Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking
Richard E. Nisbett
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Scientific and philosophical concepts can change the way we solve problems by helping us to think more effectively about our behavior and our world. Surprisingly, despite their utility, many of these tools remain unknown to most of us.
In Mindware, the world-renowned psychologist Richard E. Nisbett presents these ideas in clear and accessible detail, offering a tool kit for better thinking and wiser decisions. He has made a distinguished career of studying and teaching such powerful problem-solving concepts as the law of large numbers, statistical regression, cost-benefit analysis, sunk costs and opportunity costs, and causation and correlation, probing how best to teach others to use them effectively in their daily lives. In this groundbreaking book, he shows that a course in a given field--statistics or economics, for example--often doesn't work as well as a few minutes of more practical instruction in analyzing everyday situations. Mindware shows how to reframe common problems in such a way that these powerful scientific and statistical concepts can be applied to them. The result is an enlightening and practical guide to the most powerful tools of reasoning ever developed--tools that can easily be used to make better professional, business, and personal decisions.
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The conscious mind has enough to do without also having to be aware of mental processes that are producing the needed inferences and behavior. To say that there’s no direct awareness of mental processes is not to say that we’re usually wrong about what goes on behind the scenes. Often, maybe usually, I can say with justified confidence what were the most important stimuli I was attending to, and why I behaved as I did. I know that I swerved the car to avoid hitting the squirrel. I know that the
up a portion of your salary. A sensible choice architecture for savings plans would not require people to opt in, which after all takes little more effort than checking a box, but would have an opt-out default, which requires even less energy than that. You are enrolled in the plan unless you ask not to be. In one plan, the opt-in approach resulted in scarcely more than 20 percent enrollment three months after starting the job and only 65 percent after three years on the job. Automatic
represents the intersections of letters that are found in Greek (top left), Latin (top right), and Russian (bottom). I defy you to reach the correct conclusion about overlap of categories solely by means of verbal propositions about categories. In any case, I’m sure I would end up merely with alphabet soup. This is not enough on Venn diagrams to set you up for a very wide range of problems, but it gives you some of the basics on how to represent category inclusions and exclusions pictorially.
Tversky and his colleagues told physicians about the effects of surgery versus radiation for a particular type of cancer.21 They told some physicians that, of 100 patients who had the surgery, 90 lived through the immediate postoperative period, 68 were still alive at the end of a year, and 34 were still alive after five years. Eighty-two percent of physicians given this information recommended surgery. Another group of physicians were given the “same” information but in a different form. The