Being a bookworm I got asked this question: â€œWhat do you do if the book youâ€™re reading has the wrong perspective? How do I choose the right one?â€
This is why you should strive to read broadly about a subject.
For example, my main interest is creativity. Iâ€™ve probably read 50+ books on the subject. Even with the most competent writerâ€™s you can find faults, flaws, and sometimes even outright lies.
Had I just read one book on the subject I wouldâ€™ve had a skewed perception and understanding about the subject.
Itâ€™s the same thing news. If you want the full story about a military coup in some foreign country then maybe relying on a single source (especially if itâ€™s of questionable quality) isnâ€™t the best approach. You might have to read several articles, do some research about the incident yourself, perhaps even read a book or watch a documentary about the history of the country.
Now, if you do this for every single piece of information you come across then you might become paralyzed and not trust anything. Being critical of information and sources is a good thing. We shouldnâ€™t simply take things at face value. But we should be able to operate under uncertainty as well.
Your question is how to choose the â€œrightâ€ book to read. That requires some research.
Hereâ€™s what I usually do:
- I find a book or subject I find interesting.
- I check the authorâ€™s credentials/interviews on YouTube. If itâ€™s their first outing and/or the subjects just too interesting to pass up then Iâ€™m willing to give them a chance anyway.
- I read the book and make notes about other books or research that are referenced in the book and read them as well if I can find them.
You could go by reviews and read 3 of the top rated books. But that only shows how popular a book is. Maybe the â€œtruthâ€ isnâ€™t that popular depending on your subject of choice, and that would mean that the â€œrightâ€ book isnâ€™t going to be at the top of the category.
You could look up the authorsâ€™ credentials. Once you find books that seems reliable you should check what other books they reference and read them as well. Maybe the author misunderstood something in the original text, perhaps you find that the original text is flawed, or perhaps it references another book itself.
The question is how deep the rabbit hole you want to go.
Another approach is to just read and reflect on it yourself. Talk with other people and when you find information that contradicts or supplements what youâ€™ve read then adjust your standing on the issue.
The fact that you were wrong or mistaken about something doesnâ€™t necessarily mean that youâ€™re stupid or gullible. It just means that you were given bad information at some point and operated under the assumption that it was good. What would be stupid would be to continue to believe it and reject any contrary information just to feel like you’re â€œrightâ€.
What this question boils down to is that humans have a natural desire for certainty. Hereâ€™s the thing, there is no such thing as absolute certainty.
Let go of the fear of being wrong, accept that while you can take every precaution to avoid it, youâ€™ll never be 100% immune to it.
Read and learn. And when you find yourself being wrong, adapt.