Welcome to the Readers’ Corner, a meeting place for sharing ideas about thinking. Participation is intended to be thought provoking, helpful, and enjoyable. In addition to readers’ comments and author observations new Think Keys will be posted occasionally. So please visit often.

Curious to know what you think.

I’d like to learn about your experiences reading Unlocked. If they might be helpful to others, I will ask for your permission before sharing them.
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Many people have requested more reading about “Information Dodgeball” (available below). “A Nation of Strangers” provides further background describing my concerns about the topic and how to address it. Your feedback and other observations are welcomed.

A Nation of Strangers

This essay comment by Professor Manjit Yadav, Texas A&M University, on the importance of handling differences is used with permission:

“I’m a firm believer that a social system is enriched by differences. How a social system handles such differences reflects its underlying potential to stay vibrant over the long term.” - Prof. Manjit Yadav

Below is an instructive response to “A Nation of Strangers” from an eminent leader in marketing management. Presented here with permission:

"This thought provoking think piece is very timely in light of or our social discourse. During my career with The Coca-Cola Company I was afforded an opportunity to invest company time and resource in "learning how to learn". It was this quest that brought OZA and me together. Coke created a department called the "Learning Consortium" to help increase our personal capacity to learn. Much of their work was based on Peter Senge's 'Fifth Discipline'. We benefited from coaching by Tim Galloway who wrote "The Inner Voice" Series, and Stephen Covey's leadership principles. So, I learned the value of curiosity. I learned that we all have a sphere of knowledge where we comprehensively 'know what we know', and a larger sphere of comprehensive knowledge of 'what we know we don't know'... and an open ended parabola of space where we simply 'don't know enough to know what we don't know'.

Part of this learning involved productive conversation and taking the time to understand what a person you are talking to is saying, and what is their fact base... and walking down the ladder to clarify what facts or precepts they are drawing from... and them progressing into discussion. I learned over these past few decades how little I really do know. And I have a perspective how knowledge can be obtained if we simply recognize there are facts somewhere and our mental models are a powerful screening tool. Recognizing our mental models and opening them up is “learningful” in itself.

I found the questions and thought points in this piece to be very instructive and useful. Thanks for sharing as it adds another layer of learning how to learn... be curious."
- Charlie Frenette

More insightful commentary from our readers:

"The polarisation you observe in the US is just as toxic in the UK and appears to be getting worse. One feature of this seems to be the practice of labelling rather than arguing. If I can get away with suggesting that my opponent is on the alt right (for example), then there is no need for me to even engage in discourse with him; all of his opinions and arguments become instantly invalidated. … I do wonder the extent to which social media has changed the game. It's given anyone and everyone a voice, which I guess is good, however what that also means is that it's more likely that those less able to see issues as nuanced and complex (as most are) are drawn towards supporting one tribe or another as a shorthand for critical thinking. It's interesting that even in the comments sections on the newspapers I read (which are a form of social media), there are a few individuals putting across different and interesting perspectives, but most are either cheerleaders or hecklers."
- Richard Smith, Cappuccino Research, UK. Used with permission.

"Your current essay “A Nation of Strangers,” is very on point. It introduces and encourages each individual to keep an open mind and to welcome challenges to one’s own ideas and beliefs. There are far too few voices calling for such a thoughtful, constructive and civil approach to our interactions with our fellow citizens. Well done."
- Charles J. Petredis. Used here with permission.

This new Think Key is in response to reader interest. The new Think Keys will help readers stay engaged in learning how they think and can improve the process. Other exercises will appear from time to time and be numbered sequentially following those in Unlocked.
Think Key 40:

Information Dodgeball