Irrational beliefs and behaviours are virtually universal. In this iconoclastic book Stuart Sutherland analyses causes of irrationality and examines why we are. Stuart Sutherland's hilarious dissection of everyday reasoning, Irrationality, should be in bedside cabinets the world over, says Nicholas. The Enemy Within - Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland.


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He revisits Stanley Milgram's disturbing tests on obedience conducted at Yale, and goes on to draw some stuart sutherland irrationality useful conclusions about how stuart sutherland irrationality behaviour is affected by the presence of others, using the notorious example of the murder of Kitty Genovese in New York 38 people saw her killed; not one called the police - they all thought someone else would.

Most chapters end with a few points going under the heading "moral", which clarify what he has said. You could, if you were in stuart sutherland irrationality real hurry, read only these morals and find your powers of ratiocination enhanced.

Reason to be cheerful

The morals at the end of his chapter on obedience are: Ask whether the command is justified. Never volunteer to become a subject in the Psychological Laboratory at Yale.


I noticed this particularly with medical studies - having been in medical school myself I spotted the, at times, glaring mistakes, which didn't stuart sutherland irrationality me at all. I guess I was using one of the irrational thought processes he described - the "halo effect", which when applied to this, means that when I saw that he was completely wrong in some thing he vehemently defended, it made me look at the rest of his book in a negative light.

It probably means this review is tainted by irrationality as well. I wish I had marked the stuart sutherland irrationality quotes to back up what I'm saying.

Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read. By assuming stuart sutherland irrationality using a purely economic calculus of costs and profits is the only rational way to run an organisation, he undermines his original assertion that there is no way to define a rational goal.

In fact, the use of a similar abstractly economical assumptions is the source of perhaps the most obvious controversies as to which of the described behaviours are truly irrational.

I suspect many would not: Similarly, the insistence by a particular sub-group of workers on a wage that is lower in absolute terms but higher than a wage of their colleagues is only irrational if stuart sutherland irrationality assume that all that matters is the actual amount of money in the pocket: In those instances Irrationality reveals itself as very much a book of its time, when the neo-classical economics with its idea that money is an adequate and the only needed stuart sutherland irrationality of everything was at its peak.


But these are just fairly stuart sutherland irrationality niggles. Most of the material in Irrationality is truly riveting and most non-specialist readers will find a lot of fascinating and clearly presented material in Prof.

The last chapters attempt to explain the reasons for human irrationality and consider whether absolute rationality is actually even a desirable goal in itself.