Michael Lewis: The Undoing Project [Review]

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Michael Lewis specializes in narratives about quirky individuals who zig when everyone else zags. In “Moneyball,” he tracked the astonishing success of Billy Beane, the general manager who turned the Oakland A’s from underdogs into championship contenders by relying on statistics rather than acquiring star players. His 2010 book “The Big Short” dissected how a handful of renegades foresaw the collapse of the housing market, while everyone else was pouring money into subprime mortgages.

Both books were best sellers that were adapted into major feature films. But they raised a nagging question that Mr. Lewis never fully confronted: Why do most people, from sports managers to bankers, so often overlook the data and make colossal errors based on gut instinct? Why aren’t people as data driven as Billy Beane?

In his coming book, “The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds,” which W.W. Norton & Company will release this December, Mr. Lewis finally tackles that question.

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The Undoing Project – Description

The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis

Best-selling author Michael Lewis examines how a Nobel Prize–winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.

Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original studies undoing our assumptions about the decision-making process. Their papers showed the ways in which the human mind erred, systematically, when forced to make judgments about uncertain situations. Their work created the field of behavioral economics, revolutionized Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made much of Michael Lewis’s own work possible. Kahneman and Tversky are more responsible than anybody for the powerful trend to mistrust human intuition and defer to algorithms.

The Undoing Project is about the fascinating collaboration between two men who have the dimensions of great literary figures. They became heroes in the university and on the battlefield?both had important careers in the Israeli military?and their research was deeply linked to their extraordinary life experiences. In the process they may well have changed, for good, mankind’s view of its own mind.

The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis

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