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Buy Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. Irrational beliefs and behaviours are virtually universal. In this iconoclastic book Stuart Sutherland analyses causes of irrationality and examines why we are. Stuart Sutherland’s hilarious dissection of everyday reasoning, Irrationality, should be in bedside cabinets the world over, says Nicholas Lezard.

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sutnerland So you wont’ get exposure to the latest developments on de This is the first pop science book on rationality Sutherlxnd ever read, and it made a great impression on me.

Any decision a person makes is clouded by all these things. As humans, we consider ourselves to be distinguished from other animals by our capacity for rational thought. I guess I was using one of the irrational thought processes he described – the “halo effect”, which when applied to irrationlaity, means that when I saw that he was completely wrong in some thing he vehemently defended, it made me look at the rest of his book in a negative light.

Jun 29, David Wen rated it liked it. Other editions – View all Irrationality: The morals at the end of his chapter on obedience are: This book was irraionality published inbut don’t let that put you off – the topics are more relevant today than ever before, particularly given the way we appear to be sliding head-first into another age of unreason.

In this iconoclastic book Stuart Sutherland analyses causes of irrationality and examines why we are irrational, the different kinds of irrationality, the damage it does us and the possible cures. Nevertheless very readable and informative. I noticed right away some very irrstionality factual errors that, at times, by light of new evidence that has since been gathered, completely defeat the points being given by the author.

Reason to be cheerful

Rather it responds, most of the time unconsciously to social incentives. Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. It was too patronizing, and the author seemed to have personal vendettas against some members of society, namely feminists, members of the medical profession, and psychologists who do social experiments.


If you see a correlation between A and B and conclude that A must have ’caused’ B, if you’re prone to seeing strange coincidences and suspect that last night’s dream managed to predict irrqtionality event from today, then this book is for suthegland. And with Sutherland, clarity of thought and clarity of expression are one. How do we decide which car to buy and which person to trust?

Sutherland spends roughly half the book explaining the different types of irrationality and then uses the remainder to highlight how these work in practice. The book is full of conclusions that are fairly obvious to skeptics and represent hard to convey truths in practice. Sutherland has written a satisfying little book that opens the door to being slightly less irrational than we would have been.

Of course, this is now more than twenty years old the first edition dates fromand probably nowadays there are many eqivalent books, but this one gives a good overview of many common pitfalls in decision making, illustrating many cognitive biases: The material is quite good as a survey of various human tendencies to make irrational decisio I didn’t realize this is a reprint of a work that is 20 years old, but it’s still quite relevant.

Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland

Will the aeroplane get off the ground, and if it does will it stay up? I would not apply that word to many instances of behavior in the book. We’re not always rational, no, and neither should we be. A very surprising consequence is that we seek confirmation of our own opinions of ourselves, even when they are derogatory.

Related, but different, is conformity, behaving in the same way as one’s peers. Let’s not ignore the rest of the studies who say otherwise.

In medicine, a similar technique is QALY, the quality-adjusted life year. Good companion to Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow”.

The brain is an excellent pattern recognition device. Is it because of the way the brain works, or is it because of our schooling, society norms or culture? People are also ruled by past experiences and learning, emotions, values, instinct and desires. The book summarizes studies done by others in the field in a fairly concise package. We make emotional decisions and then convince ourselves they were carefully reasoned. The book was engaging, interesting, and at points humorous.


A prolific columnist and contributor to the New York Times, he is best known for his books Irrationality and Breakdown.

It’s not a book delivered in a modern street-smart colloquial but in a highly literate, cultured voice: He stayed at Oxford for his DPhil which he took in zoology under the supervi British PsychologistNorman Stuart Sutherland irratiomality March — 8 Novemberalways known professionally as Stuart Sutherland, was a British psychologist and irraitonality.

Jul 07, Elif rated it liked it. Of similar difficulty is the ability to identify cause irrayionality effect. And yet there is plentiful and growing evidence of irrationality in human thinking and behaviour. I was given this book by a friend on Christmas, and Irrationalitt started reading it soon afterward, but unfortunately had to stop for a couple of months and just recently finished it. The entirety of the rest of the book is excellent however, and the discussion especially focused on the practical implications of the psychological studies discussed.

In those instances Irrationality reveals itself as very much a book of its time, when the neo-classical economics with its idea that money is an adequate and the only needed measure of everything was at its peak. E le conseguenze possono essere gravi o addirittura catastrofiche.

His language is elegant and understated. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre teaches how to read and interpret health reporting, while The Tiger that Isn’t by Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot tries to rectify human shortcomings in statistical reasoning. By assuming that using a purely economic calculus of costs and profits is the only rational way to run an organisation, he undermines his original assertion that there is no way to define a rational goal.

As a consequence, organizations, particularly public ones, tend to make irrational decisions. For most of the book, Sutherland is a master with the juicy anecdote, although the book sags in the middle as he abandons real world examples in favour of that boring, over familiar, Person A, Person B, Person C scenario.