Do you want to improve your scientific thinking and communication skills? This Neil deGrasse Tyson Masterclass review explains what you’ll learn and if it’s worth it.
I've been following Neil deGrasse Tyson after seeing his thought-provoking videos online. His ideas and way of thinking are unique and interesting. So when I found out he has a 2 hour Masterclass, I had to give it a shot.
I've spent the last few days watching his video lessons, and they're a helpful tool for opening your mind. I now look at the world through a different lens. In this review, I'll go through what I've learned, how much it costs, and the pros and cons of Neil deGrasse Tyson's Masterclass.
Let's dive in!
Who Is Neil deGrasse Tyson And Why Should You Take His Masterclass?
You've probably seen a thousand videos of him on the internet talking about the universe, black holes, and other complex topics. But who is he?
Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American planetary scientist, astrophysicist, author, and communicator. Born in New York on October 5, 1958, Tyson visited the sky theater of the Hayden Planetarium at age 9 and developed a passion for astronomy.
He said, “The night sky was so strong that I had no choice in the matter. The universe called me.”
Tyson took astronomy lessons throughout high school and was already giving lectures to hundreds of people by age 15. This was when he started looking up to legendary astronomers like Carl Sagan.
He decided to study for a few more years and earned his MPhil degree in 1989 and Ph.D. in astrophysics in 1991.
You might recognize some of his bestselling books like;
After graduating high school, Tyson attended Harvard and majored in physics. He also mentions that his hobbies were jazz, wrestling, ballet, and ballroom dancing. In 1980, he received a BA in astronomy and an MA degree in 1983.
- Accessory to War
- Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
- Death by Black Hole
If you’re interested in writing your own bestselling book, consider taking Masterclasses from instructors like;
In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Tyson to serve on The Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry. He also received awards like:
- The 10 Most Influential People In Science in 2008
- Cosmos Award in 2015
- Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication in 2017
He appeared on famous podcasts like the Joe Rogan Experience and hosts his own podcast called StarTalk.
In this Masterclass, Neil deGrasse Tyson teaches scientific thinking, critical thinking, and communication. Who can do this better than a scientist that's been on the front lines of discovery for decades? Even if you're not into science, this Masterclass can help you separate fact from fiction.
Who Is This Masterclass For?
If you're eager to learn about what goes on inside the mind of a scientist, then this Masterclass is perfect for you. Tyson teaches the proper mindset you'll need to navigate this chaotic world and avoid falling into biases along the way.
Fans Of Neil deGrasse Tyson
If you've been following Tyson for a while on social media, then this course will give you insight into how he thinks. It's almost like looking under the hood of a car to see what powers it.
Fans Of Science And Astrophysics
If you're someone who likes science and planetary exploration, this Masterclass is a must since it teaches the mindset needed to be science literate. Few people have a detailed understanding of physics and astrophysics like Tyson has.
If you're always open to new ideas that conflict with your current belief system, then you'll enjoy this Masterclass. Tyson encourages you to challenge your existing beliefs in search of objective truths. This opens your mind to new possibilities.
He also teaches how to communicate your ideas to an audience. This is invaluable if you’re a writer because after taking this Masterclass, you’ll be able to clearly communicate objective truths to your readers.
What Is Neil deGrasse Tyson's Masterclass Like?
This Masterclass is shorter than others since it’s also 2 hours and 14 minutes compared to James Patterson’s Masterclass that’s 3 hours and 31 minutes, but it's packed full of thought-provoking information.
Tyson's teaching style is fast-paced and exciting so if you're someone who gets bored during Masterclass lessons, rest assured he'll hook you for the entire 2 hours.
His Masterclass consists of 13 HD videos and a 24-page PDF workbook that explains everything he talks about in the video lessons. It also gives you exercises, so you aren't only learning but putting these ideas into practice.
His video lessons include:
- What you know is not as important as how you think: 06:02
- The frontier of science: 07:16
- The scientific method: 14:13
- Be a skeptic: Ask questions: 12:13
- Cognitive bias: 17:14
- Beware of cultural bias: 05:23
- Our systems of belief: 13:37
- Scientific measurement: Calculating the incalculable: 08:05
- Communication: It's not enough to be right: 05:47
- Preparing your audience: 12:40
- Communication tactics: 16:45
- Inspire curiosity in your audience: 07:55
- The future of our world: 07:14
How Much Does His Masterclass Cost?
Like all video courses on Masterclass, you can't buy Neil deGrasse Tyson's Masterclass outright. You need to buy an $180 all-access pass that allows you to watch every course on Masterclass. You also get access to the Masterclass Hub, where you can ask instructors questions you might have.
In addition to Tyson's Masterclass, you get access to other video lessons from instructors like;
You can learn almost every skill you want from a world-renowned expert. Anything from cooking, screenwriting, gymnastics, and poker is available on Masterclass. This makes it an invaluable learning experience.
What I've Learnt From Neil deGrasse Tyson
Neil de Grasse Tyson is one of the most intelligent people on the planet. The way his brain is wired is an anomaly. He has a way of looking through biases and shortcomings in scientific studies and diving straight into what's objectively true.
Even if you're not into science and astrophysics, learning from Tyson is an experience that'll help you in your daily life. After taking this Masterclass, you won't need someone else to tell you what's true and not. You'll figure it out yourself.
The first and most important lesson I learned from this Masterclass is it doesn't matter what you know, but how you think.
What You Know Isn't As Important As How You Think
According to Tyson, the most important moments in your life are decided not by what you know but by how you think. When you're confronted with a problem you've never seen before, do you say, “I'm not trained for this.” Or do you say, “Wow, I've never seen a problem like this, let me try to solve it.”
If you're eager to learn new things, you'll have a far easier time understanding science, how the world works, and reaching objective truths.
Tyson describes two types of truths. A personal truth is something someone believes without any evidence backing it up. For example, the Earth is flat.
Objective truths are universally true regardless of what you believe, who you are, or your age. An example of an objective truth is the Earth is round. We know the Earth is round since we can run calculations that prove it.
The mindset that Tyson is trying to teach in this Masterclass is that we should always strive for objective truths. There's nothing worse than believing something is true for your entire life, but in reality, it's false.
At the end of every day, you should be closer to reaching an objective truth.
You might think that finding objective truths is complicated, but it's pretty simple. Tyson presents an easy-to-follow 3 step method.
- Identify a belief.
- Do whatever you can to disprove it.
- If you can't, then it's an objective truth. If you can, this it's a flawed belief.
By adopting this mindset into your life, you trust yourself not because you want to but because you have no other option.
Get Rid Of Cognitive Bias
Everyone wants to feel special, and that's a normal and natural thing to do. But according to Tyson, it can get in the way of your quest for objective truths.
For example, people always tell him how they find money on the street all the time, so they must be special. He responds with, “Do you know what you didn't find? The money you missed.” This example shows how the human brain will trick you into believing a personal truth.
How do you know that you didn't miss more money than what you picked up? You might've picked up $5 but missed $50. The urge to feel special knows no boundaries.
Tysons says that if you think something is special, pause and reflect. Chances are, it's not.
But that shouldn't put you down or make you feel depressed. The atoms in your body are traceable to stars that exploded billions of years ago. We all came from those stars, and we will return to that state in a few million years. This provides a sense of belonging.
Stop Trying To Look For Patterns In Everything
Humans are hardwired to look for patterns in everything. Again, that's natural and normal, but it prevents you from understanding the universe.
There's even a condition called Pareidolia where patients see faces in everything. In the 1970s, NASA sent an orbiter to Mars to take pics, and one of the pictures looked like a human face.
People called it The Face On Mars, and some even thought it was aliens. According to Tyson, the problem with this is we're assuming aliens look like humans. They don't have the face of another species on Earth like a dog, lobster, or dolphin.
Most life on Earth doesn't even look human. So how will life on other planets that don't have any DNA in common with us look human?
This is just one of the many ways a cognitive bias can prevent you from discovering objective truths.
Don't Be Intellectually Lazy
Imagine someone comes up to you and shows you a crystal that cures any disease when you rub them together. Now, it would be equally intellectually lazy to say, “Awesome, take my money, I'll use them tonight,” as it is to say, “This can't be true, go away, you're a charlatan.”
In the first response, you're taking someone else's word for it. In the second response, you're not giving yourself a chance to probe deeper and find out if it's true or not. So, instead of blinding accepting their word for it or dismissing them, ask the following questions;
- Where are the crystals from?
- What are the crystals made of?
- What diseases are they most effective against?
- Show me the test results that backup your claim.
Doing this allows you to get closer to an objective truth. This helps in your everyday life also. If you're faced with a big decision in real life, don't select the one that's easy or more popular. Probe, ask questions and decide for yourself which one is best.
Hypothesis Vs. Theory
In ancient times, people noticed that the sun rises and sets every day. If you were an educator and had a time-keeping device, you would know it doesn't rise and set the same time every day. You'll also notice that the location in which the sun sets and rises differs.
After years of tracking this, you can predict where and when the sun will rise and set.
So it's easy to predict something repeatable. But if you have such a deep understanding of the world that you can predict something that never happened before, we call that a theory. It's the highest level of understanding we have of anything in this world.
Common theories include;
- Quantum Theory
- Theory of Evolution
- Theory of General Relativity
Theories explain what we know has happened, what is happening, and predict what will happen in the future.
However, if your idea is untested and you're unsure about it, we call that a hypothesis. If your hypothesis stands the test of time and scientists of the future use it to predict what will happen, it becomes a theory.
Avoid Confirmation Bias
Confirmation bias is a tendency to only look for information that is consistent with your existing beliefs. It's one of the biggest traps you can fall into when searching for objective truth, and it's easy to see why.
If you believe something and only look for evidence that supports your belief, you won't get closer to objective truths.
Defeating confirmation bias will take a lot of time, but it's a simple process. Instead of looking for evidence to support your beliefs, try your best to disprove them.
Is It Worth It?
If you're curious about the world and want to learn how to reach objective truths, then this Masterclass is worth it. After taking this Masterclass, you'll have advanced critical thinking skills, and you'll look at the world through a different lens.
On this learning platform, he also shows you a side of him that others don't see. He reveals what motivates him, the most important questions he's yet to answer, and how to communicate your ideas with others.
However, he rarely answers questions on the Masterclass Hub. It's more of a class facilitated by Masterclass.com so if you have questions, feel free to ask your fellow peers.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson Teaches Scientific Thinking and Communication
The Bottom Line
Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the most intelligent people alive. Before the internet, people would pay thousands just to get an understanding of such an exciting mind. But by taking his short Masterclass, you'll have the knowledge needed to get closer to objective truths and live a more fulfilling life.
- It teaches you how to think for yourself.
- Tyson's lessons are short and to the point.
- You get to learn from one of the smartest people on this planet.
- He encourages you to question your beliefs, which can be difficult.
- The Masterclass is only 2 hours and 14 minutes long
- His lessons can seem intimidating given all his accomplishments.
- He rarely answers questions on the Masterclass Hub.