Subtitle: The fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life
Author: Thomas Gilovich, a psychologist and professor of the early 90s.
The concept of the book is simple: humans have a tendency to use certain biases in their analysis to create a situation that they are more than willing to accept. These biases are simplistic ideas, yet they can found unreasonable and irrational ideas that have little value.
For example, one often places value in chaos if he finds some form of order in it. Is the order intended to exist within the chaos? No, for these are two opposing topics, and two separate goals.
The book is fairly varied in it’s coverage, and has a lot to say. It does take a long time to explain simple concepts, but often this provides a stable basis for any one argument.
The case studies at the end of the book are very outdated, but much of the principles apply to at least one fallacious system of today, if not more.
What kind of topics are covered ? Consider this list of possible problems, courtesy of Hans and Nathaniel Bluedorn:
1. Tendency to Look for Confirmation
2. Hidden Data
3. Mental Corner-Cutting
4. Objectivity is Not Always Useful
5. Reinterpreting Evidence
6. The Wish to Believe and the Lake Wobegon Effect
Each chapter focuses on these topics, but the insights have been exceptional.
I wish the author would provide more simplistic language, but nevertheless, Gilovich’s work is highly valuable, and useful for anyone desiring to avoid inherent biases in their lives.