First published in , Irrationality proposes, and to any reasonable mind proves, that we are for the most part credulous fools who would do well, in most circumstances, to stop and think before we go and do something stupid; for stupid things are what we often end up doing, however much we congratulate ourselves on being rational animals. Not that it is actually grim or depressing. Idiocy is, after all, funny, and the late Stuart Sutherland, despite or perhaps because of having been professor of psychology at Sussex University, had an eye for the absurdities to which we subject ourselves. There are few books about psychology that can make you laugh out loud; this is one of them. Take one familiar example: "Almost everyone reading these pages will at some time have paid money to see a bad film or a bad play.
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Mar 24, Orestes rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Anyone who wishes to learn to make better judgements and thus to take better decisions Recommended to Orestes by: Su Pezuela Shelves: interesting , non-fiction , economics , psychology This book shows a number of psychological biases during human assessment of reality which, the author claims, moves us away from taken optimal decisions.
It does so by means of captivating and many times funny examples, mainly drawn from psychological experiments, but also from interesting historical events and common behavior. The author is competent in explaining each type of irrational behavior, but the book lacks a global perspective. The instances of irrational behavior introduced in the This book shows a number of psychological biases during human assessment of reality which, the author claims, moves us away from taken optimal decisions.
The instances of irrational behavior introduced in the book could be classified into three categories: psychological biases, sociological base biases and biases due to the lack of knowledge. I think that a book whose main purpose is to inform should be written in a way to help the reader get an overall idea of the main topics explained. This book lacks such structure. A complementary negative effect of this decision is that when every single instance of irrational behavior is isolated, it is more difficult to explain the causes of the behavior.
In the last chapter the author dares to approach this issue, but at that point he can only relate single causes with single instances of behavior, missing the whole picture again. This book deals with irrationality so the author begins describing what we should understand from that word.
I would not apply that word to many instances of behavior in the book. For example, I find that the behavior based on sociological factors is not irrational.
Rather it responds, most of the time unconsciously to social incentives. It is important to observe how they are affecting us, but I would not say that it is irrational. However, the name we attach to this behavior is not as important as its identification. I myself find important that for all of us the word irrationality to mean the same so that semantic conflicts could be avoided, but it is far more important to identify all these different type of behavior to get conscience about ourselves, whether this is irrational or not.
And nevertheless, I gave it four stars out of five. The issues this book handles are essential for a better individual life and a better social engagement. They show us some biases that make our judgement poorer, and therefore our decisions. And we know so little! I would like these issues to be treated in schools so people could grow up taking better decisions.
If each person recognizes that he or she may be wrong because of some of the reasons outlined throughout the book, it might be that we could live in better harmony with each other. This is not a treatise on human irrationality, but it is an entertaining, funny and very valuable array of examples that everybody should be more conscious of.
All in all, recommended.
Stuart Sutherland Penguin, Sutherland provides a stunning survey of psychological research on irrationality, arguing that irrational behaviour is far more widespread and normal than is generally supposed. Rationality is defined thus: "Rational thinking leads to the conclusion that is most likely to be correct, given the knowledge one has What makes something available in this sense may be that it was recently experienced, or causes strong emotion, or leads to strong images being formed. See also Habit.
Reason to be cheerful
Start free Blinkist trial Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now Synopsis Irrationality is a guide to illogical decisions, unreasonable actions and irrational behavior as a whole. These blinks reveal how people tend to be more irrational than rational, examines several reasons why and offers solutions as to how we can become a little more logical in our decision making. We tend to think that human beings are deeply rational beings, and the basis for this idea can be traced back thousands of years. But this might not be true after all. When we meet a new person, we often judge them in an instant, based solely on their looks. This is both exceedingly common and totally irrational, as people often turn out to behave very differently than they appear. So, it might be rational for a young boy to climb a tree to try to touch the moon.