Blunder: Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions
We all make bad decisions. It's part of being human. The resulting mistakes can be valuable, the story goes, because we learn from them. But do we? Historian Zachary Shore says no, not always, and he has a long list of examples to prove his point.
From colonialism to globalization, from gender wars to civil wars, or any circumstance for which our best solutions backfire, Sh...more
To succeed as a historian, you must become acutely sensitive to how other people think, to discover why they did something in the first place.
Douglas Feith, assistant to the US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was one of the principal architects of the USA w ...more
With all that magnetism, I still approach books like this with trepidation. In this case I enjoyed the book all the way to the end. Although Shore doe ...more
Shore does present some theories on that score. He talks about "causefusion," his coined word for confusion about causation. He talks about "infomisering" and "infoavoiding," two more coined words for keeping too much secret and for ignoring inconvenient truths. He talks about ...more
"Bad decisions are those that turn out badly, good decisions are those that turn out well."
All of the terms and labels that are supposed to identify bad decision-making are vague enough to essentially translate to "don't make bad decisions." Frequently in the later chapters he'll be describing how someone made a great decision by avoiding the pitfall Shore is currently describing while in the back of your head ...more
The author is a professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, and also at UC Berkeley. Obviously a man with a foot in two different worlds. Also, an historian with a deep knowledge of the history of blunders down through the ages. For this book, he categorizes them into several broad categories. It's kind of like a taxonomy of stupid decisions.
Here's a bit of a spoiler: this book is about the war in Iraq and how we got into ...more
Opening the book with the perilous err of Thomas Edison in not listening to his employee by the name Nikola Tesla (you may have heard of him) sparks (twat a pun!) it off with some historical drama and doesn't look back. Mr Shore I may be taking you(r) books to bed more often if this keeps up.
I enjoyed the other chapters much more where Shore used examples from history, obviously something he ...more
It talks about cognition traps faced by competent people, like blind spots and choking and not because of lack of skill/expertise. I think everyone suffers from them. There are (a) exposure anxiety (b) causation confusion (c) flatview (d) cure-allism (e) infomania (f) mirror imaging and (g) static cling.
I would think the book deserves 5 stars if only the author talks more on the solution part, which he modestly calls guidelines (jam-packed ...more
But I am not really sure that even if we know about cognition traps, we can prevent ourselves from being trapped by them. There will always be blind spots caused by our belief systems and the peo ...more
It w ...more