Further thoughts on the psychology of decision making, along the lines of Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, and how we rely on stories and associations to jump to conclusions, with of course the irony that all popular literature in this field (including the most sophisticated like Kahneman), has a fair amount of story telling to engage us, and perhaps shut down some of our critical thought.
Quote from Tyler Cowen:
There’s the Nudge book, the Sway book, the Blink book… [they are] all about the ways in which we screw up. And there are so many ways, but what I find interesting is that none of these books identify what, to me, is the single, central, most important way we screw up, and that is, we tell ourselves too many stories, or we are too easily seduced by stories. And why don’t these books tell us that? It’s because the books themselves are all about stories. The more of these books you read, you’re learning about some of your biases, but you’re making some of your other biases essentially worse. So the books themselves are part of your cognitive bias.
The crux of the problem, as Cowen points out, is that it’s nearly impossible to understand irrationalities without taking advantage of them. And, paradoxically, we rely on stories to understand why they can be harmful.