Jill Furedy's Reviews > Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average

Why We Make Mistakes by Joseph T. Hallinan
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Sep 12, 2012

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Read in September, 2012

Having read several decision making books, like How to Decide and Sway, among others, I was a little disappointed in how many of the exact same studies were in this book, with nothing new to draw from them. Yet there were a number of footnotes that I thought...why didn't we hear more about that? Like a note that baby faced oeople are judged as less competent but tended to be more intelligent. And toward the end of the book, he throws in a Jet Blue story where they extended their flight crew's work shifts (without FAA approval no less) to see if they could fly safely without signs of fatigue...and he never told us what came of the study or if they got in trouble for conducting that little test.
I thought at some point the little grey boxes highlighting a key sentence of the section might be explained as tying in to some aspect of psychology...but it was never mentioned. And the conclusion wasn't quite as helpful as I would have hoped: get sleep, be happy, but think negatively, get an outside view, etc (the 'be happy' tests there could gave been expanded upon too!)
However there were plenty of interesting stories, like how we straighten out maps in our heads, anchoring as a sales tactic at grocery stores, the penny memory test, life satisfaction predictions and the sick or injured, and the native american story recall test. The section on setting consaints seemed like it should have been among the final recommendations. And there were some frightening examples of overconfidence backfiring on pilots, soldiers, and surgeons.
It was still a fairly entertaining book and easy to read, so while I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to those who have read similar titles, it would be great for someone new to the topic.
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