10 Commandments for Critical Thinking

Originally published on Social Science Space

Thou shalt think critically.

That’s the takeaway messages in a new set of 10 commandments, this one from Tom Chatfield, author of the newly released Critical Thinking: Your Guide to Effective Argument, Successful Analysis and Independent Study.

In the collection of videos below, Chatfield eschews the biblical but embraces the practical as he gives specific guidance for training your brain to think critically. In a digital era delivering rivers of information awash in ‘fake news,’ the significance and sheer volume of this information make the question of how we engage with it a vital one.

Chatfield, a former visiting associate at the Oxford Internet Institute, is currently technology and media advisor at Agathos LLP; a faculty member at London’s School of Life; and a senior expert at the Global Governance Institute. He is a regular on the BBC online and broadcast, and has written six books since 2010 exploring digital culture such as Live This Book!, How to Thrive in the Digital Age and Netymology. Critical Thinking, which Social Science Space parent SAGE Publishing has just released, was his seventh. Chatfield also plays jazz piano and by his own admission “drinks too much coffee.”

Interested in join the debate online? Follow #talkcriticalthinking and check out a <sample chapter from Critical Thinking here. And be sure to listen to Chatfield’s recent interview for Social Science Bites here.


  1. First and Foremost, Slow Down

  1. Conserve Mental Energy

  1. If In Doubt, Wait

  1. Know Your Limits


  1. Beware Sunk Costs


  1. Judge Strategies, Not Results


  1. Most Things Revert to the Mean


  1. Seek Refutation Over Confirmation


  1. Beware of Your Frames of Reference


  1. Every Single Option Can Be Wrong

Interested in more insights on how to enhance your critical thinking skills? Join Tom Chatfield and University of Toronto professor Mark Kingwell for a conversation on critical thinking, why it’s the most valuable skill people need today, and how to develop it. The webinar starts at 11 a.m. EST/4 p.m. GMT on Wednesday, January 17. To RSVP, visit here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6330391304787240962

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