• Holly Muir

A list of the most valuable content we created in 2021.

In 2021, we created a lot of new content aimed at genuinely improving our followers’ lives. Here, we highlight what we think is our most valuable work from the last year, including six new, interactive tools, five of our most popular articles, and some of our most listened to podcast episodes.



Best of 2021: Clearer Thinking Educational Modules


Over the last 12 months, we released some of our most in-depth research yet, including research into the psychology of gender, positive behavior change, and philosophical intuitions. Specifically, we launched the six following free, interactive modules designed to help you examine your beliefs, learn what makes you happy, and develop new positive habits.


  1. Change Behavior for the Better - this is an interactive companion to our original behavior change framework, the Ten Conditions for Change. You can use the tool to adopt a new positive behavior in your own life, or plan a behavior change that will improve the lives of other people. As well as receiving a customized behavior change plan after completing the module, you’ll get access to a downloadable worksheet for tracking your progress.

  2. Achieve Your Goals - we have several goal-achievement tools on our site, and this is our most comprehensive to date. It’s ideal if you’re not sure where to start with your long-term aspirations, want to build a detailed goal-achievement strategy, or want to find a way to track your progress towards your goals over weeks or months.

  3. Boost Your Productivity - a personal productivity toolkit for those who care about improving their work output. Using a productivity formula based around time, efficiency, and value, this tool helps you target the aspect of your productivity that you most need to work on and provides you with tested advice on how to do so.

  4. The Gender Continuum Test - this unique quiz attempts to predict your gender based on your self-reported personality traits, while sharing many empirical insights about gender and personality along the way. Alongside a comprehensive analysis of your own personality, this test takes you on a deep-dive into the competing theories of gender difference and explains a number of empirical results that may surprise you!

  5. Learn Your Philosophical Beliefs - a collaboration with two academics, David B. Yaden and Derek Anderson, this quiz walks you through classic philosophical puzzles and shows you how your intuitions on these perennial questions compare with professional philosophers. It also examines whether your psychological traits can predict which philosophical beliefs you hold.

  6. Your Greatest Sources of Pleasure - this quick, fun quiz helps you identify the areas of your life where you find the most pleasure, satisfaction, and enjoyment and walks you through a reflective exercise to figure out how you can generate more of these moments! You’ll also learn how you compare to other people in the U.S. in terms of which activities you find most joyful.


Best of 2021: Top Episodes of the Clearer Thinking Podcast


Our podcast, Clearer Thinking with Spencer Greenberg, has now been running for over a year! We released 85 episodes so far, and plan to continue having deep and educational conversations with fascinating people throughout 2022. Here are six of our most popular episodes:


  1. Tyler's three laws and twelve rules with Tyler Cowen

  2. Scout and Soldier Mindsets with Julia Galef

  3. Beyond cognitive biases: improving judgment by reducing noise with Daniel Kahneman

  4. Why do civilizations collapse? And is ours next? (with Samo Burja)

  5. Crypto Pros and Cons with billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried

  6. An interview with an A.I. (with GPT-3 and Jeremy Nixon)


Best of 2021: Our Top Articles about Concepts, Frameworks and Toolkits to Understand the World


Additionally, we wrote several in-depth articles for our newsletter and blog on a number of topics. We’ve included our top five here.


  1. Human behavior makes more sense when you understand "Anchor Beliefs." - an introduction to Anchor Beliefs, those beliefs we hold that are so fundamental to our worldview that they feel like undeniable truths. We explain how Anchor Beliefs differ from other kinds of beliefs, what makes them so hard to change, and what can be valuable (albeit dangerous) about considering whether they are actually true.

  2. How to achieve self-control without “self-control” - a comprehensive exploration of what self-control actually means and how it can be mastered. We define nine traits typically associated with “self-control,” examine why some people might possess more of this trait than others, and provide a list of strategies and a plan for generating these traits in yourself.

  3. Choose a fulfilling life path using these 5 exercises from "Designing Your Life" - a step-by-step guide for intentionally deciding what to do with your life, no matter how far along you are through it. Based on the popular book written by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, this life-design framework aims to help anyone who is motivated to build a meaningful life and has big-picture uncertainties about what they should be doing.

  4. Understanding the Divide Between Social Justice Advocates and the Left-Leaning "Anti-Woke" Community - written in preparation for our podcast on this topic, this article features a breakdown of two apparently conflicting perspectives in U.S. society: those who advocate for the social justice movement, and the newly emerging left-of-center "anti-woke" movement (i.e., liberal-leaning people who tend to oppose identity politics, cancel culture, and critical race theory). We try to “steelman” each position and figure out where they genuinely disagree.

  5. The 10 Most Important Components of Self-Compassion - inspired by Dr Kristen Neff’s work on this subject, we put together a list of 10 practices that we think make up a truly self-compassionate mindset. You may find this article helpful if you sometimes struggle to be kind towards yourself!


What’s to Come in 2022?


We started the second iteration of the Clearer Thinking Micro Grants program, which funds the creation of new educational modules on critical thinking topics by talented individuals. Much like last year, we’ve been greatly inspired by the dedication of our selected applicants and we’re excited to show you their work!


Look out for these programs in 2022. We’ll also be conducting more of our own research into self-limiting beliefs, developing personal principles, self-compassion, and friendship.


Thanks for sticking with us through 2021! We hope that our content helped you think better, understand yourself more deeply, and made it easier to take action towards your goals. If you liked what we did and would like to see more of it in 2022, or have suggestions on how we can improve in the coming year, please get in touch to let us know!