Net Positive: Having More Positive than Negative Impact

  Net positive is a principle which denotes that you should maintain a positive balance in life, by doing more positive things, such as improving the environment, than you do negative things, such as harming the environment. For example, when it comes to your friendships, pursuing a net positive can mean trying to help your …

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The Burden of Proof: Why People Should Support Their Claims

  The burden of proof (“onus probandi” in Latin) is the obligation to provide sufficient supporting evidence for claims that you make. For example, if a politician claims that a new policy will lead to a positive outcome, then the politician has a burden of proof with regard to this claim, meaning that they need …

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Sturgeon’s Law: Ninety Percent of Everything Is Crap

  Sturgeon’s law is the adage that “ninety percent of everything is crap”. This suggests that, in general, the vast majority of the works that are produced in any given field are likely to be of low quality. For example, when it comes to books, Sturgeon’s law suggests that 90% of the books that come …

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The Principle of Charity: Assume the Best Interpretation of People’s Arguments

  The principle of charity is a philosophical principle that denotes that, when interpreting someone’s statement, you should assume that the best possible interpretation of that statement is the one that the speaker meant to convey. Accordingly, to implement the principle of charity, you should not attribute falsehoods, logical fallacies, or irrationality to people’s argument, …

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Quotes and Lessons about Strategy from Machiavelli’s “The Prince”

  Niccolò Machiavelli was an eminent philosopher and diplomat in the Florentine Republic, between the late 1400s and the early 1500s. His renowned writing on strategy and politics led to the creation of the term Machiavellianism, which refers to the use of cunning and duplicity in statecraft and in general conduct, and he is sometimes …

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Lessons in Stoicism from Marcus Aurelius’s “Meditations”

  Marcus Aurelius was an eminent Roman emperor and one of the most influential writers on the topic of Stoicism, which is a philosophy that revolves around seeking virtue in life, without letting yourself be ruled by negative emotions. Aurelius’ writing on Stoicism is best represented in Meditations, a book which is frequently mentioned as one …

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