Decision Traps: Ten Barriers to Brilliant Decision-Making and How to Overcome Them Paperback – 1 Oct 1990
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J knew about my training (in Decision Analysis, at Stanford), and was embarrassed to admit after one of his superb talks I heard when visiting Cornell, that all was totally derivative. I knew that, but J just walked up to say it. He was, by the way, the best speaker I have ever seen.
So, derivative?!? Well, yes and no. First, had you really comprehended Khaneman and Tversky's "Prospect Theory" article in Enonometrica, then later read some of Richard Thaler's then-floundering attempts to apply the concepts to how we actually DO, unaided, unchallenged, unaware of cognitive biases actually TEND to make what are at heart irrational choices, you start to really appreciate this book.
It is an easy read for anyone with a solid 10-th grade education, though means a lot more to those with more life-experience. J brings out, in superb prose, how, where, and why we so badly mess up. At times, he suggests ways we can correct for this. That he and his co-author so clearly write about our cognitive, seriously important flaws in unaided decision-making is fantastic; he lucidly translates esoteric and then-disjointed ideas deep within "the Ivory Tower" (which it ain't, and certainly isn't "Ivory" if you don't get tenure, and is actually hell to work in if you do).
Short of getting a PhD either at Stanford's EES department, or at Duke's b-school with Jim Smith, I cannot recommend this more highly.
I started what, as best I know, the first REQUIRED Decision Analysis course in an MBA program is the USA, while a prof at U of Rochester's B-school. I used my own notes, later a manuscript (along with my stuff) by Bob Clemen, then at U of Oregon, later at Duke, now retired, likely sipping some home-brewed beer. Some of us are pretty crazy about how people casually make decisions, and how we, when things get really serious, SHOULD be making decisions. "Decision Traps" has a nice span, in that it shows common mistakes, and at times gives one suggestions as to how to improve things, It is NOT a course into the serious mathematics one needs for the major decisions, yet upon reading it, you will definitely improve your own awareness of the craziness you and others make when coming to "conclusions"/
This is a book to read, slowly, and then to re-read every so often. J is that good.
The book is getting quite dated - being near 20 years old at this point - but the material in it is still relevant as it is based on human cognition, and that is reasonably slow to change. It is a worthwhile read.