Read Irrationality: the enemy within by Stuart Sutherland James Ball Ben Goldacre Online


New, 21st anniversary edition, with a new foreword by Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Science and Bad Pharma, and an afterword by James Ball, covering developments in our understanding of irrationality over the last two decades.Why do doctors, army generals, high-ranking government officials and other people in positions of power make bad decisions that cause harm to others? WNew, 21st anniversary edition, with a new foreword by Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Science and Bad Pharma, and an afterword by James Ball, covering developments in our understanding of irrationality over the last two decades.Why do doctors, army generals, high-ranking government officials and other people in positions of power make bad decisions that cause harm to others? Why do prizes serve no useful function? Why are punishments so ineffective? Why is interviewing such an unsatisfactory method of selection?Irrationality is a challenging and thought-provoking book that draws on statistical concepts, probability theory and a mass of intriguing research to expose the failings of human reasoning, judgement and intuition. The author explores the inconsistencies of human behaviour, and discovers why even the experts find it so hard to make rational and unbiased decisions.Written with clarity and occasional flashes of wry humour, this classic volume is just as relevant today as when it was first written twenty-one years ago....

Title : Irrationality: the enemy within
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ISBN : 9781780660264
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 274 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Irrationality: the enemy within Reviews

  • Caner Ergen
    2019-01-31 06:51

    İrrasyonelin sözlük anlamı, akıl, mantık ve sağduyudan yoksun demek. Bu kitap da günlük hayatta verdiğimiz kararların büyük çoğunluğunun irrasyonel olduğunu sayısız psikolojik deney ile ortaya koyuyor.İrrasyonellik yanlış gözlem, uyum gösterme ihtiyacı, yersiz tutarlılık, kanıtları gözardı etmek, hatalı neden sonuç ilişkileri kurmak ya da aşırı özgüven gibi birçok alt başlık altında inceleniyor kitapta. Giriş aşamasında biraz sıkıcı olsa da ileriki sayfalarda nispeten akıcı bir hal alıyor kitap. İnsan psikolojisi üzerine okumak istiyorsanız bu kitap kütüphanenizde bulunmalı. Özetle "hepimiz irrasyoneliz!"

  • Ettore1207
    2019-02-01 14:45

    Questo libro, opera dello psicologo inglese Stuart Sutherland (1927-1998) venne pubblicato nel 1992, ed è un peccato che sia rimasto senza traduzione in italiano fino al 2010. Si tratta di un'opera divulgativa seria e di livello abbastanza "alto" ma comunque sempre ben leggibile che, come dice il titolo, dimostra con una serie impressionante di esempi (alcuni dei quali divertenti) che l'essere umano è molto più irrazionale di quello che si pensa. E le conseguenze possono essere gravi o addirittura catastrofiche. Dopo aver letto questo libro ho rivisto il mio concetto di "buon senso" o di "senso comune". Oltre che di piacevole lettura (tranne qualche raro passaggio un po' troppo tecnico), è un libro che può rivelarsi molto utile per tutti coloro che, soprattutto sul lavoro, si rapportano agli altri.

  • Sofia
    2019-02-12 09:54

    Posted on my blog.Background: I was given this book by a friend on Christmas, and I started reading it soon afterward, but unfortunately had to stop for a couple of months and just recently finished it. This is unfortunate, since I recall a lot of things I thought about the book while I was reading it, but didn't mark any of the pages for quoting. Oh well.Review: This book in a nutshell: humans can be very irrational at times. The book goes on to try to explore, explain and offer solutions to the various forms of human irrationality, always relying on studies to back up the conclusions. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it just fell short of what it was trying to do.Be warned. This book was written in 1992, and it shows. I noticed right away some very strange factual errors that, at times, by light of new evidence that has since been gathered, completely defeat the points being given by the author. I noticed this particularly with medical studies - having been in medical school myself I spotted the, at times, glaring mistakes, which didn't impress me at all. I guess I was using one of the irrational thought processes he described - the "halo effect", which when applied to this, means that when I saw that he was completely wrong in some thing he vehemently defended, it made me look at the rest of his book in a negative light. It probably means this review is tainted by irrationality as well.I wish I had marked the exact quotes to back up what I'm saying. I recall at least that at some point in the book he goes on and on about how doctors were wrong to think that blood cholesterol levels had anything to do with what you eat, because a study had proven they had no correlation. Yeah. This reminded me of all the smokers who will quote one study that says that smoking is not bad for you at all and has nothing to do with lung cancer. Let's not ignore the rest of the studies who say otherwise. please.I also had a problem with the tone of this book. It was too patronizing, and the author seemed to have personal vendettas against some members of society, namely feminists, members of the medical profession, and psychologists who do social experiments.There were some positive aspects to it, and I found a few pearls of wisdom, but overall, the book was simply not worth it.What's Next: If anything, reading this book made me wish there was a better one on the subject that I could read.

  • ·Karen·
    2019-02-05 11:40

    This is a catalogue of wrong thinking: inconsistency, misinterpretation, false inferences, distortion, overconfidence, conforming to the general opinion, obeying authoritative figures and making bad bets. We form instant impressions and then only look for the evidence that will support our view, we suffer from availability error, meaning that we give more weight to the dramatic and memorable, or the most recent, and ignore the less exciting evidence, and after reading the chapter on reward and punishment, you begin to wonder how any kind of education has ever worked at all. What always fascinates me about books like this is the ingenuity of psychologists in devising experiments that will expose the specific ways how our minds work. The only slight irritation was the 'raised finger' approach that Mr Sutherland takes. Irrationality is A Bad Thing, and We Shouldn't Do This. But it's just how we function. Unstoppable, like the glaciers.

  • Özlem Güzelharcan
    2019-01-25 07:50

    Halbuki heyecanlı başlamıştı, bir şeyler vadeder gibiydi, deneyler, gözlemler fena değildi. Ne gerek vardı o demode, ön yargılı cümlelere sonrasında? Hele ki "sezgilere bağlı yanılgılar" bölümü beni benden aldı. Kıssadan hisse: Bu kitap 1992 yılında yazılmış ve bu etki okurken hemen hissediliyor. Kitap akmıyor ve yazarın dili oldukça patronize. Hali hazırda psikoloji, sosyoloji, vb. alanlarda kitaplar okuyan, araştırmalar yapan insanlar için yeni bir şey sunmuyor. Başlardaki ilginç deneyler hatrına 2 yıldız..

  • Elif
    2019-01-20 12:54

  • Orestes
    2019-01-22 13:57

    This book shows a number of psychological biases during human assessment of reality which, the author claims, moves us away from taken optimal decisions. It does so by means of captivating and many times funny examples, mainly drawn from psychological experiments, but also from interesting historical events and common behavior.The author is competent in explaining each type of irrational behavior, but the book lacks a global perspective. The instances of irrational behavior introduced in the book could be classified into three categories: psychological biases, sociological base biases and biases due to the lack of knowledge. This classification is only implicitly present, and in this case only partially, since the chapters slightly follow it, but the fact that it is never made explicit impoverishes the book’s explanatory capacity of irrationality and reduces the chances that the reader acquires a permanent idea of the most important biases. I think that a book whose main purpose is to inform should be written in a way to help the reader get an overall idea of the main topics explained. This book lacks such structure. A complementary negative effect of this decision is that when every single instance of irrational behavior is isolated, it is more difficult to explain the causes of the behavior. In the last chapter the author dares to approach this issue, but at that point he can only relate single causes with single instances of behavior, missing the whole picture again.This book deals with irrationality so the author begins describing what we should understand from that word. I would not apply that word to many instances of behavior in the book. For example, I find that the behavior based on sociological factors is not irrational. Rather it responds, most of the time unconsciously to social incentives. It is important to observe how they are affecting us, but I would not say that it is irrational. However, the name we attach to this behavior is not as important as its identification. I myself find important that for all of us the word irrationality to mean the same so that semantic conflicts could be avoided, but it is far more important to identify all these different type of behavior to get conscience about ourselves, whether this is irrational or not.And nevertheless, I gave it four stars out of five. The issues this book handles are essential for a better individual life and a better social engagement. They show us some biases that make our judgement poorer, and therefore our decisions. And we know so little! I would like these issues to be treated in schools so people could grow up taking better decisions. Wouldn’t it be great if we were just a little bit less stubborn? If each person recognizes that he or she may be wrong because of some of the reasons outlined throughout the book, it might be that we could live in better harmony with each other.Since this book does not offer a comprehensive idea, a better title should be ‘Instances of Irrationality’. This is not a treatise on human irrationality, but it is an entertaining, funny and very valuable array of examples that everybody should be more conscious of.

  • Tim
    2019-01-30 09:39

    Just enjoyed, with qualifications, Stuart Sutherland's Irrationality, which I'd had sitting on my Amazon wishlist for ages and irrationally not got around to buying. It's a very enjoyable and robust exhortation to increase the rigour of our thinking, while acknowledging all the many reasons why that's extremely difficult. His enthusiasm for actuarial methods of decisionmaking is inspiring in some cases, but unconvincing in others, particularly the ones where he's forced to admit that in quite a few circumstances the more rigorous methods can't be shown to be more effective than more intuitive ones. A few of his choices of examples (perhaps deliberately) throw rather sharply into relief why statistical methods of decision might be a bit too heartless to be likely to be used (for instance, he thinks it would be great if older pregnant women could use probability calculations to decide whether to abort a foetus with Down's syndrome - which perhaps it would, but I suspect it's kind of hard to think about it in quite that way if you're the woman in question). All in all, recommended.

  • Jacob
    2019-02-13 11:49

    I didn't realize this is a reprint of a work that is 20 years old, but it's still quite relevant. Just a little harder to get ahold of. Like most psychology books written by academics, this reads like a textbook so it's a bit of work to get through. Still, Sutherland injects a lot more wit into his writing than most, such as mentioning students who had ten grandparents with a distressing mortality rate. The material is quite good as a survey of various human tendencies to make irrational decisions. The purpose is for the reader to appreciate poor fallible human nature, and maybe avoid a few of the frailties that plague human cognition. Most of the examples I have read in other work, and even though this predates most of where I've seen it before, I found myself wishing studies would find more examples to use.

  • Can Eğridere
    2019-02-08 11:33

    İnsanların iş dünyası, maddi konular, insan ilişkileri, eğitim, siyaset ve benzeri konularda verdikleri kararların ne kadar mantık dışı olduğunu bir çok bilimsel deneyden örnekler vererek gösteriyor. Aslında yazıldığı tarihin üzerinden çok zaman geçmiş olmasına rağmen konular halen güncelliğini koruyor. Benzer konularda kitaplar okuduysanız biraz sıkıcı gelebilir. Ama o çok bilindik deneyleri insan psikolojisi, antropoloji ve mantık açısından değerlendirdiği için ufuk açıcı bir kitap.

  • Rachel
    2019-02-09 11:34

    I'm soooooo bored with this. Reads like a GCSE social psychology text book.At times like this I really wish I was so OCD that I have to finish every book I start. This one is never ending.I've abandoned it. Really dated, and really, really boring. It now has the honour of being the first ever book I've started but not finished, and has annoyed me further by making me create a new 'abandoned' shelf on Goodreads, which clutters things up.

  • Aybike
    2019-02-06 13:47

    agree with one point: don't keep reading not to waste your money, at the end money won't be the only thing wasted. one more book telling you what to do as if you did't have a brain, irrationality comes from here.

  • Shannon
    2019-02-10 09:55

    This book is only actually interesting if you think people act rationally more than, say, 5% of the time. Otherwise it is just a book of commonplaces backed up by a lot of studies and anecdotes you've already heard about before.

  • Smyrnall
    2019-02-16 10:56

    Kişisel gelişim kitapları ile uğraşacağınıza bunu okuyun.

  • Uwe Tallmeister
    2019-02-01 11:29

    Good companion to Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow". While not much new information (for me), it was a good compilation, providing a nice structure and linking items to each other.

  • Pinar Gungor
    2019-02-06 06:41

    Yazar herseyi biliyor, bize ders kitabi yazsaymis daha iyiymis. Bu kadar hoca tavirli ve bu kadar karman corman orneginin oldugu bir kitap bulmak zor.

  • Babak Fakhamzadeh
    2019-01-20 08:30

    Ancient, published in 1992, but still interesting if not entertaining, even if much of its contents has now been rehashed in later works, though still poignantly relevant for our extensive modern online discourse, where reason is often not the primary concern.Sutherland spends roughly half the book explaining the different types of irrationality and then uses the remainder to highlight how these work in practice.Judging by the first thing that comes to mind is called the availability error.Related are the halo and devil effect, if a person has one salient good, or bad, trait, it overshadows, coloring the person's other properties.Being more influenced by early than by late items in a list is called the primacy error.The habit of obedience is so ingrained that people can act out of obedience without even knowing that they are doing so. And that's on top of what happens when obeying is central to your position, like in the military, or only has consequences for outsiders, like when you are not directly confronted with the results of your actions.Related, but different, is conformity, behaving in the same way as one's peers. Connected to this is the boomerang effect, where people become more convinced that they are right when their (public) beliefs are challenged. In other words, it's near-impossible to convince someone he's wrong.Conformity to crowds can lead to panic and violence. And religious conversion.Within groups, opinions tend to shift beyond the typical, average, opinion of the individuals. Liberals, in a group, tend to become more liberal, conservatives more conservative. Essentially, this is groupthink.This means that committees, subgroups of in-groups tend to be more extreme than the group from which they are drawn.One consequence of the in-group/out-group dichotomy is that competitive sports, even as friendly matches, more typically foster animosity as opposed to friendship. To alleviate this, nembers of different groups can cooperate to work towards a common goal, though this only is shown to bring people together when the goal is achieved. Otherwise, prejudice is maintained.As a consequence, organizations, particularly public ones, tend to make irrational decisions. Opening up the decision process to the public can alleviate this to some extent.Misplaced consistency is when people hold on to initial decisions for the sake of not being seen to backtrack, whether publicly or not. It's why people tend to not cut their losses. Hence the 'sunk cost error'.Tests show that rewards devalue any activity considered worth doing in its own right. The activity in question will be valued less after the rewards no longer are handed out. As a consequence, a carrot for promoting good behavior does not facilitate institutional change.The exception is 'praise', non-monetary rewards, which can be seen as a form of reward, but typically has a positive influence on the future completion of tasks.In the obverse, mild threats produce stronger results than strong threats.Related, large rewards, strong motivation, but also stress, foster inflexibility when attempting to solve a problem.When a particular belief is involved, we tend to go to extreme lengths to look for supporting evidence while refusing to believe contrary evidence. If that fails, we distort existing evidence.Specifically, evidence favoring a belief strengthens it, while if the same evidence disproves a belief, it is ignored.A very surprising consequence is that we seek confirmation of our own opinions of ourselves, even when they are derogatory.Drawing causal conclusions from unrelated events is called illusory correlation. This is typically reinforced by what the person expects in the first place, being blind to non-matching results and having an eye for comparative, but possibly meaningless, outliers. And statistics, though essential for, for example, diagnosis, is a bitch. We tend to feel there's an increased likelihood of something implausible happening when that is paired with something very plausible, even though that should decrease the chances of it happening.Of similar difficulty is the ability to identify cause and effect. What's more, the more prominent an effect, from the same action, the more we hold the agent responsible.With hindsight on our side, we become overconfident in our ability to predict future outcomes of events.Risk assessment is difficult for specialists and engineers, but nearly impossible for the general public: misunderstandings, fear of the unknown, untested technologies, overconfidence, etc, all result in the less specialized relying on a, typically, very bad, gut feeling, typically underestimating risk in general or associating irrelevant imagery with the risk involved (like, for example, nuclear energy).Sutherland also discusses utility theory, basically a statistical method to not only include expected outcomes, but including the usefulness of these outcomes.The related cost/benefit analysis, though having its own place, is limited by it only addressing financial gains and losses.In medicine, a similar technique is QALY, the quality-adjusted life year.The book is full of conclusions that are fairly obvious to skeptics and represent hard to convey truths in practice. For one, there's a large gap between what people think they do and what they in fact do. This may sound obvious, but in practice it will mean you hit a brick wall when pointing this out in the real world: in one study, 77% of subjects were shown to not read the warning labels on dangerous consumer products, while 97% claimed to do so, when interviewed.At the end, Sutherland attempts to list underlying causes for irrationality:+ Evolution, where our ancestors typically had to make many crucial decisions under duress. + The analog, imperfect, nature of the brain favors generalizations.+ Our implicit desire to take mental shortcuts in deducing conclusions.+ Our general incapacity to apply basic statistics.+ The self serving bias.

  • Darren Goossens
    2019-01-16 08:32

    Review from, 1994, 357 pages.Well. This book is replete with summaries of studies that on the whole show that we are creatures of habit, instinct and fear more than thought and reason. We suffer from the illusion of control. We make emotional decisions and then convince ourselves they were carefully reasoned. We avoid data that might prove us wrong, even when being proved wrong is the best thing that could happen to us.The cover of Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland.I can't say I was shocked. There's a time and a place for aiming for the utmost in rationality, of course, and times when that's not sensible, and it is useful to know the difference. If you're being chased by a bear a quick but sub-optimal decision may be better than making the right one too late. And it's useful to know when it doesn't really matter and you can just please your inner reptile, and when you really do need to sit down and analyse things properly.And in a sense that is the key point. He basically says that only by understanding statistics and by essentially falling back on some means of scoring the alternatives and then picking the one with the best score can we really make rational decisions. Otherwise we rely on impressions, feelings and hunches, none of which are actually reliable. In the end, only by breaking down the problem and applying some kind of rigorous-as-possible analysis, generally relying on mathematics, can a really rational decision be made. And what fraction of decisions are made like than? In my life, relatively few.Each chapter tackles various forms of irrationality, and each ends with a 'moral' which is really a bullet-point summary, the last one of which is usually humorous/facetious. ('Eat what you fancy.')There is some repetition, but the points being made deserve hammering home. There are some lovely little 'try this yourself' puzzles, where even though I knew there was a trick and I desperately did not want to answer like an irrational creature, I still got it wrong. The simple two card trick, for example, which I won't describe in detail here since it would be too much like giving away the twist in the tail.In summary, if you think you are good at making decisions, you might find this book useful. If you already believe that we're basically animals in clothes, this will not disabuse you. It's funny, opinionated, amusing and entertaining, but a little, I repeat, repetitive. Some of the case studies of how really really really important 'decisions' were made are a little worrisome, especially because (of course) human nature has not really changed in the meantime. I sometimes look around at a skyscraper, or read about a decision to go to war or spend billions of dollars on a useless aeroplane, and this book comes to mind. Will the building fall down? Is the war really worthwhile? Will the aeroplane get off the ground, and if it does will it stay up?In some ways the book makes our achievements all the greater. Okay, the planet is in trouble. Okay, we don't always elect great leaders or do the right thing by our neighbours, family, friends. Yet so much has been done. We're not always rational, no, and neither should we be. Would more people be happier if the balance shifted towards more rationality? Probably. Yet on the whole we go forward, stumbling sometimes, by accident sometimes, yet we do live longer, we have sent people (okay, men) to the moon, vastly fewer children and mothers die in childbirth. It's not all bad, this world.Anyway, it's a good book. Book book book.

  • David Wen
    2019-01-31 09:46

    The book summarizes studies done by others in the field in a fairly concise package. Problem is, if you read books by Kahneman, Sunstein, Thaler, Milgram, etc. there's nothing new for you to learn. Probably should be considered an intro to those books and then you can delve further into whichever piques your interest.

  • Steve
    2019-02-02 08:39

    This book was first published in 1992, but don't let that put you off - the topics are more relevant today than ever before, particularly given the way we appear to be sliding head-first into another age of unreason. One example would be the chapter on stereotypes: very appropriate in this post 9/11 world, showing the development of prejudice towards out-groups and detailing 9 reasons why they occur - and shouldn't. There are stacks of case studies in the book - well over a hundred, described in great detail (sometimes so much detail that you need to re-read the rules of the experiment to remember them) and you will soon get used to reading the phrase "In one experiment..." along with references to subjects and stooges. This is a comprehensive eye-opening read but also a somewhat infuriating one, though not through any fault of the author. Quite simply, you start to wonder why on earth more children aren't taught basic statistical concepts and probability at school, as it is ignorance of these areas that plays such a large part in human irrational thinking, in people from ALL walks of life. Other common causes of ignorance and mistakes - the availability error, the primacy error, the halo effect, the anchoring effect, and plenty more are all discussed at great length. If you see a correlation between A and B and conclude that A must have 'caused' B, if you're prone to seeing strange coincidences and suspect that last night's dream managed to predict an event from today, then this book is for you.

  • Entriol
    2019-01-23 14:46

    Kitap aslında bir çok sosyoloji -psikoloji deneyinin özetlenmiş derlemesi gibi. Okurken aslında rasyonel gibi görünen ama irrasyonel olan pek çok davranışa tanıklık ediyoruz. Hem çevremizden hem de kendi davranışlarımızdan bolca örnek var. İyi bir okuma yapabilirseniz, insanların ve toplulukların davranışlarını yönetmek ve yönlendirmek için güzel hileler bulabilirsiniz.Hayata bakışınızı biraz daha berraklaştıracak bir kitap olmasına rağmen çerezlik diyebileceğimiz bir konumda duruyor. Kitaptaki bölümler de oldukça kısa ve yatmadan önce entelektüel birikim için keyifle okunur.Sonunda da belirttiği istatistik bilimine dair temelleri öğrenmek daha rasyonel kararlar vermenizi sağlayacaktır.Kitaptaki en beğendiğim olay olan batık masraf örneğini de vermeden geçmeyeyim. 15 lira verip sinemada izlediğimiz film kötü olmasına rağmen izlemeye devam etmek, batık masraf hatasıdır. Oysa film çok kötü, 15 lira vermişiz ve 1 saatimizi kaybetmişiz. Sadece para verdiğimiz için, izlemeye devam etmek kaybımızı daha da artırmaktan başka bir işe yaramayacak. Gereksiz yere sıkılacaksınız. Aynı olaya siyasiler de bolca düşüyor. Kötü bir projeyi "milletin parası boşa mı gitsin" diyerek devam ettirmek gibi. Oysa milyonlarca lira boşa gitmiş, en kısa sürede projeyi sonlandırarak zararın daha da artmasını engelleyebilirsiniz.

  • Rob
    2019-02-07 11:34

    Academic attempts to hit the "trade" market have made for the creation of a capacious graveyard down the years. Everyone recalls the successes without taking into account that they form way less than 1% of the attempts. This is one of the modest triumphs - an at times fascinating exploration of why people behave irrationally.For most of the book, Sutherland is a master with the juicy anecdote, although the book sags in the middle as he abandons real world examples in favour of that boring, over familiar, Person A, Person B, Person C scenario. His arguments boil down to the fact that we need to make more considered decisions and manage the buffeting influence of emotions, over confidence and plain silliness. This does bring things round to a pro-statistics angle, but Sutherland is never guilty of what Mark Blaug termed "mindless instrumentalism" - he's cynical about Cost-Benefit Analysis as a technique.I'll give it three stars because politically, this leads to some overly individualist conclusions - Popperian falsification is evoked and the UK public sector comes in for a major bashing - Sutherland mentions only fleetingly that irrationality is rife in private companies too.

  • Terry Clague
    2019-01-24 14:37

    Clearly something of a classic, this book has been described as a "thinking man's self-help guide" by Ben Goldacre. It's interesting to get an expert scholarly (but not heavy) view on the various and many ways in which the human brain has irrational tendencies. Much of what is discussed should be common sense (e.g. people tend to ignore evidence that doesn't fit their beliefes) but it's backed up with discussions of psychology experiments that have been replicated and offer some proof.Of course, one can argue that rationality is a) overrated and b) has ideological hinterland. In fact, to be fair, the author does discuss some of this at the end of the book. Some of the best decisions I've ever made would have seemed irrational at the time they were taken - unintended consequences abound. Also, there's much to be said in criticism of "evidence-based" thinking (e.g. who has paid to provide the evidence, why did they investigate in the way they did, would the results have been different if there were other variables considered, and so forth). Having said this, the book encourages the reader to think critically throughout and given where higher education is headed (neoliberal wasteland), it's hard to argue that this book should be required reading across the academy.

  • Rowland
    2019-01-18 09:44

    A very good book examining the irrational decisions people make. It also provides methods on how best to make a rational decision and not fall into the common traps. Learning statistics and probability theory are a start.I did find it a little boring to read at times. The writing style is a little bland and technical in nature. Also, one thing the book only touched on was why people are irrational. Is it because of the way the brain works, or is it because of our schooling, society norms or culture? For me, people are not purely rational machines that make Mr. Spock-like decisions because the brain is very different to that of a computer. The brain is an excellent pattern recognition device. It’s so good that it’s able to find patterns where none exist. People are also ruled by past experiences and learning, emotions, values, instinct and desires. Any decision a person makes is clouded by all these things. It’s incredible we can function at all let alone make a rational decision.

  • Paola
    2019-02-14 07:45

    This is the first pop science book on rationality I ever read, and it made a great impression on me. Of course, this is now more than twenty years old (the first edition dates from 1992), and probably nowadays there are many eqivalent books, but this one gives a good overview of many common pitfalls in decision making, illustrating many cognitive biases: from selective evidence, to overconfidence and ignoring or misinterpreting evidence. So you wont' get exposure to the latest developments on decision making, but the topics he treats are still current - Sutherland was a psychologist by trade, and he seems to know very well what he was writing about, adding to this a gripping writing style.One thing I learned is: if you phone your friend to tell him you wrecked his car, then tell him it was a joke, he will forever think of you as a bad driver, even if you returned the car he lent you in absolutely pristine conditions! The moral of it - careful when making jokes :-)

  • Jed
    2019-01-17 12:51

    Human beings are not nearly as reasonable as we think we are. Intuition, the failure to understand how probabilities work, and the curious phenomenon of "availability" (universalizing the most recent experience we can remember or alternatively the first experience, depending on whether you perceive later information as replacing or augmenting the original) all conspire to help us survive, but not to be reasonable.Sutherland has written a satisfying little book that opens the door to being slightly less irrational than we would have been. He doesn't claim you'll be a fully rational being once you've read his book, in fact, one might even claim that full rationality would not even be desirable. Regardless of his intention, you will certainly come away being suspicious of things that you previously took for granted as "common sense" or beyond needing to be understood.

  • Ben Pace
    2019-02-10 06:28

    The most readable and well-written popular-level book about the irrationality of humans that I have discovered. I am not a fan of the first chapter, but this is possibly because I've read a lot more of the literature on irrational behaviour and the philosophy of it, and I feel he is a little inaccurate. Furthermore, the morals at the end of each chapter could be a little less whimsical and a little more useful. The entirety of the rest of the book is excellent however, and the discussion especially focused on the practical implications of the psychological studies discussed.Not as theoretical as Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" and subsequently not as deep, yet I (and the friends I have who have also read both) have found Sutherland's book to be the more clearly written and practical.

  • Kerry
    2019-02-14 13:35

    This book was a extensive list of the ways in which humans are irrational. Although the advice at the end of each chapter on how to avoid these irrationality were almost simply "don't be irrational", ie if humans tend to over count X in importance the advice would be "don't over count X", the book was helpful. While the book was written 21 years ago, it was very helpful and insightful and the editor made sure to comment on things that had changed in a footnote (but it was rarely needed). The book was engaging, interesting, and at points humorous. The last chapter did a great job of summarizing (without repeating) the main fallacies into a few key categories grouped by a possible explanation (and yet the author recognized that many of these were not proven and just conjecture).

  • Ali Sirri
    2019-02-16 08:49

    Davranışların arkasındaki mantık hatalarını merak ediyorsanız tam size göre. Başları biraz sıkıcı da olsa sonradan merak uyandırıyor.Göz göre göre yapılmaz denilen hatalar nasıl yapılıyor, düşünce sisteminde mantıklı görünen şeyler fiilen neden uygulanmıyor, hangi davranış modellerini benimsemek daha anlamlı konularında bir çok deney var.Aslında kitabı deneyler üzerinden hazırlanmış bir rapor ve yazarın bu deneylere kattığı yorumlar diyebiliriz. Bölüm sonlarında kıssadan hisse özetlerinde esprili bir dil kullanmış.Özellikle doktorların teşhis noktasında talep ettikleri testler kısmındaki örnekleri küçük bir kağıtta hesaplamanızı öneririm, şaşıracaksınız

  • Sudhendu
    2019-01-26 10:57

    Stuart has, in layman term explained some very widely mis-oriented confused belief we keep in our mind. Some of them are so common and obvious, we are doing it every moment, not even realizing it.The best part of this book is a moral section at the end of each chapter. A very useful part, due to the vastness of statistical data and experiment done on the topic of irrationality, it is very obvious that during the whole read we forget the important take away. Stuart does a great work by providing few tips to take away from each chapters.