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Julia Galef (born 4 July 1983) is an American author and podcaster. She is the co-founder and former president of the Center for Applied Rationality, the host of the Rationally Speaking podcast, and the author of The Scout Mindset.


Galef studied statistics at Columbia University. After completing her studies, she worked as a freelance journalist for various publications.[1] In 2012, she co-founded the Center for Applied Rationality,[2] and served as that organization's president until 2016.[3]

Rationally Speaking

In 2010, Galef and her co-host Massimo Pigliucci launched Rationally Speaking, a podcast about rationality, skepticism, and other topics. In 2015, Pigliucci left, and Galef became the podcast's sole host and producer.[4]

Past guests of the show include Bryan Caplan,[5][6][7] Tyler Cowen,[8] Robin Hanson,[9] Holden Karnofsky,[10] William MacAskill,[11] Dylan Matthews,[12][13] Toby Ord,[14] Kelsey Piper,[15][16] Anders Sandberg,[17] Peter Singer,[18] and Philip Tetlock.[19]

The Scout Mindset

In 2021, Galef published her first book, The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t .

The book's title refers to a trait, common among people with good judgment, which Galef defines as "the motivation to see things as they are, not as you wish they were."[20] Galef contrasts this scout mindset to a soldier mindset. Unlike scouts, who seek out evidence that improves the accuracy of their beliefs and treat being wrong as an opportunity to revise their model of the world, soldiers seek out evidence that confirms their existing beliefs and treat being wrong as a humiliating defeat.[21]

The Scout Mindset has received praise from Philip Tetlock,[22] Scott Alexander,[23] and Dylan Matthews,[24] among others.

The organization 80,000 Hours has cited Galef as an example of a highly successful career in advocacy for improved institutional decision-making.[25]


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