Why do so many people base their decisions on intuition, not data? Michael Lewis looks at the findings of two Israeli psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, whose work on decision making and judgement showed repeatedly that humans are predisposed to irrationality. A fascinating look at how and why we make the decisions we do. Recommended By Mary Jo S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
How a Nobel Prize–winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.
Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original studies undoing our assumptions about the decision-making process. Their papers showed the ways in which the human mind erred, systematically, when forced to make judgments in uncertain situations. Their work created the field of behavioral economics, revolutionized Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made much of Michael Lewis’s own work possible. Kahneman and Tversky are more responsible than anybody for the powerful trend to mistrust human intuition and defer to algorithms.
The Undoing Project is about a compelling collaboration between two men who have the dimensions of great literary figures. They became heroes in the university and on the battlefield — both had important careers in the Israeli military — and their research was deeply linked to their extraordinary life experiences. Amos Tversky was a brilliant, self-confident warrior and extrovert, the center of rapt attention in any room; Kahneman, a fugitive from the Nazis in his childhood, was an introvert whose questing self-doubt was the seedbed of his ideas. They became one of the greatest partnerships in the history of science, working together so closely that they couldn’t remember whose brain originated which ideas, or who should claim credit. They flipped a coin to decide the lead authorship on the first paper they wrote, and simply alternated thereafter.
This story about the workings of the human mind is explored through the personalities of two fascinating individuals so fundamentally different from each other that they seem unlikely friends or colleagues. In the process they may well have changed, for good, mankind’s view of its own mind.their extraordinary life experiences. In the process they may well have changed, for good, mankind's view of its own mind.
Lewis (Flash Boys) deftly explores a timeless and fascinating subject—human decision making—through the intellectually intimate collaboration of two influential psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. The pair met in 1969 and worked together until a few years before Tversky's death in 1996. As Lewis explains they discovered that people do not make decisions as economists long believed—as "intuitive statisticians"—but rather in a chaotic fashion shot through with confirmation bias fears of regret sensitivity to change the desire to avoid loss and a propensity to mentally undo distressing outcomes. Through interviews with Tversky and Kahneman's friends family colleagues rivals and critics as well as the psychologists' own recollections letters and published papers Lewis seamlessly pieces together an informative and engagingly paced story. He begins with a step by step explanation of why both human minds and statistical models so often fail to produce the best choice. He then interweaves the psychologists' early lives military service in defense of the young state of Israel and professorial careers in both Israel and the United States with their questions theories and startling conclusions about how people actually make decisions. Lewis' latest effort is a joy to read packed with "aha!" moments telling and at times hilarious details and elegant explanations of complex experiments and theories. (Dec. 6) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
About the Author
Michael Lewis, is the best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side, and Flash Boys. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.