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Gerd Gigerenzer

Gut Feelings

To make a decision we should carefully consider all aspects of the question before coming to a conclusion, shouldn't we? Not according to Gerd Gigerenzer. In Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious he argues that the quick, off the cuff decision will often be better than that reached by long deliberation.

The book is in two parts. The first 'Unconscious intelligence' looks at where our intuition comes from - the nature and evolution of our brains, and how we have learned to make quick decisions. The second part 'Gut feelings in action' gives some real world examples of the benefits of using our intution. When people are asked a question, such as which of two cities is larger, those with limited knowledge who only recognise one of them often do better than the more knowledgeable ones. Gigerenzer goes on to describe how making decisions based on a single criterion is likely to be better than a detailed weighing of all of the information available. There is also chapter on how this sort of decision making can provide benefits in healthcare. The book ends with chapters on moral values and social instincts.

The subject of intuition and it benefits is a popular one for authors - or at least I've read quite a few books on this topic recently. I think that Gut Feelings is one of the best in that it is amusing and easy to read, but is also useful as a guide for those wishing to improve their decision making.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 288 pages  
ISBN: 0670038636
Salesrank: 732770
Weight:0.95 lbs
Published: 2007 Viking Adult
Amazon price $8.24
Marketplace:New from $8.20:Used from $1.82
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 280 pages  
ISBN: 0143113763
Salesrank: 222560
Weight:0.3 lbs
Published: 2008 Penguin Books
Marketplace:New from £10.00:Used from £7.81
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Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 304 pages  
ISBN: 0670038636
Salesrank: 574619
Weight:0.95 lbs
Published: 2007 Viking USA
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 11.00:Used from CDN$ 1.07
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Product Description
An engaging explanation of the science behind Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling Blink

Gerd Gigerenzer is one of the researchers of behavioral intuition responsible for the science behind Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller Blink. Gladwell showed us how snap decisions often yield better results than careful analysis. Now, Gigerenzer explains why our intuition is such a powerful decision-making tool. Drawing on a decade of research at the Max Plank Institute, Gigerenzer demonstrates that our gut feelings are actually the result of unconscious mental processes—processes that apply rules of thumb that we’ve derived from our environment and prior experiences. The value of these unconscious rules lies precisely in their difference from rational analysis—they take into account only the most useful bits of information rather than attempting to evaluate all possible factors. By examining various decisions we make—how we choose a spouse, a stock, a medical procedure, or the answer to a million-dollar game show question—Gigerenzer shows how gut feelings not only lead to good practical decisions, but also underlie the moral choices that make our society function.

In the tradition of Blink and Freakonomics, Gut Feelings is an exploration of the myriad influences and factors (nature and nurture) that affect how the mind works, grounded in cutting-edge research and conveyed through compelling real-life examples.