Friday, July 31, 2015

How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life---Reviewed

Author Thomas Gilovich finely crafted a well-written an entertaining read; focusing on the common errors human beings make when trying to comprehend the world around them, and form opinions. Humans try to make order out of chaos, even when there is no order; we filter what we hear according to our own biases. This distorts our perception of reality as systematic errors. As you read more Gilovich continues to sets up topics about ESP “Psychics?” and Homeopathy “alternative medicines” all in a very readable way with reasonable but not scientific studies for each topic. He then proceeds to present examples of just a few erroneous beliefs and their consequences. The obvious con to this book however is that there are no reputable studies presented; so personal opinion can lead you to agree or disagree when reading about the case studies. Despite this Gilovich presents the reader with great information that can be applied broadly to our personal realities and biases, formed from remembering and reinterpreting a mindful of selective evidence. 

After this read you may choose to make discrete life changes as I have. Personally when I gamble I will now keep my whit’s about me and not allow my mind to be misdirected by random events such as the "clustering illusion" that leads many to believe in the hot hand or spot at the blackjack table. Gilovich’s book made me personally more aware of how the mind applies bias and compounds error through our active imaginations creating theories almost automatically for why there should be order. Because of this I am personally more careful when drawing conclusions based on apparent sequence, and so should you be. Correlation is not causation!!! Take a look at the figures presented by Tyler on this site:

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