The Myth of Experience: Why We Learn the Wrong Lessons, and Ways to Correct Them

The Myth of Experience: Why We Learn the Wrong Lessons, and Ways to Correct Them

by Emre Soyer, Robin M Hogarth


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Experience is a great teacher . . . except when it isn't. In this groundbreaking guide, learn how the past can deceive and limit us — and how healthy skepticism can build a better world.

Our personal experience is key to who we are and what we do. We judge others by their experience and are judged by ours. Society venerates experience. From doctors to teachers to managers to presidents, the more experience the better. It's not surprising then, that we often fall back on experience when making decisions, an easy way to make judgements about the future, a constant teacher that provides clear lessons. Yet, this intuitive reliance on experience is misplaced.

In The Myth of Experience, behavioral scientists Emre Soyer and Robin Hogarth take a transformative look at experience and the many ways it deceives and misleads us. From distorting the past to limiting creativity to reducing happiness, experience can cause misperceptions and then reinforce them without our awareness. Instead, the authors argue for a nuanced approach, where a healthy skepticism toward the lessons of experience results in more reliable decisions and sustainable growth.

Soyer and Hogarth illustrate the flaws of experience — with real-life examples from bloodletting to personal computers to pandemics — and distill cutting-edge research as a guide to decision-making, as well as provide the remedies needed to improve our judgments and choices in the workplace and beyond.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541742055
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 09/01/2020
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 244,147
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Emre Soyer is a behavioral scientist and an entrepreneur. After working in and establishing several startups, he has completed his PhD in behavioral decision making. Since then, he has been conducting research and working with a variety of companies and sectors, building tools and methods to improve individual and team decisions. He's also been collaborating with business schools, including INSEAD and ESSEC in France, Cass Business School in the United Kingdom, TUM in Germany, SDA Bocconi and Politecnico di Milano in Italy, USI and St. Gallen in Switzerland, and Ozyegin University in Turkey. He currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey.

Robin Hogarth became hooked in his twenties on questions involving how people make decisions. That fascination still exists five decades later and has led to a career that, sparked by a PhD at the University of Chicago, involved academic positions at INSEAD in France, the University of Chicago, and Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, where he is currently an emeritus professor. He has published a wide range of studies on judgment and decision-making in leading scholarly journals and several books (including Educating Intuition, 2001). He has advised and inspired generations of researchers in the field of judgment and decision-making. He currently lives in Barcelona, Spain.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Experience Is a Great Teacher-Except When It Isn't 1

1 Stories That Lie: When Experience Becomes an All-Too-Simple Narrative 17

2 Lost Insights: When Experience Limits Creative Potential 41

3 Blinded To Risk: When Experience Conceals Danger 71

4 Free Choice That Isn't: When Experience Narrows Options 97

5 If It Feels Good, Do It: When Experience Erodes Integrity 125

6 Magic Bullets: When Experience Feeds Illusory Secrets of Success 145

7 Happiness Foiled: When Experience Impedes Satisfaction 171

Conclusion: The Wisdom of the Experience Coach 193

Acknowledgments 201

Notes 203

Index 241

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