Top critical review
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Superficial help for the hapless
on 6 October 2013
If you're the sort of person who accepts advice from random strangers on the Internet; if you hadn't realized that checking Facebook every twenty minutes disrupts your work pattern; if you are shocked to learn that politicians and advertisers choose emotive words to influence your decisions; if you've never suspected that extremely confident people know less than people who are cautious in their claims; if you blindly accept the word of anyone who is labelled an "expert" - then this book is for you.
But if that list seems like a set of pretty self-evident errors, then this book is not going to transform your life or decision-making.
And Hertz doesn't seem to be very good at practising what she preaches - we're told time and again that "studies show" something or other about cognition or decision-making, but we're never offered a critical appraisal of the studies in question, explaining why we should believe what they say. And we're offered a silly "mindfulness exercise" (examining a raisin) which Hertz claims can help make us more observant - but with no evidence to support that surprising claim.
I give this three stars because there's a wealth of amusing anecdote, a reference list for people who actually want to do the reading and decide for themselves whether they believe what Hertz has to say, and a short chapter on maths which flags some important information about data interpretation. Otherwise, two stars.