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Sheep don’t read barcodes

Glen Newey: ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’, 22 March 2012

Thinking, Fast and Slow 
by Daniel Kahneman.
Allen Lane, 499 pp., £25, November 2011, 978 1 84614 055 6
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... through our having the wrong thoughts. Human cogitative failure is a many-splendoured beast, which Daniel Kahneman has devoted his life to studying. Some goofs prove popular enough to put paid to any very sanguine view of evolutionary cognitive ascent. Humans are dab hands at some tasks, such as acquiring language and matching patterns. But we suck at ...

Nudged

Jamie Martin: Nudge Theory, 27 July 2017

The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed the World 
by Michael Lewis.
Allen Lane, 362 pp., £25, December 2016, 978 0 241 25473 8
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... It was led by Zvi Lanir, a political scientist and official at the Israeli foreign ministry, and Daniel Kahneman, who taught at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and had spent the war, along with his colleague Amos Tversky, in a unit of psychologists embedded with the IDF and tasked with studying troop morale in the Sinai. Lanir and ...

Think about it

John Allen Paulos, 11 March 1993

Irrationality: The Enemy Within 
by Stuart Sutherland.
Constable, 357 pp., £14.95, November 1992, 0 09 471220 4
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... widespread in the media. This disposition, first described by the psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, is merely a strong tendency to make judgments or evaluations in light of the first thing that comes to mind (is ‘available’ to the mind). Are there more words with ‘r’ as a first letter or as a third letter? What about ‘k’? Most ...

The Four Degrees

Paul Kingsnorth: Climate Change, 23 October 2014

Don’t Even Think about It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change 
by George Marshall.
Bloomsbury, 272 pp., £20, October 2014, 978 1 62040 133 0
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This Changes Everything: Capitalism v. The Climate 
by Naomi Klein.
Allen Lane, 576 pp., £20, September 2014, 978 1 84614 505 6
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... but then, neither can anyone else. Reading these books back to back, I’m inclined to side with Daniel Kahneman, whom Marshall spoke to in a noisily oblivious New York café. Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for his work on the psychology of human decision-making, which may be why he’s so gloomy. ‘This is not what you ...

Don’t join a union, pop a pill

Katrina Forrester: ‘The Happiness Industry’, 22 October 2015

The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Wellbeing 
by William Davies.
Verso, 314 pp., £16.99, May 2015, 978 1 78168 845 8
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... the collective, and are more directly concerned with psychological experience. The psychologist Daniel Kahneman defines ‘objective happiness’ at a given moment as the extent to which you want the experience you are having at that point to continue. ‘Subjective wellbeing’ is a broader metric, encompassing ‘general satisfaction with life’ and ...

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