- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (March 5, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0029117062
- ISBN-13: 978-0029117064
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life Reprint Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Here are points that Mr. Gilovich made:
1. Seeing Order in Randomness - We all have a natural tendency to see order in data, even when the data is totally random and irregular. We do this even when we have no personal reason to see order. This happens especially when we remember facts from the past. Our memory plays tricks on us by emphasizing any possible patterns, and forgetting irregularities that might refute the patterns. For instance, basketball players often think that if they make one successful basket, then they are more likely to make the next basket - because they remember times when this has happened to them. "When you're hot, you're hot." However, objective statistical studies done on when successful baskets are made show that, if anything, the opposite is true.
This natural tendency to misconstrue random events is called the "clustering illusion." Chance events often seem to us to have some order to them, but when the law of averages is applied objectively, this order disappears. This error is compounded when our active imagination tries to create theories for why there should be order. Because of this, we need to be careful when we draw conclusions based on a sequence we think we see in some data.
2. Looking for Confirmation - We all have a natural tendency to look for "yes" instead of "no." If we have an idea, we tend to look for evidence that will confirm our idea, not evidence that will disprove it.Read more ›
It's just the kind of book that'll make you THINK about what you're thinking. An excellent start down that path, one we all need to take. I enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. I have re-read parts of it a few times in the years since I first bought it.
Written by a social psychologist for a lay audience. It's well organized and easily digestible as long as you are willing to stop and think every so often as you read.
I'd like to see this book handed out to every new college student, or, maybe better, required reading for every high school student.
- Our misperception of random events, as in the "clustering illusions" that lead us to believe in the hot hand, for example.
- Our misunderstanding of statistical regression, which, for instance, affects our perception of the roles of reward and punishment in education.
- Our tendency to seek confirmatory information, as in the justification of our choices.
- Our inability to see what could have happened under different circumstances, as in self-fulfilling prophecies (e.g. a negative first impression or the presumed insolvency of a financial institution).
- Our own biases that make us expose inconsistent information to more critical scrutiny than consistent information.
- Asymmetries that distort what we recall and, thus, what we take into account to evaluate the validity of beliefs (as in multiple endpoints situations or one-sided events).
- Our tendency to believe what we want to believe (specially about ourselves), as if beliefs were possessions.
- The distortions present in secondhand information (a.k.a. sharpening and leveling).
- The influence of what we think others believe (and also of the inadequate feedback we often receive about that).
These limitations make us draw incorrect conclusions and bolster erroneous beliefs. Being aware of them helps us in distinguishing what we know well from what we only think is true. Just this is of utmost importance for thinking clearly. Could there be a better reason for reading this book?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If everyone read this book, the world would be a better place.Published 1 month ago by Nathan Kirch
Can't recommend this book enough - not only it explains a lot of things in every day behavior of you and me, it gives a lot of advice and insight, all backed by facts and examples,... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Denis Wolf
In this book, Thomas Gilovich aims to challenge our perception of knowing. Gilovich navigates through the book touching on many different subjects. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jordan
Artemus Ward once said, “It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we know that just ain’t so. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
In How We Know What Isn’t So, Thomas Gilovich examines how questionable and erroneous beliefs are formed and maintained. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I don't even remember buying this or where it is in my home but I'm giving it five stars for the title. I would like to find it, the idea is interestingPublished 6 months ago by Paloma Reads
Explained misleading heuristics . Gain new insight that I hope I can apply to further my academic studies in the future.Published 7 months ago by Doc Burkhart