Thinking tools

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Phillip M. Perry, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Google Labs Ngram Viewer. Google Ngram Viewer

    This new Google tool lets you track the popularity of words and phrases appearing in published books.

    Here's an Ngram showing the relative popularity of the words "religion" and "science:"

    And just how popular are God and the devil, anyhow? Is one gaining on the other? Here's the answer:

    By the way, change the query to god with a lower case and note the difference. I am thinking that one possible reason is the use of the lower case god to refer to high achieving artists, scientists, and so on in recent times.

    Finally, here's an amusing graph that shows how Henry James's popularity spiked in the 1950s, then fell. And note the gradual rise of less popular Edith Wharton:
  2. Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer’s Craft.
    by Professor Brooks Landon.
    Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft

    You cannot separate a sentence’s form from its content, asserts Dr. Landon in this series of video lectures. If it follows that more complex form may express more involved content, and if it is true that we think in terms of sentences, then one might conclude that mastering the art of making productive combinations of underlying propositions may assist us in bringing to our thinking a greater measure of comprehension and clarity.

    Complex sentences often begin with base clauses to which free modifiers are added, bringing to the veneer of the sentence the chiaroscuro of nuance, engaging the reader in a challenging dialectic of interpretation, and earning for themselves the sobriquet of cumulative.

    Landon also covers the balanced sentence, usually structured with a semi-colon. Duality in a sentence communicates authority; phrases in series of three suggest reason and logic. Sentences deemed periodic, for which term Landon prefers the alternative suspensive, render the fullness of their meaning, or bring to completion their base clauses, at a point advanced along the path to the period.

    Samuel Johnson, author of Lives of the Poets, was famous for his balanced sentences; Francis Bacon, author of On Studies, for his three-part constructions; Cicero, author of speeches and philosophical works, for his periodic ones.

    The complex sentence is an art and a tool of thought. The Thinking Company has been advertising this series rather aggressively, so it seems to be popular. I listened to a number of the lectures multiple times.
  3. The Syntopicon: An Index to the Great Ideas.
    A Syntopicon: An Index to The Great Ideas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    We can deepen our understanding of a subject through the thoughts of those who have gone before: What did writers of the past say about the hidden and driving principles enlivening a given word, and how has its meaning changed over the centuries in subtle ways?

    The Oxford English Dictionary contains some answers to those questions (see the previous entries in this thread). Deeper insight is available from The Syntopicon, the index to the Great Books of the Western World.

    Suppose one is undertaking research on democracy, for example. The entry on “Democracy” in the Syntopicon lists over a half dozen sub-topics from “The comparison of democracy with other forms of government” to “Demagoguery and the danger of revolution” and “The challenge of war and peace: the citizen army.” Entries under these topics guide student to hundreds of textual passages from Euripedes and Plato through Tolstoy, Orwell and Marx.

    While digesting these extensive citations requires time and mental effort, the reader will possess a much firmer grasp of the concept of democracy than someone satisfied with a more easily digested review of current literature.

    The Syntopicon, available at many libraries, treats nearly 3,000 topics under 102 main ideas, the latter including Art, Dialectic, Education, Family, Happiness, Language, Love, Mind and Religion.
  4. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    If you work in finance or just want to sound like you know what you're talking about before meeting with your fiancial advisor:

    Barron's Financial Guides Dictionary of Finance and Investment Terms
  5. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    CueCard - Free software downloads and software reviews - CNET Here is a nice, free, flashcard program As most students know, there are an infinite amount of uses for them. I've never been a fan of flash cards myself (they tend to take longer just to make than I actually need in total to memorize a list), but these are so quick and convenient, that I find myself using them for certain items that require rote.

    Memorize numbers with this online mnemonic generator - This is the most complete website that I have come across for introducing some of the most tried and tested memory techniques. Use it to learn the phonetic major system for remembering long numbers, combine it with it's phonetic-mneumonic search feature to make a list of "pegs" that turn your mind into a powerhouse of numeric recollection!

    Discovery Health "The Method of Loci" The Method of Loci is a memory technique that has been used for millenia, and guess what, it works for absolutely anyone who has an imagination. This technique can be used without any prior training nor practice at all with great results. Take two minutes to learn something that you can carry with you the rest of your life! I've only used this technique myself on a few occasions, but I can still recall nearly every single detail of the lectures (dozens of hours of them, in fact) that I practiced on, even over a year later!
  6. Anastazia

    Anastazia member

    Yeah, i am agree with you.....
  7. asoltech

    asoltech New Member

    Thank you Philip
  8. Pata5359

    Pata5359 New Member

    I have and still use mind maps. It helps bring things into focus. Thanks Phillip.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2011
  9. nanoose

    nanoose New Member

    I find mindmaps restricting - my brain works better if I can manipulate, move and link the 'boxes' in any way - to see/create links after the fact. Also, to attach notes to the 'box' (thought) is helpful. Twig, the little brother to Tinderbox has been helpful for information management. Tinderbox: The Tool For Notes

    DEVONthink (Pro Office) for AI connections to all saved info (PDF's, book notes, articles...whatever you throw into your personal database). Downloads, and scans (automatic OCR). Excellent tool
  10. BananRama

    BananRama New Member

    I have a medical dictionary and a first aid application in phone and it is really helpful in emergency situations.
  11. Jon77

    Jon77 New Member

    Interesting. Practical reasoning is essential in all walks of life. Will have to check this out. Thanks for sharing this link.
  12. ruthevans41

    ruthevans41 New Member

    I would like to recommend here to play games whether it is indoor games like puzzle, Sudoku, chess or outdoor games like football or tennis.
  13. How to Read a Book
    by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren

    Thinking well and reading well are two sides of the same coin. While we tend to assume our skills in both, it is far from certain we have mastered either. Here’s a tool for filling potholes in the cognitive highway. Author Mortimer J. Adler offers extensive and insightful assistance in the “complex art” of “getting meaning from the printed page,” in particular when attempting to absorb, elucidate, expand—one might say ‘master’—a number of related books on the same subject.

    The book discusses reading at four levels: elementary, inspectional, analytical and syntopical. The final two levels, characterized by deep analysis of books singly and in relation respectively, are requisite to the achievement of greater comprehension of complex topics, the truth of which can be rendered, notes Adler, not as a “set of propositions” but in “the ordered discussion itself.” The active reader asks questions of the text, engineering an internal dialog which manifests not so much an elucidation of the book as a new synthesis, a nuanced comprehension of the world. Not the answer but the question is the key to the lock of wisdom.

    Filled with nuanced, insightful material clothed in the deceptively simple prose characteristic of Adler, this book might well be subtitled “an owner’s manual for the mind.” Taking this thinking tool seriously—it is productive to return to it annually for a fresh absorption—should sharpen anyone’s cognitive powers.
  14. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

  15. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

  16. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

  17. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    A new book (to me): Developing Minds - A Resource Book For Teaching Thinking. A.L. Costa (Ed.) The 3rd Edition is from 2001 and is still used as a text. Easy to find used, it's a decent intro level text for critical thinking. 500+ pages.
  18. jhp

    jhp Member

    I consistently use "FreeMind" a GNU GPL v2 licensed mind mapping tool.
  19. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

  20. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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