Michael Shermer on Why We Should Be Skeptics

This episode is sponsored by altMBA.

This episode is sponsored by altMBA.

Are you a believer or a skeptic? Maybe you’re a cynic. A professional skeptic, Michael Shermer says belief is nuanced and situational. SUCCESS Editor-in-Chief Josh Ellis and Shermer sit down to discuss his latest book, Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye, why skepticism doesn’t come naturally and why absolute truths are dangerous—believe it or not.

This interview appears on the SUCCESS Talks Collection, available in the July 2017 edition of SUCCESS magazine.

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  • Shermer says people believe skepticism is black-and-white. Either you’re a skeptic or you believe everything. Learn about the different levels of skepticism and when they’re appropriate in different situations.
  • The moment you comprehend something, you believe it. Skepticism requires an extra step to doubt and challenge that belief. Learn how to take that step and when you should.
  • Hear how comfirmation bias affects more than just your political beliefs and your Facebook newsfeed.

Favorite quote from this episode:

“Skepticism doesn’t come natural. It takes extra effort. It isn’t pleasant. I would much rather believe lots of things about the world. I wish the world was simpler, and not as complicated, and the economy, and politics in ideology, and war, and international relations. These things are messy and it would be much easier to just believe something simple. And this is why fake news sells so well.”

—Michael Shermer

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  • Thanks to altMBA for sponsoring SUCCESS Talks. altMBA is now accepting applications. To find out more, visit altmba.com/successtalks. For special consideration, mention this podcast in your application and tell them SUCCESS sent you!


SUCCESS Talks, the popular audio program included every month in SUCCESS magazine, is now available as a weekly podcast. We feature fascinating interviews with prominent business, creative and thought leaders such as Tony Robbins, Richard Branson, Tim Ferriss and Barbara Corcoran, and include key takeaways designed to help you put information into action.

Catch up on all individual episodes at SUCCESS.com/SUCCESSTalks or download the monthly SUCCESS Talks Collection with your magazine subscription.


Josh Ellis is the former editor in chief for SUCCESS magazine. Before joining SUCCESS in 2012, he was an accomplished digital and print sportswriter, working for the Dallas Cowboys Star magazine, the team’s gameday program, and DallasCowboys.com. Originally from Longview, Texas, he began writing for his hometown newspaper at 16.

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