The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our MindsThe Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this book all the way through and I’m still not sure what the point of it is. The main theme seems to be that statistics and analysis are better predictors of performance than people’s gut instinct or commonly held stereotypes. Sure, I’ll buy that, and expected as much since this is the same author as Moneyball. But that point is made in the first chapter. Then the author goes off into a long section on the Houston Rockets and their recruiting strategy. Then he jumps to a biography of an Israeli psychologist who is the smartest person in the university, including every discipline, even Physics. Then he does the same with another Israeli psychologist who is also the smartest person anyone has ever met. Then yet another. Funny, I’ve never heard of any of these reputed geniuses. After that it seems to be a series of anecdotes about various experiments they conducted that seem to prove people often make illogical decisions. Well, duh. Throw in some Israel-Arab war bits, a stretch about the friendship that formed between the first two psychologists, and you have the book. I don’t understand what either the title or subtitle has to do with the content of the book. It seems to be to be a rambling collection of loosely related stories, biography, and personal views about pro sports. It’s readable and non-offensive, so I couldn’t give it one star, but beyond that, it has little to recommend it. Had it not been a selection by my book club, I would have put it down much earlier.

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