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Everything Is Obvious: How Common Sense Fails Us

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Everything Is Obvious: How Common Sense Fails Us Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Why is the Mona Lisa the most famous painting in the world? Why did Facebook succeed when other social networking sites failed? Did the surge in Iraq really lead to less violence? How much can CEO’s impact the performance of their companies? And does higher pay incentivize people to work hard?

If you think the answers to these questions are a matter of common sense, think again. As sociologist and network science pioneer Duncan Watts explains in this provocative book, the explanations that we give for the outcomes that we observe in life—explanation that seem obvious once we know the answer—are less useful than they seem.

Drawing on the latest scientific research, along with a wealth of historical and contemporary examples, Watts shows how common sense reasoning and history conspire to mislead us into believing that we understand more about the world of human behavior than we do; and in turn, why attempts to predict, manage, or manipulate social and economic systems so often go awry.

It seems obvious, for example, that people respond to incentives; yet policy makers and managers alike frequently fail to anticipate how people will respond to the incentives they create. Social trends often seem to have been driven by certain influential people; yet marketers have been unable to identify these “influencers” in advance. And although successful products or companies always seem in retrospect to have succeeded because of their unique qualities, predicting the qualities of the next hit product or hot company is notoriously difficult even for experienced professionals.

Only by understanding how and when common sense fails, Watts argues, can we improve how we plan for the future, as well as understand the present—an argument that has important implications in politics, business, and marketing, as well as in science and everyday life.

Synopsis:

US

About the Author

DUNCAN WATTS, a professor of sociology at Columbia University, is a principal research scientist at Yahoo! Research. A former officer in the Royal Australian Navy, he holds a Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University. He is the author of Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age (Norton, 2003). He lives in New York City.

 

For more information visit www.everythingisobvious.com

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307951793
Author:
Watts, Duncan J
Publisher:
Crown Business
Author:
Watts, Duncan J.
Subject:
Making & Problem Solving
Subject:
BUSINESS STRATEGY
Subject:
Sociology - General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8 x 5.1 x 0.76 in 0.6 lb

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Related Subjects

Business » General
Business » Strategy
Business » Writing
Education » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Cognitive Science
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

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