*Thinking, Fast and Slow*, by Daniel Kahneman

It is a very good book, clearly written, engaging yet sober, substantive in every chapter, and it does not oversell its material.  If you are familiar with the underlying papers you will not see much new here, but as a readable introduction to the work of Kahneman (and Tversky) I give it an A or A+.

It is evident throughout that the author is a psychologist and not an economist; your mileage may vary, but you will not find a response to John List in here.  Here is a bit about those unreliable judges, this time in Germany rather than Israel:

The power of random anchors has been demonstrated in some unsettling ways.  German judges with an average of more than fifteen years of experience on the bench first read a description of a woman who had been caught shoplifting, then rolled a pair of dice that were loaded so every roll resulted in either a 3 or a 9.  As soon as the dice came to a stop, the judges were asked whether they would sentence the woman to a term in prison greater or lesser, in months, than the number showing on the dice.  Finally, the judges were instructed to specify the exact prison sentence they would give to the shoplifter.  On average, those who had rolled a 9 said they would sentence her to 8 months; those who rolled a 3 said they would sentence here to 5 months; the anchoring effect was 50%.

You can pre-order the book here; it is due out October 25th.


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