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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, December 2016 - My team knows that I have some very obvious "author crushes" - as in, whenever I hear that one of said authors is coming out with a new release, I jump on the opportunity to listen to their book as soon as possible. Michael Lewis is one of these people. He's known for his accessible and incredibly interesting "backstage pass looks" into the inner workings of a particular industry - in my current favorites, Flash Boys and Liars' Poker, it's the world of finance - and in The Undoing Project (which is gunning for a top spot on my Michael Lewis list) it's behavioral economics...partially. It's about a friendship that completely revolutionized what is known as "Big Data" and increased the use and reliability of algorithms. Dennis Boutsikaris, with his clear and knowing voice, does an incredible job of highlighting the conversational tone Michael Lewis is known for. —Laura, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

Best-selling author Michael Lewis examines how a Nobel Prize-winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.

Forty years ago Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original studies undoing our assumptions about the decision-making process. Their papers showed the ways in which the human mind erred systematically when forced to make judgments about uncertain situations. Their work created the field of behavioral economics, revolutionized Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made much of Michael Lewis' own work possible. Kahneman and Tversky are more responsible than anybody for the powerful trend to mistrust human intuition and defer to algorithms.

The Undoing Project is about the fascinating collaboration between two men who have the dimensions of great literary figures. They became heroes in the university and on the battlefield - both had important careers in the Israeli military - and their research was deeply linked to their extraordinary life experiences. In the process they may well have changed for good mankind's view of its own mind.

©2016 Michael Lewis (P)2016 Simon & Schuster

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dennis boutsikaris has a terrific voice.

paired with lewis' trademarked smart story telling, Dennis' reading is perfect. the best of audio books..

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Not what i expected


I think that what most people love about Michael Lewis is his attention to detail.

This book goes into the deep thoughts between two Israeli doctors as they discover psychology of the "irrational"consumer.

My comments to Michael Lewis will be, great job on the research and the writing! You're an artist the way that you put things together.

I expected more details about their research and the data which was collected. There were just a couple of times where I was not clear about what their research was trying to represent. I feel like I need to go back and listen to the book again.

Overall I loved the story of the meaningful purpose between these two men as i have read other books which often quote their work. It is interesting to know about the sweat and tears behind their success.

35 of 43 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating

have to let my historian friend listen. he is always so sure of himself. I'm an engineer and we always need to understand that nothing is 100%. now I know why I always thought that people that were so sure were generally full of it.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Amazing insight into an amazing partnership

Any additional comments?

4.5 stars. Absolutely wonderful. Michael Lewis successfully blends two biographies, an intellectual love story (there really is no other way to describe the Kahneman/Tversky partnership), astute sketches of the work they did (in heuristics and biases), and how the partnership had ripple effects in a myriad of areas (from economics to psychology, from medicine to the military, and beyond). The book moves at a brisk pace, never dull, and fleshes out the men behind the scientific work. This vantage point into where Kahneman and Tversky came from, the events that shaped them, their intellectual make-ups, and the alchemy of their partnership is a real treat. This added depth to the scientists only makes me appreciate their work all the more. Highly recommended for anyone, but especially those who have read Thinking Fast, And Slow, any book on behavioral economics, or students of how human cognition leads us astray. A fantastic book that I couldn't put down.

44 of 56 people found this review helpful

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Pressures of everyday psychology

I loved this book. The linkages between the chapters made the complexity of the relationship between Kahneman and Tversky understandable. This book showed me that ego has a powerful presence in everyone. Even though these two men formed an unbreakable partnership and genius collaboration, the friction from the world around them broke them over time. One lesson from the book, is find the value in every relationship and treasure it for as long as you can.

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Behind the scenes of amazing science

Tversky and Kahneman are without doubt two of my favorite scientists, all categories. Their ideas are straightforward and easy to comprehend, yet what they showed about our biased thinking is profound and has widespread implications. They have explained why politicians and the media tend to favour anecdotal evidence (stories about individuals are more easy to identify with) over statistical evidence, despite the fact the latter is much more relevant. Their theories also have huge relevance in everyday life. For example I am certain that much arguing among couples is due to confirmation bias - I remember every time I pick up my underwear enforcing my self-image as a super tidy guy, whereas my partner tends to remember the times I left underwear on the floor, thus enforcing her image of me as a… not so tidy person. If you are not already familiar with their theories then pick up a book and study as soon as possible. You will not regret it!

Anyhow, I have read several books about the couple Tversky and Kahneman, including Kahnemans Thinking fast and slow. And yes, as this book will make clear, they were indeed a couple in every way except for the romantic/sexual way. They had some very productive years together and then they had more dramatic years. There is betrayal and jealousy and there is reconciliation. This goes on and on, like an academic version of paradise hotel, until Tversky’s death - which is the reason why he did not get a nobel prize (you have to be alive). Before I end this review I should also add that the author, Micheal Lewis, is one of the best page-turner producers I know. You rarely get bored when you read his books - indeed, he acts in accordance with how Tversky and Kahneman would argue that you get attention; focus on persons rather than stats and facts.

In summary, this book will give you an overview of some of the most important and influential theories in psychology and economy, spiced with the personal stories of two academics, written by a masterful author. The only reason I am not giving it five stars is because I think “Thinking fast and slow” is better - it focuses more on the theories which I personally like. However, this book was still more accessible.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 04-11-17

I loved learning about two very smart men.

This is biographical about two men Daniel Kahneman (DK) and Amos Tversky (AT). There is a little about their backgrounds. Most of this is about their work, discoveries, and interaction as adults. They had a close partnership for about ten years. That slowed down after they moved to the U.S. and lived in different places.

There were many fascinating ideas in this book. I previously read the book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Some of those ideas were also mentioned in this book.

The biggest idea from these two men was that human intuition, opinions, and judgement is faulty, not reliable, not predictable. Most economists were reluctant to accept this. It ruined their supply/demand/market ideas. But eventually they accepted it. Thus the Nobel prize in Economics was given to DK in 2002. Since the Nobel prize is only given to living people AT was not named, but everyone knew he was part of it.

One example is doctors. They interviewed doctors asking what they looked for when deciding if something was stomach cancer (or it may have been ulcers, I forget). They came up with a list which they put into a computer. Then they did a study giving test cases to doctors. The computer consistently beat the doctors. And, doctors even disagreed with themselves - when given the same case twice sometimes the doctors would give different answers.

AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR:
Dennis Boutsikaris was excellent. Good job removing his breathing noises.

DATA:
Narrative mode: 3rd person. Story length: 10 hrs and 18 mins. Swearing language: s*** used once or twice. Book copyright: 2016. Genre: biography.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Raleigh
  • greensboro, NC, United States
  • 12-16-16

backstory to a 2002 nobel prize

? are you interested in the origins of behavioral economics
? have you heard the names amos tversky and daniel kahneman
? would it intrigue you to know more about their backstory

the well known author, michael lewis, has written a great book for you
he skillfully chronicles the lives and achievements of these two bold men
in it, we learn about the real cost and method of generating world changing ideas

tversky and kahneman came of age in the early days of the nation of israel
military service was mandatory, for able men, and israel's survival was uncertain
hebrew university (HU) was a magnet for diligent and intelligent young israeli minds

tversky and kahneman met at HU and brought its' psychology department into being
they were daring, brilliant and together formed a perfect academic yin-and-yang
as a pair, they brought out, in each other, their best and most original thoughts

sadly ego, divorce and separate appointments at US universities took their toll
what began as a productive and ideal marriage of 2 great minds slowly unravelled
tversky's diagnosis, at 59, of metastatic melanoma prompted a reconciliation

kahneman's 2002 nobel prize in economics, came 6 years after tversky's death
lewis's understated style makes these 2 brilliant men more sympathetic and human
i will now re-read kahneman's " thinking fast and slow " with a new appreciation







8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating read

Loved reading about Amos Tversky and Danny Kanneman, as written by the master storyteller, Michael Lewis! It's amazing that our airwaves are flooded with minute details about the most un-interesting people, and that people like Amos Tversky and Danny Kanneman were unknown to me before reading (listening to) this book. Great story about interesting, and at times heartbreaking lives and issues. I thought I was in for a dry story about using data to make rational decisions. I was drawn in by the story of the lives and relationships of Amos and Danny, and in the process, learned a lot about decision-making processes!

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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A fascinating perspective on psychology

Three or four years ago I read thinking fast and slow, Kahneman's book on his insights. In MOT a psychologist so had no background on the ideas. I found the book to be lucid and compelling - a work of genius.
The opportunity to read the background of the ideas and the thinkers who put it together I appreciate. Certainly not a substitute for thinking fast and slow, but providing insights that broadened my understanding of the ideas and their genisis.
Recommended

1 of 1 people found this review helpful