David's Reviews > Rational Choice in an Uncertain World: The Psychology of Judgement and Decision Making

Rational Choice in an Uncertain World by Reid Hastie
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Sep 10, 07

bookshelves: thinking_logic_rhetoric
Recommended for: anyone willing to work at thinking
Read in August, 2007

Great book. Recommended by a smart friend ;-)

This book delves into how we make choices (duh). It does it from a clinical psychology point-of-view. But done right. Her statistics (both in theory and in practice) are what one would wish everyone in clinical work would use. When she drops into conjecture, she points it out herself.

Valuable ideas from the book:

1) what makes a good, rational choice
- specifically, I liked how a rational choice is one that looks at all the options at hand and then makes the most informed decision
- informed by information as well as HOW we access information
- this does a bit of damage to Blink putting Blink into a sociology category and not an actually cognitive / psychology category (where the book can be more fully enjoyed

2) Sunk Costs
- loved this part. It's the idea that we hold onto things from the past and let them influence the present poorly. For example, "I can't give up on _____ because I've invested so much time in it!" even though continuing will cause more pain than the payoff.
- the section in here on addiction was fascinating AND helpful!

3) Combinations have more intuitive weight than items alone
- one idea may be thought to have slim chance of success, unless it is paired with something (equally, more, or less likely - weird!).

4) Making a list of pro's and con's, weighting them, then deciding has much better success than the best-guess of a master in a top - most of the time!

5) It is much easier to replace a theory someone has than it is to disprove it. Even though 'science' is MUCH better at disproving theories - the "scientific method," for example, cannot replace the hypotheses but can only (in)validate them.

Some pretty technical stuff in the book but still highly accessible.

If you want to think about how you think, that is.
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