Christopher Chelpka

Review of How to Think by Alan Jacobs, Plus Quotes

The following is a repost from my November 2017 review on Goodreads.


Alan Jacobs. 2017. How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds. Currency. WorldCat link.

I loved How to Think and highly recommend it for anyone who is committed to knowing the truth or helping others know the truth (e.g. journalists, politicians, scholars, pastors, etc.).

Thinking well requires one to take a certain posture towards the truth, oneself, and others. The posture toward “others” is a main idea of this book. Alan Jacobs shows how thinking is always relational. And he describes how truth seeking and community ought relate to each other and what happens when they don’t—a topic of central importance to me as pastor.

Here are some choice quotes:

“The more useful a term is for marking my inclusion in a group, the less interested I will be in testing the validity of my use of that term aginast—well, against any kind of standard.”

“The only real remedy for dangers of false belonging is the true belonging to, true membership in, a fellowship of people wo are not so much like-minded as like-hearted.”

“The problem, of course, and sadly, is that we all have some convictions that are unsettled when they ought to be settled, and others that are settled when they ought to be unsettled.”

“As I’ve said before: Thinking is hard.”