Why Academics Love to Publish Their Ideas in Books

book-pile

Because by all their narrative they try to prepare the ground for an irrational case. But, rationality, on the contrary, strips all superfluous words.

Narrated stories promote subconscious judgments. Sometimes such stories hardly bear reference to the case in question, so they hardly support the case in a rational way. They do so irrationally, though. The mechanism is like hypnosis. In hypnosis, critical thinking is turned off, which allows to fill the memory with “facts” that never were seriously scrutinized. These so infused facts on a subconscious level influence judgment, promote irrationally.

Narrated stories stray from the main case. Stories in the way the authors put them seem to support the case. However, all these little stories can be rationalized in different ways that support the opposite case. In fact, one is tempted to counter the narratives, to put the facts straight, and to make the explanation more succinct. As those stories raise additional points of contention, they work like red herrings. They provide topics a discussion can be easily locked in while keeping the main argument safe and untouched.

Examples.

Ian Morris [1] narrates stories about war. His point is always that war is terrible but the time after it is more peaceful and progressive. The question that he didn’t touch is do exist other reasons for peace and prosperity after a war? Unfortunately, after a couple of pages of lulling details only few people raise that question.

Andy McNab and Kevin Dutton [2] start their case with a story about a goatherd, an innocent young boy, who has to be killed because he accidentally watched a secret operation in order to not jeopardize the entire mission. The questions that remain unanswered in this book are was it really necessary or existed other ways to save the mission, and was the mission really worth it.

Though I admit that not all scientific novelty can be put on twitter, and some elaborate scientific theories need books to be understood, this is not true for books that support a single argument, in particular if coupled with extensive story telling.

[1] Morris, Ian. 2014. War! What Is It Good For?: Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

[2] McNab, Andy, and Kevin Dutton. 2014. The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success. Bantam Press.


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Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.