This is the penultimate draft of a paper for inclusion in:

Justin Tiwald, ed., Oxford Handbook of Chinese Philosophy (long forthcoming by Oxford University Press)

[Draft dated 10 October 2017]

A dominant trend in moral psychology evinces a renewed appreciation for the powerful role played by unconscious, automatic mental processes in producing ethical judgments. This new perspective marks a sharp break from traditional, “rationalist” approaches, in which moral evaluations derive from conscious reasoning and moral cultivation reflects an improved ability to articulate sound reasons for such evaluations. Seldom noticed is that similar attention to automatic, unconscious processing forms the foundation…


52+ Books on What School Should Have Taught Us About the Art and Science of Success, Fulfillment, and Achievement

Many people have asked me for a list of recommended readings. So here you go.

If you’d like to read a book a week, you’re in luck because I’ve listed over 52 books here. I’ve also organised the list into 12 categories for those who only have time to read a book a month. Each month, you can pick a book from each category.

This list is being used in conjunction with a Reading Challenge, which is conducted inside the private DTPHD Podcast Facebook group here (sign in and request to join).

I don’t recommend that you read more than…


“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” — Zig Ziglar

This is my take on a great principle from Zig.

In modern capitalism, for the most part, you can get all the money you want if you can help more people get more of that THEY want.

Sure, at the extremes, there are exceptions, like outliers, free riders, cheaters, etc. But they’re the exceptions that prove the rule.

How capitalism works is that if you want more money, then you have to bring more value to more…


People aren’t generally lazy. They simply aren’t motivated to do the thing they’re trying to force themselves to do. Understanding WHY they’re unmotivated is the only way forward.

On YouTube, compilation videos about “motivation” are really popular. When you first hear a rousing speech asking, “How bad do you want it?” paired with inspiring workout footage… you get all pumped to crush the day.

After several repeats of that video, the effect wears off, and you have to search for new inspirational videos. …


If you’re waiting until it’s perfect, don’t. Good enough is good enough

Every time I waited until I thought it was perfect — to take action, publish, launch, or ship — it never turned out to be perfect anyway :/

Even worse, I missed valuable opportunities because I was wasting time.

All the extra time I spent going from “good enough” to (what I thought was) “perfect” only made it marginally better, and sometimes made it worse.

Like, if it took 20 units of time to get it to 85% good, it would take 100 more units of time before…


“Those who know but do not act simply do not yet know.”
— Wang Yangming (1472–1529)

For centuries, Western philosophy has perpetuated one of Descartes’ errors: the false presupposition that we are led largely by our conscious reasoning.

In fact, as wise teachers in ancient traditions have known and psychologists in the past several decades have shown, we are largely ruled by our unconscious judgments and unconscious automatic processes, while our conscious reasoning serves as a rationalisation tool for our unconscious decisions. (Note: I’ve gone into more detail about this in longer essays.)

Once you understand and appreciate the central…


In the current culture of victimisation, extremist feminism, and casual man-hating, people tend to forget that not too long ago, Fifty Shades of Grey surpassed Harry Potter to become the fastest selling paperback in history. It’s also the fifth bestselling book in history. The other two books in the Fifty Shades trilogy came in at 11th and 14th bestselling of all time.

Not too shabby considering the target market of Fifty Shades is only half the population, yet it dominates the all time bestsellers lists.

That’s a lot of BDSM fantasy reading.

But that’s all in the shadows.

Back on…


NOTE: This is the second of two essays originally to be included in a volume published by Columbia University Press in 2018. However, a feminist academic was offended by (her perception of) my past. So the volume editors pulled my papers from the volume just before it went to the printers. Alas.

Now you can access it for free here in Medium! (Ironically, more people will probably read it now.) Enjoy!

And if you like this essay, please clap below and subscribe — as a writer, it means the world. Also, follow me on my new Instagram! :)

The biggest blindspot of modern philosophy is the willful refusal to appreciate the unconscious.

Oneness, the…


Change. That’s a necessary sign of progress, growth, maturity, learning, evolution.

This includes changing your mind.

It’s astounding how much my views and beliefs about foundational issues — like love, the good, and the meaning of life — have evolved over the years.

A total change — even just within the past few years, let alone a decade ago.

I’d prefer to keep all my old posts and content, dating back over a decade, up online.

Sort of like keeping your old photos up on Facebook to look back on from time to time just to remind yourself how far…


NOTE: This is one of two essays originally to be included in a volume published by Columbia University Press in 2018. However, a feminist academic was offended by (her perception of) my past. So the volume editors pulled my papers from the volume just before it went to the printers. Alas.

Now you can access it for free here in Medium! (Ironically, it will probably be read by more people now.) Enjoy!

And if you like this essay, please clap below and subscribe — as a writer, it means the world. Also, follow me on my new Instagram! :)

Do psychopaths make better philosophers?

Philosophy…

David Tian, Ph.D.

David Tian is a speaker, author, global educator, and specialist in human behavior, philosophy, and psychology. Former dating coach and university professor.

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