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Book review: Noise by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, Cass R. Sunstein

NOISE, A Flaw in Human Judgment by Daniel Kahneman/Olivier Sibony/Cass R. Sunstein, HarperCollins Publishers.
This is a very interesting study of bad judgement, which places its basic root cause, noise, under the microscope and examines it for its components, sources, influence. And then tells us how to dial down the noise for maximum positive impact on our lives.
Noise, state the authors, is to be found wherever people make judgements and decisions which, combined with bias and personal values, aid or deter the process of making a sound judgement. And of course, noise helps in `producing` errors of judgement in fields as varied as medicine, law, public health, food safety, bail verdicts, child protection, performance reviews, personnel selection. Just about everywhere, in other words.
Bias was hitherto acknowledged as the prime factor when it came to making bad judgements but has been upstaged now by noise.
A widely accepted maxim of good decision-making is that you should not mix your values and your facts. Easier said than done; the manner in which different countries responded to Covid-19 points clearly to noise in their decision-making, aver Kahneman and co.
Much is analysed in this book. Statistical thinking vs causal thinking. The scales of noise. How to de-bias. Level noise and Pattern noise. Informational cascades and its impact on noise. The algorithms of noise.
So basically, this new behavioural science work helps us identify and recognise, understand, listen to noise and reduce it to the minimum. It also shows us how to accommodate some amount of noise in such a manner that it won`t come in the way of our making proper decisions.
An interesting read which carries within it much insights.
a flaw in human judgementbehavioral sciencesCass R SunsteinDaneil KahnemanNoiseOlivier Sibony

Sheila Kumar • June 2, 2021

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