A letter from a reader

 
Dear Dr. Epstein:
 
I don't know if you remember me at all, or if it might have been your publisher who was writing
on your behalf, but I was a prisoner in Utah who received your 1st edition book and workbook on
critical thinking. I want to explain to you how it changed my life, and how it has created some
impact. And I want you to feel free to give it to publishing people if it helps. But this is personally 
directed at you.
 
I was able to reason out my sense of spiritual need, and why religion just wasn't working for me
on that end of things. As it turned out, I wound up deeply-involved in several religions because of
my wanting to make sure that I wasn't simply overlooking something. I had a personal experience
which I view as personally-valid, even if not necessarily acceptable to anyone else (since they
didn't share my personal experience).
 
I successfully completed my parole from prison on the first try. I was able to reason why law was
important (based on societal expectations, rather than on ideas of right or wrong which were
difficult for me to accept because of my general rejection of civil authority at the time).
 
I got a job because my critical thinking skills, combined with my experience in the criminal world,
allowed me to see through several confidence games, and not to be suckered. The clarity of
thought offered by your course was fundamental to my success in the job interview. I taught some
of your critical thinking techniques to law enforcement officers (including one who was apparently
a member of the Secret Service), who were all impressed with my ability to reveal the falsehoods
that people said all the time. And though I didn't keep that job, it was very rewarding to finally feel
as though I was a member of society again. And this experience also allowed me to understand a
lot about how the law works, and to accept the rule of law again as important.
 
In addition, I have become clergy and have truly found a calling in helping people to analyze their
own experiences and feelings, resulting in people who are more whole and capable of dealing with
the world (and at least two of these people are qualified scientists, and that they can maintain faith
without being unreasonable is something they both have flatly told me is my doing, above anyone
else's).
 
. . .
 
Thank you so much for your positively excellent books. I have passed them on to a young student
of the clergy, in the hope that they will understand that they shouldn't simply believe something
because someone tells them so: personal experience should be a requirement, too. And then,
because I needed the reference materials, I've picked up a copy of the 3rd ed. from a local used
book store.
 
I think your Critical Thinking books are among the easiest to comprehend, and get a lot of
knowledge into the mind in a short time. Such efficiency is surely a desirable trait in a textbook! It
is also "practicing what you preach" in that the continuity flows to each topic in a natural way. If
anyone ever asked me, I would recommend them more highly than most that I've read.
I owe the foundation of my rehabilitation to critical thinking. Your books in particular were, I feel,
instrumental in this regard. That I am clergy is something of a mystery in itself, but it just
happened to be where I landed. And what a strange trip it's been.
 
Thank you again. I thoroughly enjoy passing the knowledge of reasonability along. If you ever put
another edition out, feel free to add me to the notification list: I will gladly pick up a new copy.
 
-Ray Jenson

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