Sammy Greene learns to argue better (she hopes)

As many of you know from reading about me in Dead Air and Devil Wind, I graduated college a few years ago and have been working in Los Angeles at a small progressive talk radio station. To me this is an ideal forum for public dialogue and a vehicle for change. But it can be frustrating when I can’t get through to some of the people who call into my show Sammy Greene on the LA Scene.

Recently I started hearing about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) – free university level courses taught by the best professors from the best schools. As  someone who considers herself a lifelong learner, I decided to check out one recommended to me called Coursera.org. I signed up for a course in critical thinking called Think Again: How to Reason and Argue jointly taught by Duke (Walter Sinnot-Armstrong) and UNC (Ram Netta).

I have to say- not only are both profs entertaining, they have really educated me about the power of critical thinking. And they’ve taught me to understand that you can present an argument for which every premise if absolutely true and in which every conceivable flaw in your argument can be negated and still not persuade everyone in the audience. Unfortunately, there are those (not among most of my listeners, thank goodness) who either misunderstand the argument presented or just blindly choose to believe the opposite of a premise in the face of facts.

As one of the students taking the course wrote in a discussion forum: “Human beings are not always logical. They don’t always believe scientifically proven cause and effect. Religious and cultural beliefs can be too hard to overcome. Even the best arguments have disbelievers.”

I get it now. A valid, strong and sound argument in and of itself may never persuade or convert someone to adopt a different way of thinking.

What a strong argument should do is communicate a point of view clearly and logically, providing reasons (evidence) to support the conclusion (s).

We all need to be more open-minded.

Anyone who blindly refutes an idea is not engaging in an intellectually honest exchange (you know who you are).

By taking this course, I’m learning to construct better, more thoughtful arguments. I know not everyone is going to  agree with me, but I hope they will be willing to hear and consider what I have to say. And I am listening much more intently to others views.

So thank you, Drs. Sinnott-Armstrong and Neta. For those of you, interested in this course, I hope it will be taught again. Look for it!!

– Sammy

Advertisements

Preppers surge, replacing Y2K survivalist movement

Everyone should read Emily Matchar’s piece on “preppers“, the newest version of survivalists. According to her article, the end-times movement which had been relatively quiet since 1999’s Y2K freak-out (READ: DEVIL WIND to learn more about that), has resurged in the last three years as more and more people feel the social stresses brought on by globalization and the economic downturn. My question to all of you:  is this really the answer to our problems – build individual shelters, stock them with food and guns and bulletproof perimeters to keep out our neighbors when times get tough? Is an “every-man-for-himself” really the kind of America we want to live in? Not me. But  your thoughts are appreciated.

-Sammy

Sammy Greene series adds Mensa award to long list of prizes!

This has been a wonderful year for both Sammy Greene thrillers! The first in the series, “Dead Air” just recently won First Place in the Royal Palm Literary Award from the Florida Writers Association, First Place USA Best Books (thriller), and the Silver Medal President’s Award from the Florida Publisher’s Association. It also won an IPPY Award from Independent Publishers. “Devil Wind”, the second the the series just became a finalist for the Mensa Sharp Writ Award. It  also won First Place in the Royal Palm Literary Award, was a Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and won First Place for the Audiobook version from the Hollywood Book Festival.

My creators (Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid)  are very grateful for these accolades. Me? I’m delighted, of course. But I’m not surprised. Deborah and Linda made my adventures the kind of page turners that keep readers up at night. If you don’t believe me, buy the books and drop me a note. Oh and BTW, “Dead Air” is FREE on Kindle until the end of December. Great Hanukah or Christmas gift!

Enjoy!

-Sammy

Devil Wind by Deborah Shlian & Linda Reid wins 2011 Royal Palm Literary Award!

Congrats to my creators, Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid for another great win. Last year the team’s novel Dead Air won First Place, Best Thriller for the Royal Palm Literary award sponsored by the Florida Writers Association. Now the second in the Sammy Greene series, Devil Wind, has won the 2011 Royal Palm Literary award for Best Thriller. Way to go, guys!

So for those of you who haven’t read book #1 (Dead Air) or book #2 (Devil Wind), you’re in for a treat. And of course, I’m the star of both stories.

Thanks!

-Sammy

RPLA

Book Clubs: 5 more days to win free books

Check out this month’s newsletter from ShlianBooks. Book clubs interested in reading “Rabbit in the Moon”, “Wednesday’s Child” or “Double Illusion” by Deborah and Joel Shlian or one of the two Sammy Greene novels (“Dead Air” or “Devil Wind” by Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid) can win free books for their book clubs as well as an appearance by the authors via Skype (a personal appearance if in the South Florida region). Just click on this LINK and enter the contest!!! And while you’re at it, sign up for the newsletter. There are contests almost every month.

Sammy

Devil Wind by Deborah Shlian & Linda Reid is Finalist for the 2011 Royal Palm Literary Award!!

Just announced today: Devil Wind is a Finalist for this year’s Royal Palm Literary Award from the Florida Writers Association. Winners will be honored at the October Florida Writers Association meeting in Orlando.  I couldn’t be more excited for my creators: Linda Reid and Deborah Shlian. Last year, Dead Air, the first in their series about me, won First Place in the Thriller category. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they win this year too. But as they say in Hollywood, “just to be a finalist is an honor in itself”.

Sammy  

Come on Down! To the Long Beach Barnes and Noble to Enjoy Devil Wind!

Can’t wait to see the photos from the  Hollywood Book Awards Ceremony where Devil Wind is the prize winning audiobook.  Ben Matchar will be standing in for Deborah Shlian, and Linda Reid and Barbara Whitesides will join him to celebrate Devil Wind’s success.  Then, on Sunday July 24th, Linda Reid will be at the Long Beach Barnes and Noble from 11 am to 8 pm to meet Devil Wind readers in person.  Linda will be doing a reading at 1:30 pm from Devil Wind–please come and join her and several other Greater Los Angeles Writers Society writers!

GLAWS_Print_Flyer_0711_    Join us at the Long Beach Barnes and Noble

Previous Older Entries