So You Want to Be a Critical Thinker: A Crash Course

Critical thinking is not simply mistrusting authorities or “following the money”

A group of oranges are piled on top of each other and one is cut open. It’s a sickly shade of purple.
Photo by Gala Rodriguez on Unsplash. Editing by Natasha Coulis.


I accidentally wrote a mini-book here. I meant to write an essay of sorts for people I care for, people who haven’t had the access I’ve had to university studies on critical thinking or who haven’t read the books I’ve read. But understanding why it’s “critical” to social health and progress for people to have critical thinking skills, and understanding what these skills are, takes up entire university courses for a reason.

Medium isn’t really the medium for small books—even if they can be read in under an hour, which this can (in theory). I considered compiling this as an eBook and selling it. After all, this is about five days of labour, plus many years of study.

But that would reduce access and I feel strongly that many people need this information and they need it written in a conversational, non-academic, and compassionate manner. The resources I can find might be intimidating to people who lack an academic vocabulary or patience for reading dry material.

I also considered publishing this in several posts, over a week’s span, but I’d prefer to leave it organized in one location, especially since there’s a paywall with my Medium posts where you can only read five posts a month without a paid membership.

Instead, I’ll list the short “chapters” and you can skip to what immediately grabs your interest. When you link to it to share with friends and family, you might want to specify which chapters you think they’d most like to (need to?) read.

If you find this to be useful to you, please do consider paying this writer for her labour through a tip at an amount of your own discretion. Or, at least share this somewhere so it can find its intended audience. In an era of enormous misinformation, confusion, and polarization shutting down any useful social discourse, I do really hope this finds its audience. I hope it’s the first step in a journey for some, where they trade alarm for reassurance, suspicion for empowered open-mindedness, and biases for data.

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Natasha Coulis, Strategy-minded non-fiction writer

How to strategically survive and thrive in a high-conflict, low-trust world. Focus: Critical thinking, relationships, politics, relationships, motherhood.