Author, "The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t" | Co-founder, Center for Applied Rationality | Host, Rationally Speaking Podcast
Julia Galef is an author, podcaster, and an acclaimed expert on rational decision-making. She is the president and co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality.
In her book, The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don't, Galef argues that a critical part of good judgment is motivation — are you motivated to defend your pre-existing beliefs against threatening evidence, or to figure out what's actually true? With fascinating examples ranging from how to survive being stranded in the middle of the ocean, to how Jeff Bezos avoids overconfidence, to how superforecasters outperform CIA operatives, Galef shows that what makes scouts better at getting things right isn't that they're smarter than everyone else. It’s about the skill of looking at things honestly and objectively — why that’s so valuable, why it doesn’t come naturally to humans, and how we can get better at it.
For over a decade, Julia has been the host of Rationally Speaking, a biweekly podcast featuring interviews with scientists and other thinkers to explore important issues with nuance and rigor. Most episodes feature professionals with different perspectives on a topic, to try and triangulate a way to the truth.
Galef co-founded the Center for Applied Rationality, a nonprofit that helps people to internalize and use strategies based on the principles of rationality on a more regular basis to improve their reasoning and decision-making skills. She has consulted for organizations such as OpenAI and the Open Philanthropy Project, and spoken at companies including Twitter, Cruise, MongoDB, Cisco, and BlackRock.
Julia's 2016 TED Talk introducing the concept of scout mindset, "Why You Think You're Right — Even If You're Not" has been viewed over 6 million times. Galef frequently speaks on rationality and moderates debates at skeptic conferences. She gives public lectures to organizations including the Center for Inquiry and the Secular Student Alliance. From 2010 to 2015, she was a speaker for the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism.
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