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A Cacophony of Opinion: Can We Trust "Expert" Judgment?

By Diane Cole

July/August 2021


Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment

By Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein.

Little, Brown. 464 pages.

978-0316451406

In his brilliant magnum opus, Thinking, Fast and Slow, published in 2011, the behavioral psychologist and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman presented a comprehensive picture of how and why our reasoning all too often and all too easily goes awry—and how we can begin to train our brains to do better (see my review in the Networker’s May/June 2012 issue). The title itself provided the key to the book’s basic principle: that our brains are ruled by two vital but competing thinking systems. One is fast and intuitive, propelled by our gut instincts, while the other is slow and deliberate, holding back on an immediate judgment to pause, consider, and reason through all the pluses and minuses of a given choice.

So strong is our intuitive thinking—and so much slower-on-the-uptick is our analytical thinking system—that reining in that trigger-happy, overly confident automatic thinking system is easier said than done. Fortunately, Kahneman peppered the extensive research on which he based his ideas with so many concrete,…

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