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  • The best way to 10x your intelligence is:

  • to go on a difficult books reading regimen.

  • That's where you read ten or less books a year, and each one should be harder than

  • the last.

  • And this is probably the opposite of a lot of what you see and hear on YouTube, where

  • the game is often to read as many books in a year as you can,

  • something which I think will be very inefficient if you're trying to boost your intelligence

  • and mental strength.

  • Let me show you how and why the difficult book regimen works better.

  • So what is intelligence?

  • Let's define it as the ability to solve our own problems.

  • The more intelligent we are, the more of our own problems we can solve.

  • Ok, but how do we improve our intelligence?

  • One of the main ways we improve our intelligence, our ability to solve problems, is by creating,

  • obtaining, and using tools.

  • And there are at least two types of tools we use: physical tools and mental tools.

  • An example of a physical tool is a hammer.

  • If you need to apply force to something, the hammer is handy for that.

  • Physical tools are easy to understand,

  • but I think less people talk about and understand the importance of mental tools, which is what

  • this video is about.

  • So what is a mental tool?

  • An example of a mental tool is the word forgiveness.

  • Think about the word forgiveness

  • and how much power this word gives you within yourself and within your relationships.

  • When you forgive yourself, you make peace with your past self and your previous mistakes,

  • and you give yourself permission to be a better person tomorrow than you were yesterday.

  • Forgiveness frees you from the burdens of the past.

  • When you forgive another, you make it possible to repair a relationship for the better and

  • move forward as a team.

  • It's hard to imagine a world without the concept of forgiveness.

  • Forgiveness, like all words, is really a kind of technology or mental tool.

  • It's kind of like a glue that allows us to repair a broken relationship, whether that

  • relationship is with others or ourselves.

  • It has changed our lives immensely for the better and improved our ability to cooperate.

  • Now think about how many books are out there, how many words and mental tools are out there

  • for you to obtain, tools that will completely change how you interact with yourself and

  • with others in the world, just like the concept of forgiveness has, tools that can give you

  • immense power and strength to solve more problems.

  • Every time you truly learn a new word, you expand your mental tool kit, and by doing

  • so, you increase your intelligence, and you expand your ability to solve a variety of

  • new problems.

  • Mental tools are just as important and powerful as physical tools for solving and overcoming

  • problems, they just operate differently.

  • Mental tools help us make meaning of the world.

  • And meaning can help us overcome problems or even remove them from our lives.

  • Let me give you an example.

  • Think about the worst suffering you can?

  • Got it?

  • Ok.

  • Now imagine that you're given a reason for this suffering.

  • Imagine the clouds part and a voice gives you a reason, a justification, for why you're

  • suffering.

  • Does this make the suffering more bearable?

  • I think most people would respond by saying yes.

  • In his book Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl details his experience as a prisoner

  • in the WW2 concentration camps.

  • And in it, he says, “In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds

  • a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.”

  • He found out that meaning could lessen one's suffering.

  • He also paraphrases Nietzsche when he says, “'He who has a why to live for can bear

  • with almost any how.'”

  • So how does Frankl's experience relate to what I'm talking about?

  • Reading difficult books and expanding your mental toolkit will help you discover more

  • why's for your life.

  • It will help you create greater meaning for the life you live.

  • And according to both Frankl and Nietzsche, meaning, and the ability to produce it, is

  • one of our greatest protections against the suffering of life.

  • So I said that you can 10x your intelligence, your ability to solve problems, by expanding

  • your mental toolkit.

  • And I said that one way to expand your mental toolkit is by reading difficult books.

  • But why difficult books?

  • Reading is a lot like weight lifting for the mind.

  • The more difficult books you learn to read, make sense of, and overcome, in some sense,

  • the stronger your mind becomes.

  • Your mind becomes better at making meaning of things and responding to the world in a

  • more effective way.

  • So what makes a book difficult?

  • I think that, in essence, for most people, what makes a book difficult is two things:

  • novelty & abstraction.

  • Novelty is when you come across something new: a new idea, a new word, a new perspective,

  • or a new problem that you haven't seen before.

  • It's a meeting with the unfamiliar, and unfamiliar things often make us feel uncomfortable

  • and they require a lot of work to make meaning out of.

  • The more novelty there is inside a book, the harder it will be for the reader to get through

  • and make sense of.

  • But novelty is often what makes a difficult book worth reading!

  • It's introducing you to new mental tools which you can use to update your mental software.

  • But if you shy away from new and difficult ideas, you become like the grandparent who

  • uses old technology because they're too scared to learn the new one, and by doing

  • so, you limit your own potential.

  • The second thing that makes a book hard to read is abstraction.

  • The best way I can explain abstract ideas is by comparing them with their opposite:

  • concrete ideas.

  • Concrete ideas are things you can identify with any of the five senses: taste, smell,

  • sound, touch, and sight.

  • Anything you can experience with these five senses is concrete, but anything you can't

  • is abstract.

  • And because they're not easily understandable through sense experience, abstract ideas are

  • hard to understand and many people think they are useless.

  • This is a huge mistake.

  • Here's a good way I can describe the value of abstract ideas.

  • So imagine someone with a landline at home for phone calls, a tv for entertainment, and

  • a computer for doing research on the internet.

  • All of these cost a certain amount of money and energy to maintain.

  • But this person can actually replace the function of all of these devices with one: the cell

  • phone.

  • The cellphone is more efficient use of time and energy and it can perform the function

  • of the landline, the tv, and the computer, plus much more.

  • Abstract ideas are similar.

  • They replace the function of more basic ideas and make you more efficient with how you spend

  • your time and energy.

  • If you avoid difficult books because they're abstract, you're limiting your own access

  • to more powerful mental tools.

  • So if you avoid difficult books, you are avoiding new and more powerful mental tools.

  • So how do you determine which books to read?

  • In the beginning, I recommend reading the classics.

  • The classics are time-tested tools.

  • They will introduce you to mental tools and concepts that have been effective for people

  • all through out history, which is why they keep being passed down to the next generation.

  • But as you develop your tool kit and your literary tastes, you will develop your own

  • intuition for what you should read next, depending on the problems you're facing and the tools

  • you think you might need.

  • I don't want to convince you to only read classics, because you would miss out on so

  • many new ideas that could be useful and relevant, but at the beginning of your reading journey,

  • you can't really separate the wheat from the chaff on your own, and so reading the

  • classics and becoming acquainted with time-tested tools will help you develop an intuition to

  • discern between good tools and bad ones.

  • One idea I see a lot on YouTube is the idea of speed reading or reading as many books

  • as you can in a year.

  • And here's what I think about that.

  • If speed is your highest value, you will almost certainly sacrifice difficulty and end up

  • choosing easier books.

  • And I already made a case for why you should read difficult books.

  • Speed and difficulty are opposing values.

  • If you read difficult books as I suggest, your reading speed will be very slow, but

  • your mental strength will grow a lot more.

  • On the other hand, the best way to read a lot of books is to read things you're already

  • familiar with, that are short and easy to understand, but if you only read things you're

  • familiar with, you'll never expand your mental toolkit.

  • So maybe I've convinced you, you're ready to start your difficult book regimen, and

  • you want some help on starting.

  • I'm going to link to a list of great books in the description.

  • Read the description for these books, and find ten where the themes of the book overlap

  • with the problems in your own life.

  • And the reason I cut the number off at 10 is to prevent mindless speed-reading and to

  • treat the process more like a weight lifting regimen.

  • We want to keep our reps the same but increase the weight we're lifting at, so we can improve

  • our mental strength.

  • If you read 10 books from the list, I think this will give you a good place to start on

  • obtaining new mental tools.

  • And maybe you won't even get through 10, maybe you'll only get through one, and that's

  • okay, because these are difficult books that take time, and all that matters is that you

  • try to progressively lift heavier.

  • As you read more and more books, you'll start to develop a natural intuition for what

  • you should read next, and at some point, you might even become the creator of a new mental

  • tool.

  • Good luck!

The best way to 10x your intelligence is:

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How to 10x Your Intelligence

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    Summer posted on 2021/02/26
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