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Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  659 ratings  ·  125 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, 464 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 3.68  · 
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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
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
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
May 17, 2021 rated it did not like it
A boring, in many cases misleading, simplification of concepts decision scientists, machine learning engineers, and statisticians have known and systematically studied for decades in far more detail than these authors do. The authors are out of their depth here and contribute nothing new to the conversation. Their folk, popular-press series of books have grown tired and at this point seem mostly like money-making machines for them in which they restate the obvious and botch the nuances and state ...more
Gary Moreau
We all know that people, including the experts, are poor at predicting the future and that every judgment is potentially full of error and bias. This book attempts to explain why and what can be done about it.

“Noise is the unwanted variability of judgments, and there is too much of it.” I personally think “static” would be the better descriptor but terminology is clearly an author’s prerogative. And there is no question that there is a lot of error in the judicial system, medical diagnosis, ins
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
Apr 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
Would we all be better off if we got rid of human judges and used algorithms to make decisions? Most of us would say “No,” but this book might make some of us change our minds. There are many examples in the book, but let’s look at doctors. There is some evidence that entering symptoms, medical history, etc into an algorithm would give more consistently good diagnoses than human doctors provide. Why? The book gives many reasons but a couple are that doctors are more likely to order follow up dia ...more
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
May 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
A good book based on better judgment, reducing noise and reducing bias. Though ideas presented in book are not new but description of some concepts and why trap happens are indeed good.

So book mainly covers points on - types of noise present- pattern, level, occasional noise

Various biases and noise involved when u are in group, and effective way to come out of it.

I love points on information cascade, social pressure and group polarization.

It also talks about bias involved while predicting, fo
Julian Schrittwieser
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 28, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebk
Once again, I was dazzled by the name of the author and somehow, apart from a few novelties, I found myself scrolling through pages that repeated the same content several times, without it being new in itself. I must also admit that, not for the first time, I think that the author is unnecessarily long when the same concept is clear after a hundred pages (if not before). So this is a book that I would recommend only to those who are totally unfamiliar with the subject.

Anche stavolta mi sono fat
Ben Rogers
May 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating read.

So happy to see the great Kahneman back writing again after how much I enjoyed Thinking, Fast and Slow.

This book had some excellent realizations and lessons in it. Specifically beneficial for leaders and decision makers.

I found the information very well researched and laid out.

Definitely got a lot out of reading this book.

Jun 15, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting concepts. I never thought about that before. But I hoped that this book would go a little bit deeper into the idea.
Joseph L.
Watch a detailed review along with my favorite ideas and takeaways at:
Erdal Aral
Apr 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ff, noise
Excellent , good recipes for not making wrong judgements.
Jun 10, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: decisionmaking
Leaving aside the shoddy research they mentioned, which never replicated (hungry judges whose sentences were affected by the time of the day, etc)...

Leaving aside the confidence with which they claim to have discovered a new land of noise (which is simply not true, as many have wondered about this before)...

Leaving aside the fact that they use math and statistics that they don't understand...

I got to around page 60, where the authors outline their "Noise equation" and decided to stop reading
Nur Fatihah (fatihahreads)
3.7 stars ⭐️

Noises are everywhere in judgement. Whether you are choosing your favourite book or making a decision to put someone in jail, there's always noise in your judgement, and surprisingly, i learnt in this book how silent the noises actually are, and how oblivious we are towards them! (Did you know that even weather unconsciously changes the way we make decisions?)

This book opened my eyes to the existence of technological advancement in even the simplest decision making nowadays. This boo
Jun 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow" has stayed with me and I think "Noise" will as well. It is necessary reading--not especially enjoyable--but satisfying because after reading it you know you have been introduced to serious thinking about an important issue. Noise is about unwanted variability in human judgments. "Judgment should not be confused with thinking. It is a much narrower concept: Judgment is a form of measurement in which the instrument is a human mind." The book builds on "Thinking ...more
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
Jun 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
My initial impression was that I enjoyed the book, and felt like I learned enough to give it a 4 star rating. But then I started to wonder if perhaps my rating were actually the result of Noise, such as: the reputations of the authors, and other good reviews that I’ve read here.

So I sought a second opinion from myself, and decided that the book was kind of a dry review of my University statistics courses. I liked statistics though, so I still gave it a 3 star rating.

I then averaged the 2 ratings
Chris Brady
Jun 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
If Thinking Fast and Slow explains the whole Universe, then Noise seeks to give understanding to Black Holes.

Deep, dark, and hard to conceptualise.

Kahnneman, Sibony and Sunnstein navigate this concept in an exemplary manner.

As practical as it is theoretical.

A great read from some of the best mind of our day.
Zhivko Kabaivanov
Noise (2021) is an exploration into the chaotic and costly role that randomness plays in human judgment.

By uncovering the mechanisms behind how our minds and societies work, the authors show how noise – unwanted variability in decisions – is both inescapable and elusive.

We can, however, with a few solid strategies, make our judgments less noisy and our world fairer.

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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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