File Size: 1037 KB
Print Length: 369 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (December 6, 2016)
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
It is a story that just Michael Lewis could write. With his characteristic accessibility and knack for turning the complicated into palatable pieces, Lewis presents the foundations of the science by creating a story about the two visionary scholars, Daniel Kahneman and the overdue Amos Tversky.
In so doing, Lewis provides a face to the theories and ideas that we have all become so aware of within the last ten or fifteen years: The Attaching Effect, Framing, Overconfidence Prejudice, Regression to the Mean, Halo Effect. These and other “cognitive biases” have become familiar scientific principles. The story of the friendship between Kahneman and Tversky brings to life what could otherwise be boring and mathematical.
This publication is admittedly less plot-driven than other Lewis gemstones like The Window blind Side , The Big Short , and even Moneyball . The story of Kahneman and Tversky is not necessarily made of the big screen. And Lewis will pay attention to the math to a degree that some readers will have to skip in advance (as he suggests). Nevertheless, Lewis’ mastery of storytelling makes even this kind of material a clentching and endearing tale.
A single thing that stood out to me is simply how different Kahneman and Tversky were. How they came collectively from similar backgrounds, contacted life from different angles, agreed to trigger on their intellectual journey collectively, and collaborated on some of the greatest psychological studies of the 20th century sets us up for a classic buddy story—an intellectual Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid if you will. On second thought, it might be good for a show after all., With no question, I had developed great fun reading “The Undoing Project. ”
I was brought to the work of Tversky and Kahneman as a school sophomore in 1988 by my teacher, hydrologist Joseph Harrington, who was a great admirer of their ideas. The beauty of precisely what is now called “Prospect Theory” has inevitably stuck with me since. It is only in retrospect that I have come to understand it was radical for the time.
So We swallowed whole “Thinking Concerning Thinking” within a week of having read the Jordan Lewis review on Bloomberg. And I’ve since really enjoyed the recent near-autobiography of Richard Thaler’s, as well as many of Dan Ariely’s books.
Properly, you don’t have to believe myself on this, but Jordan Lewis actually explains the concepts better!
Serious, this individual really does.
And this individual offers an unbelievably deep, personal and sensitive account of the explosive relationship between the two giants. A new very believable account too. The research done by Michael Lewis really shows. He’s had phenomenal accessibility too, it seems.
And yet, the book will not hang together terribly well. Chapters 1 and 8 should not have made it in to the publication, they ought to have been relegated to the pages of Vanity Good, in which the author regularly provides fantastic material.
More to the point, what we have here is a bunch of chapters that, chronological order notwithstanding, do not constitute a publication. The incredible material, the wonderful expositions, the heavy insights are all present and correct, nevertheless they fall short to meld into a narrative. Even the subject of the book, much as it has the roots in the work of Tversky and Kahneman, does not do rights to their contribution.
It really pains me to say this, especially because the author’s previous work, “Flash Boys, ” was a genuine five-star publication. Perhaps that’s the problem. Maybe if I was reading this straight off of “Boomerang” I’d have found it great. As it stands, I’m not certain I could recommend it to the general public.
If, on the other hand, you have the remotest interest in Behavioral Economics, you genuinely can’t not read “The Undoing Project” and then you’re guaranteed to enjoy it., 4. 5 superstars. Absolutely wonderful. Michael Lewis successfully blends two journal, an intellectual love tale (there really is most way to describe the Kahneman/Tversky partnership), astute sketches of the work they did (in heuristics and biases), and how the partnership had ripple effects in a myriad of areas (from economics to psychology, from medicine to the military, and beyond). The book moves at a brisk pace, never dull, and fleshes away the men behind the scientific work. This vantage point into where Kahneman and Tversky came from, the events that shaped them, their intellectual make-ups, and the alchemy of their partnership is a real treat. This added detail to the scientists only makes me appreciate their work all the more. Strongly suggested for anyone, but especially those that have read Thinking Fast, And Sluggish, any book on behavioral economics, or students of how human cognition leads all of us astray. A fantastic publication that I couldn't put down.
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