How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life

Overview

Thomas Gilovich offers a wise and readable guide to the fallacy of the obvious in everyday life.

When can we trust what we believe—that "teams and players have winning streaks," that "flattery works," or that "the more people who agree, the more likely they are to be right"—and when are such beliefs suspect? Thomas Gilovich offers a guide to the fallacy of the obvious in everyday life. Illustrating his points with examples, and supporting them with the latest research findings, ...

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Overview

Thomas Gilovich offers a wise and readable guide to the fallacy of the obvious in everyday life.

When can we trust what we believe—that "teams and players have winning streaks," that "flattery works," or that "the more people who agree, the more likely they are to be right"—and when are such beliefs suspect? Thomas Gilovich offers a guide to the fallacy of the obvious in everyday life. Illustrating his points with examples, and supporting them with the latest research findings, he documents the cognitive, social, and motivational processes that distort our thoughts, beliefs, judgments and decisions. In a rapidly changing world, the biases and stereotypes that help us process an overload of complex information inevitably distort what we would like to believe is reality. Awareness of our propensity to make these systematic errors, Gilovich argues, is the first step to more effective analysis and action.

Gilovich illustrates his points with vivid examples and supports them with the latest research findings in a wise and readable guide to the fallacy of the obvious in everyday life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780029117064
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1993
  • Edition description: 1st Free Press Paperback Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 190,800
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Gilovich is a professor of psychology at Cornell University and author of How We Know What Isn't So. He lives in Ithaca, New York.

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    What’s wrong with a few questionable beliefs? You sold me

    What’s wrong with a few questionable beliefs? You sold me in the introduction with the rhinoceros and black bear.

    This is a fascinating book with a lot to teach about disastrous reasoning. I have been guilty many times in my life of knowing what isn’t so. This book provided important insights into why I have exercised poor judgment in the past having thought all the angles were covered. This is a very relevant book for those in management. If you want to improve your skills, I would put this book on the top ten lists. While not a management tome per se, it is actually much more useful than 90% of the current management books on the market. Back by solid science from cognitive and social psychologists it provides ample ammunition for those knuckleheads that need to be convinced that their instincts are often wrong.

    As a management consultant with a focus in leadership, I found this book to be a wealth of useful information. Adding Gilovich’s insights into my leadership classes has enhanced and deepened the training.

    I hope you find this review helpful.

    Michael L. Gooch, SPHR – Author of Wingtips with Spurs

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2001

    A Must Read!

    I completely agree with Mr. Kahn. I'd love to buy this book for the whole world to read. It provides fascinating insight into why we believe the things we do. Gilovich is a psychologist, I think, but he writes in a way everyone can understand and with a style everyone can enjoy. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2000

    I LOVE this book!

    Gilovich has done something extremely important with this book: He makes you LESS confident in your own perception. That may seem like a bad thing, but it has positive consequences in everyday life: When you're in an argument with your spouse, it is a very good thing to be LESS certain you're right. When you are depressed, it is crucial that you question your own thoughts and doubt the validity of your negative beliefs. With good examples from research, Gilovich shows how a function of our minds that normally makes us so intelligent can make us unintelligent. For example, our ability to generalize from a few instances makes us intelligent. It is a function that the artificial intelligence people find difficult to put into a computer. So the computers have a certain degree of stupidity because they can't generalize very well. However, our minds are so good at generalizing, we sometimes OVERgeneralize, and that leads to false conclusions, and some of those conclusions have consequences. I'm the author of the book, Self-Help Stuff That Works, and I'm an expert on self-help. How We Know What Isn't So will give you an important understanding of your own mind that will help you greatly to improve your life. I highly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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