Prometheus Books, $19.00, 398 pages
DiCarlo’s How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass begins with a good premise: how do you create more compelling and accurate arguments given that we all have various beliefs? DiCarlo wants the reader to consider that what we believe definitely affects how we behave. The book revolves around five important questions that DiCarlo refers to as the “Big Five.” He believes that how we answer the “Big Five” questions influences how we answer all other questions in life.
The book is divided into three parts: the tools of critical thinking, famous critical thinkers in history, and answering the “Big Five” using the tools and historical figures from parts one and two. It sounds pretty straightforward, but DiCarlo then involves the supernatural, science, and other influences. If you just want a process or approach that could be applied to various situations, this book doesn’t deliver, as it is too detailed and historical. One section that is easier to connect with is exploring bias. DiCarlo gives examples of how culture, family, and many other influences filter what we perceive. He also offers a worksheet so that readers can contemplate and write down their own bias which helps readers acknowledge why they think and act the way they do.