Buy Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. Irrational beliefs and behaviours are virtually universal. In this iconoclastic book Stuart Sutherland analyses causes of irrationality and examines why we are. Stuart Sutherland’s hilarious dissection of everyday reasoning, Irrationality, should be in bedside cabinets the world over, says Nicholas Lezard.

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Is it because of the way the brain works, or is it because of our schooling, society norms or culture?

This is a catalogue of wrong thinking: I can’t say I was shocked. Take one familiar example: The book summarizes studies done by others in the field in a fairly concise package. The belief that humans are, essentially, rational dates to the Greek antiquity, and although intellectual and philosophical fashions changed throughout the epochs, the capacity to reason and behave in a rational manner is often considered to be a defining characteristics of mature humanity.

Nevertheless very readable and informative.

Irrationality: The Enemy Within – Stuart Sutherland – Google Books

To alleviate this, nembers of different groups can cooperate to work towards a common goal, though this only is shown to bring people together when the goal is achieved.

Thus, they irrationally suffer a double blow – they have spent money and they endure an hour or two’s needless boredom.

A second edition of Breakdown was published in Essentially, this is groupthink.

His enthusiasm for actuarial methods of decisionmaking is inspiring in some cases, but unconvincing in others, particularly the ones where he’s forced to admit that in quite a few circumstances the more rigorous methods can’t be shown to be irrtionality effective than more intuitive ones.

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And that’s on top of what happens when obeying is central to sutheland position, like in the military, or only has consequences for outsiders, like when you are irratiknality directly confronted with the results of your actions. Probably should be considered an intro to those books and then you can delve further into whichever piques suthreland interest. Sutherland spends roughly half the book explaining the different types of irrationality and then uses the remainder to highlight how these work in practice.


Most of the examples I have read in other work, and even though this predates most of where I’ve seen it before, I found myself wishing studies would find more examples to use. Stuart Sutherland’s book examines the body of evidence for human irrationality amassed during close to half a century psychology research. It is important to observe how they are affecting us, but I would not say that it is irrational. A few of his choices of examples perhaps deliberately throw rather sharply into relief why statistical methods of decision might be a bit too heartless to be likely to be used for instance, he thinks it would be great if older pregnant women could use probability calculations to decide whether to abort a suthherland with Down’s syndrome – which perhaps it would, but I suspect it’s kind of hard to think about it in quite that way if irrationality the woman in question.

But Sutherland’s keen analysis of our propensity to self-delusion takes us into more significant areas than sticking it out through a rotten play – however much doing so may be a metaphor for larger issues.

Nicholas Lezard’s paperback choice: Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland | Books | The Guardian

Just a little harder to get ahold of. Norman Stuart Sutherland Snippet view – The enemy within, a lay reader’s guide to the psychology of cognitive biases suthrland common failures of human judgement. No time to read? Of course, Clearly something of a classic, this book has been described as a “thinking man’s self-help guide” by Ben Goldacre. Lists with This Book.

I think that a book whose main purpose is to inform should be written in a way to help the reader get an overall idea of the main topics explained. Read for free today only Start free trial to read Read now Upgrade now to read Buy book. Of course, this is now more than twenty years old the first edition dates fromand probably The book’s conclusions would appear to be just as valid in as they were 15 years ago.

Risk assessment is difficult for specialists and engineers, but nearly impossible for the general public: Preview — Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts. It probably means this review is tainted by irrationality as well. The cover of Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland. Academic attempts to hit the “trade” market have made for the creation of a capacious graveyard down the years. I myself find important that for all of us the word irrationality to mean the same so that semantic conflicts could be avoided, but it is far more important to identify all these different type of behavior to get conscience about ourselves, whether this is irrational or not.


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It does so by means of captivating and many times funny examples, mainly drawn from psychological experiments, but also from interesting historical events and common behavior. Any decision a person makes is clouded by all these things.


The habit of obedience is so ingrained that people can act out of obedience without even knowing that they are doing so. Clearly something of a classic, this book has been described as a “thinking man’s self-help guide” by Ben Goldacre.

In this book, a psychologist examines the many varieties of irrationality to which we are prone, and irrationnality complex human interactions between logic, rationality, self-deception and emotion.

Lrrationality stayed at Oxford for his DPhil which he took in zoology under the supervi British PsychologistNorman Stuart Sutherland 26 March — 8 Novemberalways known professionally as Stuart Sutherland, was a British psychologist and writer. Intuition, the failure to understand how probabilities work, and the irratuonality phenomenon of “availability” universalizing the most recent experience we can remember or alternatively the first experience, depending on whether you perceive later information as replacing or augmenting the original all conspire to help us survive, but not to be reasonable.

Of course, this is now more than twenty years old the first edition dates fromand probably They evolved, and evolution is a rather messy process: Otherwise it is just a book of commonplaces backed up by a lot of studies and anecdotes you’ve already heard about before.

If you already believe that we’re basically animals in clothes, this will not disabuse you. Anyone who wishes to learn to make better judgements and thus to take better decisions. Drawing causal conclusions from unrelated events is called illusory correlation.