The mission is simple - to provoke debate, awaken critical thinking, and to help people break Free of Dumb’, in all its many forms. How? Well, through discussions and thought-pieces that stimulate thinking and debate. We'll discuss aspects of leadership, take look at purpose and branding, how we might navigate the ‘no-normal’, how to uncover facts in a post-truth world that is awash in a sea of fake news and conspiracy theories. Over time we will explore ways to practice critical thinking to form our own conclusions and aid our decision-making. We don't want to try and tell people what to think, we just want to help everyone break free of 'dumb’ in all its many forms. Lee Parkinson is a brand strategist, creative thinker and curious human. He is fascinated with human behaviour - what we actually do, even though it is often quite different from what we say, think, or feel.
12. You can judge the quality of a decision by the success of the outcome…………
Many believe that you can judge the quality of a decision by the success of the outcome…………’
But can you really?’
What if the person making the decision was reckless or had a high propensity for risk-taking, or was a gambler?
And what if the reason there was a successful outcome was mere luck?
What we need to think about is the role the decision or decisions that were made played in the outcome.
What do we know about the biases that may have come into play when a particular decision is being made?
In this episode, we also look at outcome, champion, and experience biases because they can all have a major impact on decision-making.
If you’d like to know more, read ‘You’re about to make a terrible mistake’ by Olivier Sibony.
This is a great journey into understanding how cognitive biases can distort our decision-making processes.
If you really want to improve your own decision-making, the London School of Economics (LSE) run a number of programmes and courses on the science behind decision-making under the leadership of Dr. Barbara Fasilo
11. Thinking's only part of the story - what about deciding?
Think of this episode as the end of the first season, and the beginning of the second season.
We took a winding journey through critical thinking for the first 10 episodes, and the last episode's interview with Carl Davidson seemed a fitting place to wrap that theme up.
That's why the first part of this episode provides a summary and some clear steps to use when adopting critical thinking into our lives.
However, people seem to enjoy what I've been doing and want more.
It's also true that critical thinking is but one part of a much longer journey to try and 'free the world of dumb in all its many forms and manifestations'.
There is a model that says 'first we think, then we decide, and then we do'.
We're going to follow that path and part of the reason for this episode is to introduce the theme for the next season of The Free-Dumb Sessions. Decision-making.
10. Thinking for ourselves. Thinking critically, and why it matters.
I've always been clear that the Free-dumb Sessions' role is to provoke debate, awaken critical thinking, and help people ' break Free of Dumb’, in all its many forms, but what the hell is critical thinking anyway?
How do we sort out the facts from the noise, the meaning from rumor, and the outright lies from the gossip?
At long last, this episode is a conversation with my guest and friend Carl Davidson.
Carl has spent most of his life trying to understand human behavior. His background is in psychology and sociology but he also is very fond of the anthropological approach to understanding others. An academic, a researcher, a policymaker, and - most recently - in the insights industry, he is founder and director at Research First Ltd as well as an adjunct fellow at the University of Canterbury. Carl has written some nine books about research and thinking..
I’ve known Carl for a while, but we really got to know each other during lockdown (while coming together for virtual whiskey tastings - the whiskey was real, but we were socially distancing on Zoom - while tasting)
At last, we have managed to synchronise our schedules to do this episode.
Good conversations deserve some time, so this is another longer episode than normal.
In it, we talk about what critical thinking is, why it is so important to learn, and some tips and tricks to use when trying to sort out the facts from the noise.
Carl mentioned some of his favorite books, websites, blogs, and music tracks.
What follows is a list of some of his faves:
Winnie the Pooh by AE MilneThe Thought Gang By Tibor FisherFriends by Robin DunbarThe Stupidity Paradox: The Power and Pitfalls of Functional Stupidity at Work by Mats Alvesson
INTRODUCTORY BOOKS ABOUT THINKING
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel KahnemanThe Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf DobelliWEBSITES
Arts and Letters Daily
The hidden brain
Bob Hoffman’s The Ad Contrarian
The Rat by The Walkmen
You can contact Carl at:
Carl Davidson - Forever curious
9. Truth, lies and questionable facts.
Most of us pride ourselves on our honesty.
Our businesses love to talk about honesty and integrity
It is important to us. But are we really that honest?
Do we really tell ‘the truth’, and what does that even mean?
Sadly, truth is subjective and what is true for one, may be different for another.
And if that is the case, does the truth matter, and are we all liars?
If you want to find out more about our lack of rationality and decision-making, read
Do You Really Know Why You Do The Things You Do?
If you are inspired to read more about the science behind my bold assertion that truth is subjective, then read and watch,
Here's Why The Truth Really Is Subjective, According to Science
It’s even more depressing because it speaks about ‘cognitive ease’, and how if something is repeated often enough, it becomes ‘the truth’ as people become more familiar with it. So this proves that there is a very thin line between politics and propaganda, and we have a glimpse into why advertising works.
8. The P-word. Purpose. A way to lead a business or just another passing fad?
This episode is a discussion with my guest and friend Nick Leach.
There’s so much talk about ‘Purpose’, but what is it exactly? Is it just a new-age way of window dressing, or does it have the power to transform organisations?
Nick is a passionate leader, who has been in leadership roles for the past 15 years, across, Asia and ANZ. He wrote the book, ‘Leading On Purpose - a guide to creating a purpose-driven culture’ I first got to know Nick about 10 years ago in Wellington, New Zealand, when he was leading a team doing some unique work to help people living with autoimmune diseases.
In a much longer episode than normal, we’ll talk about why it is so important to embrace the idea of organisational purpose, purposeful teams, and leading with purpose.
If you want to get Nick’s book, ‘Leading On Purpose - a guide to creating a purpose-driven culture’ you can purchase it through Amazon (physical book)
Or, if you prefer to listen, you can get it here:
If you want to contact Nick directly, his website is:
7. Part 2 of Sticks and Stones - responding to listener feedback
While we seem to agree that words matter, are people really getting taken in by the media?
Are we really that dumb?
The power of 'framing'. Can the mere substitution of a single verb make a noticeable difference in meaning?
What implications does this have for police and legal cases?
What has anything covered so far in the Free-dumb Sessions got to do with critical thinking?
You can read more about Loftus and Palmer’s Reconstruction of Automobile Destruction (1974) study, the impact of verb choices, and some of the other repercussions relating to participant ‘recall’ (confabulation) here https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1975-04498-001