, 2018 words

I chanced upon an article from thepolymathproject.com about "A few Principles in Thinking Clearly".

I learned about Czech-Canadian polymath, Vaclav Smil and his perspective on thinking clearly. He's apparently widely read by none other that Bill Gates himself. Gates even says, "I learn more by reading Vaclav Smith that just about anyone.".

The topics Smil writes about are potential pit falls for political bias and emotional reasoning, but he manages to explore them in a way that's "neither deluded nor dogmatic".

Naturally I got intrigued by what the writer's thoughts on Smil's principles on thinking clearly.

There's a lot of gold in that article but I'll zoom in on one thing that struck me:

"Keep money and status out of it"

Smil values intellectual honesty far more than fame or material wealth. In a way this reminds of one of the principles we strive to uphold in PythonPH.

Getting support from sponsors and volunteers is good and all but it shouldn't be reason to compromise on the culture and values we set when we started the organization.

This is the danger of getting paid for your ideas; It’s easy to sell out or self-censor because you’re afraid of (a) financial or (b) status pushback.

A few Principles in Thinking Clearly

  • Read widely, with maximum curiosity
  • Put reality first, theory last
  • Keep money and status out of it
  • Manage your identity
  • Skin in the game
© 2018 matt lebrun - in between code, coffee, and peanut butter.