[ download kindle ] Why We're Wrong About Nearly Everything Author Bobby Duffy – Intimatenights.co.uk
A Leading Social Researcher Explains Why Humans So Consistently Misunderstand The Outside World How Often Are Women Harassed What Percentage Of The Population Are Immigrants How Bad Is Unemployment These Questions Are Important, But Most Of Us Get The Answers Wrong Research Shows That People Often Wildly Misunderstand The State Of The World, Regardless Of Age, Sex, Or Education And Though The Internet Brings Us Unprecedented Access To Information, There S Little Evidence We Re Any Better Informed Because Of It We May Blame Cognitive Bias Or Fake News, But Neither Tells The Complete Story In Why We Re Wrong About Nearly Everything, Bobby Duffy Draws On His Research Into Public Perception Across Than Forty Countries, Offering A Sweeping Account Of The Stubborn Problem Of Human Delusion How Society Breeds It, Why It Will Never Go Away, And What Our Misperceptions Say About What We Really Believe We Won T Always Know The Facts, But They Still Matter Why We Re Wrong About Nearly Everything Is Mandatory Reading For Anyone Interested Making Humankind A Little Bit Smarter I went in thinking this would be some new version of Freakonomics but it was not This is not necessarily a bad thing as this was a decent read that often times got bogged down in numbers and away from the stories I wanted to hear about such as immigration, teen pregnancy and obesity It reads likes a well written research paper to me Thank you Netgalley, Duffy, Perseus Books and Basic Books for the ARC for my honest review. Meh Picked up this book because of a recommendation in a magazine don t remember which one Maybe because I listened to it, maybe because I ve already read Thinking Fast and Slow a couple times, and have read everything Malcolm Gladwell and the Freakonomics guys have writtenI wasn t blown away by this The stories and stats were interesting and a couple things were new to me the international comparisons were a nice addition I felt like it addressed the how we are wrong about nearly everything than the why The end with some recommendations for how to be less wrong was good.Also, I found the perspective a little schizophrenic mostly, it seemed like it was written from a UK centric view, but then there was a lot of US focus The narrator had an American accent, but the currency was usually always poundsThere was a disconnect that I found distracting. I learned a lot from this book, not only data anecdata, but also just the reminder that it s good to question what you accept is true I found myself picking up the book periodically, not reading straight through If you are going to be seated next to your know it all uncle at Thanksgiving this year, read this book before you go He ll be shocked to learn that the Great Wall of China is not actually visible from space Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for a digital ARC Why We re Wrong About Nearly Everything is a interesting read It can be a bit dry in some spots, but it has some unique ideas. The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion draws all things else to support and agree with it And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects, in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolateFrancis Bacon, 1620Confirmation bias, or the tendency to seek out information that confirms what one already believes and to ignore or reject the rest was recognized at least 400 years ago by Francis Bacon Today, Rolf Dobelli calls it the mother of all misconceptions and the father of all fallacies It lies at the center of all of our misconceptions and delusions.Why is confirmation bias so prevalent To prevent cognitive dissonance, or the state of uncertainty and doubt regarding one s beliefs This unpleasant feeling is easy to avoid simply by surrounding yourself only with those that think like you and by consuming only the information that supports what you already believe.So we use confirmation bias to prevent cognitive dissonance we avoid cognitive dissonance because we don t want to change our beliefs and we don t want to change our beliefs because they are tied to our identity Ideally, we would all orient our identities around the pursuit of truth, rather than in conformance to a chosen tribe, but that s not the way things usually work What s my proof for this grand assertion The entirety of Bobby Duffy s latest book.I hope it doesn t go underappreciated the wealth of information this book contains Drawing on over 100,000 surveys across up to 40 countries, Duffy compares average perceptions against reality on a host of important social, economic, and political issues and metrics With this information, we can get a sense of how informed the public is concerning important topics, in essence testing the hypothesis that confirmation bias and associated biases and fallacies essentially creates mass delusion So what do the 100,000 surveys tell us The conclusion is clear most of us don t know the first thing about health, finance, wealth, immigration, taxation, poverty, violence, risk, and just about anything else of social or political importance, as Duffy so masterfully explains Duffy takes the reader through an analysis of the surveys, a comparison of perceptions to reality, a tour of the several biases and fallacies that lead to the discrepancies, and a comparison of the performance of different countries, making for a highly fascinating and timely read Duffy even reveals in the penultimate chapter which country performed the worst I won t spoil the numbers, because part of the fun of reading the book is trying to make your own guesses regarding some metric and comparing that guess to both the reality and the average survey response Suffice to say that most people are way off on just about every measure of importance Which says two things First, the voting public is massively misinformed It s hard to know what to do about an issue when you have no clue as to the current state of affairs In France, for example, the average person thinks that the top 1 percent should receiveof the share of wealth as a percentage than they currently get in reality, despite also thinking that the 1 percent already have too much This is because the French massively overestimate the share of wealth for the top 1 percent in the first place Second, the source of many misconceptions is a lack of basic statistical and scientific literacy in the population, which I consider to be a failure of the public school system When a significant percentage of people estimate that their retirement account need only be around 50,000 to receive an annual salary of 25,000 during their retirement years, there is a big problem It s easy to blame others for this Common targets are the media, politicians, or technology, but as Duffy suggests, we for the most part get the journalism and politicians we deserve or demand Scientifically illiterate people vote for scientifically illiterate politicians and consume statistically meaningless and sensationalistic news stories that revolve entirely around anecdotes Sure, journalists and politicians are partly to blame by never covering statistics or trends , but our delusions are the result of a complex mix of factors that begins with our own emotional innumeracy and biases, chief among them confirmation bias In the final chapter, Duffy outlines several potential solutions to the problem, all oriented around better, deeper, and intellectually honest engagement with the issues I share Duffy s optimism that facts still matter and that people can and do change their minds While we will never eradicate bias completely, we can make progress, in part by demanding sophisticated coverage of issues by journalists and politicians that includes scale and trends in the data The bottom line seems to be this if we want to improve the state of the world, the problem is ignorance, and the solution is better education public and self directed that centers on critical thinking, statistical literacy, and awareness of common biases This book is an excellent step in that direction.