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Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  6,442 ratings  ·  842 reviews
From the bestselling author of Thinking, Fast and Slow and the co-author of Nudge, a groundbreaking exploration of why most people make bad judgments, and how to control for that noise.​

Imagine that two doctors in the same city give different diagnoses to identical patients — or that two judges in the same courthouse give different sentences to people who have committed t
Hardcover, 454 pages
Published May 18th 2021 by Little, Brown Spark
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Rob Block It sounds like you are trying to prejudge a book you haven't read because it may not advance your particular agenda.…moreIt sounds like you are trying to prejudge a book you haven't read because it may not advance your particular agenda.(less)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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Rick Wilson
May 25, 2021 rated it did not like it
You know what the real lesson here is, don’t pre-order books based on the authors reputation alone. In a world filled with noise, these authors contribute to it through their generally inadequate book.

I really wanted to like this. I liked Nudge which has Cass as an author, I generally liked Thinking Fast and Slow, and I want someone who’s not Nate Silver explain signal to noise ratios to help me curate better information in my life. But this book isn’t it. This book is literally noise. Worthles
I’ve only ever come across the idea of noise in the context of information theory – something I thought this book would have made more mention of, but it didn’t, really. The idea being that the transmission of any signal is likely to involve noise (entropy being the one truly inevitable law of the universe – more than taxes, on par with death) and so figuring out ways to reduce noise ultimately depends on how important the signal is. At the start of the Life of Brian there is a perfect example. ...more
David Wineberg
Apr 14, 2021 rated it really liked it

The sheer variety of ways judgment can be clouded is mind-boggling. The more closely we examine judgments, the more noise turns up as a factor. In Noise, an A-list team of celebrity psych stars, Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass Sunstein pull together their confrères and evidence from the usual innumerable studies to delineate how bad it really is.

Noise, at least in psychology, is “unwanted variability”. In practical terms, that means even the most focused person might be swayed by unnoti
Sebastian Gebski
Jun 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is criticized primarily for 2 reasons:
* first of all, because it doesn't bring such striking mental models as System 1 and System 2 (from "Thinking ...")
* because some have expected that Kahneman will ride on SJW wave and write a book on "racial/social bias", full of political correctness, etc. (hint: it didn't happen)

Unjustly, because surprisingly this is a really good book. Seriously, if you think about this - is it even possible to write a good book, without avoiding excessive repet
Jun 15, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This reads like a required lecture. Three stars, they are all for the information I picked when it held my attention.
Rebecca A
May 25, 2021 rated it it was ok
Although interesting, the authors clearly show their bias in “Noise”. It was a disappointing book after reading the incredibly interesting and applicable “Thinking Fast and Slow”. My main concern is that they imply causation where statisticians would not claim more than correlation. Implying causation is sloppy and a bad statistical practice.

They are greatly concerned with the randomness of individual impacts to people from judgments, insurance companies, and job interviews. Although they state
David Rubenstein
Jan 24, 2022 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
Since reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman a long time ago, I thought, "wow! another book by Kahneman about psychology -- cool!"

Well, Kahneman is only one of the three authors. This book is about as boring as it could be. I highly recommend this book for people who love turgid statistics and humorless, pedantic style.

I didn't actually finish this book. I fell asleep too often to finish it.
Maher Razouk
May 20, 2021 rated it did not like it
This book was a disappointment ... I thought that it's gonna be a scientific book . But it seemed written by Malcolm Gladwell ... Its a punch of stories nothing more ...more
Angie Boyter
Mar 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Noise is bad no matter where in life we find it. In their new book Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass Sunstein say there is too much of it in our judgments and explain how noise arises and what might be done about it.
“Judgment” is not “thinking”.The book defines “judgment” as “a form of measurement in which the instrument is a human mind.” Judgments may be less than optimal due to bias, which is systematic deviation from optimal, e.g.the group’s predictions are ALWAYS overly optimistic,
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
May 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
I have been very interested in the work of the psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman since around 2000 where I came across some of the ideas around over-confidence bias on an Executive MBA at Insead, and this was only cemented with his Nobel Prize win (with Amos Tversky) in 2002.

I spent a lot of time over the years researching their work including their 2000 publication “Choices, Values and Frames” and applying the ideas (both Prospect Theory and the various heuristics and biases they iden
Майя Ставитская
The famous psychologist, economist and cognitive scientist Daniel Kahneman, known in Russia for the bestseller "Think slowly... Decide quickly" in collaboration with behavioral economics specialist Cass Sunstein and psychologist specializing in strategic decision-making Olivier Siboni wrote a scientific treatise on noise that has nothing to do with decibels.

"Noise. The imperfection of human judgments" is interesting, although not the easiest to understand non-fiction. the main theme of which is
Camelia Rose
Jul 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment is the new book by Nobel Prize winner in Economics Daniel Kahneman. His previous book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, was an eye-opener to me.

Here is my understanding of the core concepts in Noise:

A judgement is a decision made when a definite, invariant result can not be obtained at hand. Answering a school math question is not a judgement. Weather forecasting is still a judgement but it is less likely so because of our improved understanding of weather science and the
Athan Tolis
Oct 22, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business, psychology
I really have no idea who the intended audience was for this book: the authors really, really dumb it down, to the point of explaining what variance is over several pages of prose. We did not all fail high school.

At the same time, they bring into the discussion some serious tools you won’t even meet until you get to graduate school in statistics, like the “percentage concordant,” which is not some type of supersonic airplane, but a rank correlation type of measure, and even provide a mini-table
May 17, 2021 rated it did not like it
A boring, amateur, and often misleading take on concepts that decision scientists, machine learning engineers, and statisticians have known and systematically studied for decades with far more rigor than these authors do. The authors are out of their depth here and contribute nothing new to the conversation. (For example, their "error equation," which they call the "intellectual foundation" of their book, is a basic concept taught in high school statistics.) Their folk, popular-press series of b ...more
Nick Lucarelli
May 30, 2021 rated it liked it
Doesn't add enough to "Thinking, Fast and Slow" to warrant another book. Feels like one of those books where the author gets paid for every time they use a specific word (in this case, "noise") and have said it to themselves so much it has become a cult-like world view. In this instance, noise refers to the variations in human decision making which Kahneman attributes to a mixture of situational and systemic cognitive biases that covers old territory in the behavioural psychology world. He makes ...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
I loved Thinking Fast and Slow, so I picked this book up without thinking about it. However, this was certainly not as well formulated, deep or interesting. Soemthing about the writing style felt disjointed. The thoughts were not cohesive or conclusive. For a book about Noise this felt rather noisy. It read more like a textbook or lecture than I wanted it to.
Jun 01, 2021 rated it did not like it
This is one of the worst popular press social sciences books I've ever read, and I've read many. It gets a lot wrong about what we know regarding decision-making and basic statistics. While it's true that algorithms are highly useful when applied appropriately, this book massively overstates the case in their favor while neglecting important counterpoints, among other serious problems. Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" remains one of my favorite books on research in psychology and this is an ...more
Oleksandr Zholud
This is a non-fic about the way how uneven or ‘noisy’ are a lot of decisions we all do, some quite life changing. The ‘main’ author of the trio is Nobel prize winner for economics Daniel Kahneman, whose (together with Tversky) article was in the mid-2000s the most cited in economics and who is one of the founding fathers of behavioral economics. I read it as a part of monthly reading for November 2021 at Non Fiction Book Club group.

There is a lot of talk about bias and it is definitely important
Aug 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Behavioral Decision Theory (BDT) authors of Thinking, Fast and Slow, and Nudge are the authors of this review of theory and research on errors, biases, and noise in human decision making. These are hugely important ideas that are often poorly understood by many readers, including many who should know better.

The book is well written and entertaining, with lots of examples and clear approaches for making use of these somewhat arcane ideas in our everyday decisions. Towards the end of the book,
Viktor Lototskyi
May 21, 2021 rated it liked it

This book might be interesting if you're new to the topic, but overall, there's much less food for my brain than I would expect based on the previous "Thinking, Fast and Slow"

Half of the book is describing multiple experiments that prove that people are biased and don't act rationally or make the right judgements all the time. Like, happy and fed judges do less sentencing and so on.

The rest talks that mood, weather and other factors creating noise and affect our judgements. And that's pretty mu
Debra Lowman
May 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting look at noise- anything and everything from time of day, to weather, to unconscious preconceptions- that causes inconsistencies in judgement. The authors go through several studies and cases including the judiciary branch, actuary science, and medicine and take a look at examples of noise in the decision-making processes. They call for a hygiene makeover for the way that judgments and decisions are handed down. They maintain that too much noise has permeated our society and it is a m ...more
Marcel Santos
Jul 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 05, 2021 rated it it was ok
This book was a long slog. The topic of noise (variability error —not to be confused with bias error), is important and has serious consequences on human judgements. Unfortunately, the novel insights in this book are buried within many pages of uninteresting, poorly edited text. The bottom line is that people make noisy decisions most of the time. Most of us tend to believe we make rational decisions. We tend to accept the idea that the decisions of others are often noisy but don’t believe our o ...more
Jun 30, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
Skip this book. Instead, read 'Thinking Fast and Slow' once again. ...more
Jun 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
I loved thinking fast and slow, and wanted to gobble this book up as a fast as I could. The premise which I think is convincingly argued is that humans are bad at judgements which leads to unacceptable variance. The issue is that the book is surprisingly disjointed - perhaps the multiple authors. Against the incredibly high standards of his prior book it fall short on the entertainment but not perhaps on the message.
Laura Braden
Apr 26, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2022
I want to ask Kahneman the theoretical difference between noise and chaos is. Should I email him? Maybe he is on Good Reads?

Quotes I loved:

“Regression is the workhorse of judgement and decision-making research.”
“Giving all predictors equal weight is about as accurate as proper regression models because the regression examines the data at the time of the study. If there are data with a variable that is randomly high in the data this will make it weight high, even if the variable is not causal. S
Scott Wozniak
Jul 11, 2021 rated it liked it
These three authors are giants in the field of decision making. I have five star rated other books written by two of them (Kahneman and Sunstein), so I had high hope for this one. The topic was a good one, but the style was very academic (technical wording, very few stories, etc.) and they were so careful on what the practical applications were, that they ended up being vague and unhelpful. For example, they said you could train people on how to avoid noise, but didn't say what that training ent ...more
Henri Tournyol du Clos
I should have known. Past experience has taught me that everything written or co-written by Cass Sunstein, be it papers or books, quickly turns out to be excruciatingly boring. This plodding, repetitive, and bland door-stopper is alas no exception.
May 28, 2021 rated it did not like it
disappointing .... could not finish
Daniel Sevitt
Sep 16, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Just disappointing mostly. I was really here for the Kahneman, but this had none of the verve of Thinking Fast and Slow. It seemed a little angry, with none of the life-changing insights. Just meh.
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From Wikipedia:

Daniel Kahneman (Hebrew: דניאל כהנמן‎ (born 5 March 1934) is an Israeli-American psychologist and winner of the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, notable for his work on behavioral finance and hedonic psychology.

With Amos Tversky and others, Kahneman established a cognitive basis for common human errors using heuristics and biases (Kahneman & Tversky, 1973, Kahneman, S

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