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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting counterpoint to Kahneman and Tversky
This is an interesting counterpoint to the heuristics and biases literature, best summarised in Daniel Kahneman's recent "Thinking, Fast and Slow", which lists the systematic errors that people make in decision making.

Gigerenzer has a much sunnier view of heuristics (the technical term for shortcuts in decision-making), pointing out how decisions can actually...
Published on 5 Feb 2012 by DigiTAL

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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but ultimately disappointing
I bought this on the recommendation of a reviewer of "Blink", but I'm disappointed to say that it suffers from similar flaws. Early in the first chapter, Gigerenzer appears to frame the question that the book will try to answer: "...the real question is not *if* but *when* can we trust our guts?" However, no clear answer to this question is then proffered. The research...
Published on 13 Mar 2010 by M. Kelly


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting counterpoint to Kahneman and Tversky, 5 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making (Paperback)
This is an interesting counterpoint to the heuristics and biases literature, best summarised in Daniel Kahneman's recent "Thinking, Fast and Slow", which lists the systematic errors that people make in decision making.

Gigerenzer has a much sunnier view of heuristics (the technical term for shortcuts in decision-making), pointing out how decisions can actually be improved by focusing on less information. His two most persuasive examples are how to catch a ball (keep your eyes on the ball and run so the angle is constant), and dealing with potential heart attack sufferers (provide a simple check-list with clear instructions for doctors to follow). In both these cases simplicity trumps more complex decision making.

Gigerenzer also provides explanations for two of the most well-known anomalies in Kahneman's and Tversky's work. The "Linda the feminist bank-teller" problem (Google it if you haven't heard of it), and "framing effects". The Linda anomaly is removed by a very simplistic rephrasing of the question, while Gigerenzer points out that in framing, linguistic phrases with the same logical meaning can contain cues about what someone is thinking.

But not all of Gigerenzer's examples are so persuasive. For example, he points out that portfolios of stocks based on the companies that individuals of the public recognise the best outperform mutual funds created by investment professionals. Gigerenzer argues that in this case the "recognition heuristic" is a powerful one. But there are much simpler explanations. If the stock market is "efficient", then any portfolio of similar risk would have equal odds of outperforming. A dart-throwing monkey would have as good a chance of beating the professionals. By now it's well-known that the best way to beat the City is to put all your money in low-cost index funds which buy-and-hold the entire stock market at minimal cost (see John Bogle).

Gigerenzer says these heuristics are nature's solution to specific problems over millions of years of evolution. The question then is, how valid are they for the much-changed world of today? Yes, we might be good at catching balls, but are we good at handling situations of risk and uncertainty? And do we handle problems over time well, such as dieting and saving for retirement? The answer for me has to be a resounding no to those last two questions. Nonetheless, this book has challenged my previous view that all heuristics are bad.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Using Intuition to Making a Complex World Simple, 6 Dec 2009
By 
Andrew Dalby "ardalby" (oxford) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making (Paperback)
Gigerenzer has written a book based on his startling experimental results that should change the way that all of us think and how all of us make decisions. He calls for a return to using our intuitive sides and demonstrates how this is much more efficient than the current trend to excessive rationalisation.

He uses some rules that I use myself to make decisions, when I know that my unconscious mind already knows what I want to do but he makes the reasons why these methods work concrete and shows that they are based on our evolution. Perhaps the most shocking result for my colleagues are that Bayesian reasoning - the ultimate rational sledge-hammer can be out-performed or at least equaled by these intuitive rules.

The sections on medical decision are very controversial and I am sure there are those who would argue strongly against them particularly his views on screening but overall it is an excellent and readable account of the field that would be useful to anyone involved in decision making or marketing in any business.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Humans Make Decisions, 2 Jun 2009
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Mr. Stephen Rothwell "Steve Rothwell" (Reading, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making (Paperback)
It seems trite to say that this book is thought provoking but it is. On one level it helps you explore how in some circumstances you can make better, quicker decisions. At a deeper level it makes you call into question just who you thought you were. When asked, we expound at length about how we consider every possible angle and detail before carefully weighing it all up to arrive at the perfect decision. In reality it appears we often actually bypass the rationalising intellect - I suspect if we stop and experience this we come to realise we probably always knew this was how we actually did it. The conscious thinking part often comes after the fact, to justify to ourselves and others what we do instinctively.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but ultimately disappointing, 13 Mar 2010
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M. Kelly - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making (Paperback)
I bought this on the recommendation of a reviewer of "Blink", but I'm disappointed to say that it suffers from similar flaws. Early in the first chapter, Gigerenzer appears to frame the question that the book will try to answer: "...the real question is not *if* but *when* can we trust our guts?" However, no clear answer to this question is then proffered. The research and anecdotes which follow are interesting in themselves (to a point), but the book would benefit from Gigerenzer commencing each example with a clear statement of the proposition(s) that he seeks to draw from it (and how those propositions contribute to answering the core question).

The later chapters are weaker, with Gigerenzer introducing a number of topics with no clear thread running through them (yes it's very interesting that the Berlin Wall fell due to a rumour that it had already fallen, but what does that have to do with the rest of the book?). He also drops the odd clanger e.g. "Your brother shares half of your genes...". The correct answer is between c.99% and 100% and, even if you ignore the commonality of genes in unrelated humans and focus on direct chromosomal inheritance, the answer is between 0% and 100% (depending principally on the lottery of meiosis). To draw the conclusion that "...from your genes' point of view, the lives of two brothers are as good as yours, but those of three are better" is therefore questionable at best.

Some obvious questions arising from the research go unanswered. For example, Magistrates' decision making: why is it not the case that there exist high correlation rates with decisions of prosecutors/police because there are strong underlying reasons for the prior decision(s) (or indeed one good reason, which Gigerenzer tells us is often enough). The researchers in question may have dealt with that point, but Gigerenzer needs to explain this if he wants to persuade the critical reader of his hypothesis (without having to refer to other materials). One might think, conversely, that there would be something seriously wrong with our criminal justice system if there wasn't such a correlation (e.g. prosecutors/police frequently seeking to deny bail where such denial is not warranted in the circumstances). If one asserts a sweeping conclusion that Magistrates are primarily interested in covering their backsides rather than protecting the community and doing justice (and are failing to comply with the law in doing so), one needs to be a little more rigorous than that!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ambiguous title - check before buying, 3 Mar 2010
This review is from: Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making (Paperback)
This is a well written and researched book and will appeal to a lot of people but if, like me, you were steered towards it because of interest in 'intuitive' practices in the corporate world look elsewhere.

The work is not about utilising real intuition in decision making but in identifying the range of subconscious and non-verbal cues which account for impressions that are sometimes mistaken for intuition. Usually only to a rationalist without sufficient right brain development (and no experience of intuition) does that mean one and the same.

If you are interested in non-intuitive, quick decision making or do not believe in intuition then you will find that it is a well expressed, coherent and enjoyable book. However the title is misleading, had I followed my true gut feelings I would have left this one alone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond rationality/irrationality, 1 Aug 2011
This review is from: Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making (Paperback)
Gerd is a genius, and makes clear how we all use rules of thumb (heuristics) to get through life. In fact, they often work better than a carefully thought out 'rational' approach. Brilliant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gut Feelings, 12 Mar 2010
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R. SLATER - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making (Paperback)
One of my best reads of 2009. This is the science behind the more journalistic 'Blink'. Short and well written without dumbing down and shows why 'instrumentalism' is a dead end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars two aspects, 24 May 2013
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This review is from: Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making (Paperback)
Very good on its critical side, bringing out the shortcomings of received wisdoms.The points are made clearly, with striking and memorable examples to illustrate them.
Much less satisfactory in its rather clumsy attempts at theorizing. What is presented as "theory" is vague and rather vacuous, with some evident misformulations due to an apparent contempt for fine logical distinctions.
willow
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opener1, 25 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making (Paperback)
A stunning and deeply emotive read. Which makes me compelled to take a second look at things now and not to take what I read in the papers, watch on TV etc, at face value. If ever I have come across a 'wake up' book, THIS IS IT!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting insights, 4 Oct 2011
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Amazon Customer (Wellington, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making (Paperback)
This is a straightforward read for a lay person, but it comes with an impeccable academic pedigree. Herr Gigerenzer makes his points convincingly and succinctly in this thought provoking book. I enjoyed reading it.

Throughout the book interesting explanations are given about practical decisions; bringing theory to life and prompts personal reflection. For example, why did a group of middle class, middle aged men murder over a thousand women and children when they were given the opportunity not to do it? Why are only 12% of Germans but 99.9% of their Austrian neighbours organ donors?

For me, the theme is that humans take more short cuts to make decisions than we usually realise. Sometimes we do this for good reasons; sometimes with unwanted outcomes - but often with fully understanding why. This excellent book helps reveal why we take the short cuts.
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Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making
Gut Feelings: Short Cuts to Better Decision Making by Gerd Gigerenzer (Paperback - 28 Aug 2008)
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