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The Undoing Project
Cover of The Undoing Project
The Undoing Project
A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

"Brilliant. . . . Lewis has given us a spectacular account of two great men who faced up to uncertainty and the limits of human reason." —William Easterly, Wall Street Journal

Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original papers that invented the field of behavioral economics. One of the greatest partnerships in the history of science, Kahneman and Tversky's extraordinary friendship incited a revolution in Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made much of Michael Lewis's own work possible. In The Undoing Project, Lewis shows how their Nobel Prize–winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.

"Brilliant. . . . Lewis has given us a spectacular account of two great men who faced up to uncertainty and the limits of human reason." —William Easterly, Wall Street Journal

Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original papers that invented the field of behavioral economics. One of the greatest partnerships in the history of science, Kahneman and Tversky's extraordinary friendship incited a revolution in Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made much of Michael Lewis's own work possible. In The Undoing Project, Lewis shows how their Nobel Prize–winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.
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About the Author-
  • Michael Lewis, is the best-selling author of Liar's Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side, and Flash Boys. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 12, 2016
    Lewis (Flash Boys) deftly explores a timeless and fascinating subject—human decision-making—through the intellectually intimate collaboration of two influential psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. The pair met in 1969 and worked together until a few years before Tversky's death in 1996. As Lewis explains, they discovered that people do not make decisions as economists long believed—as "intuitive statisticians"—but rather in a chaotic fashion shot through with confirmation bias, fears of regret, sensitivity to change, the desire to avoid loss, and a propensity to mentally undo distressing outcomes. Through interviews with Tversky and Kahneman's friends, family, colleagues, rivals, and critics, as well as the psychologists' own recollections, letters, and published papers, Lewis seamlessly pieces together an informative and engagingly paced story. He begins with a step-by-step explanation of why both human minds and statistical models so often fail to produce the best choice. He then interweaves the psychologists' early lives, military service in defense of the young state of Israel, and professorial careers in both Israel and the United States with their questions, theories, and startling conclusions about how people actually make decisions. Lewis' latest effort is a joy to read, packed with "aha!" moments, telling and at times hilarious details, and elegant explanations of complex experiments and theories.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 3, 2017
    Actor Boutsikaris narrates Lewis’s latest with finesse. He creates and sustains the sense that he’s right there telling you this story about two brilliant friends, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, who profoundly influenced the way we all think about thinking. In such areas as economics, medicine, sports, and government policy, they showed how intuitive judgments are generally mistaken. Boutsikaris adroitly highlights their process of discovery, their responses to their own findings, the intensity of their feelings about their evolving personal and professional collaboration and about public responses to their revolutionary theories. This is a great listen for anyone familiar with the field; Boutsikaris reads clearly but quickly, so uninitiated listeners may need to hit pause to think through Kahneman’s and Tversky’s concepts. A Norton hardcover.

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2016
    The bestselling author combines biography with recent intellectual history in a saga about the influential Israeli psychologist team of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Tversky died in 1996, before Lewis (Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, 2014, etc.) even recognized his name. But Kahneman is still living, and Lewis spent lots of time with him studying his theories of how the human mind works while making decisions ranging from product purchasing decisions to choosing a marriage partner. Lewis' fascination with Tversky and Kahneman began with a reference in a review of his bestseller Moneyball, a book that explained how the Oakland Athletics organization overhauled its decision-making processes in order to sign the best athletes possible on a limited budget. The review praised Lewis for explaining how most baseball executives had been choosing players using irrational criteria. The review also emphasized that the author seemed unaware that the techniques were grounded in the decades-old research of Tversky and Kahneman. That research demonstrated the irrationalities of the human brain and recommended how such irrational thinking could be minimized. By the time Lewis approached Kahneman, the potential book subject had won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, despite identifying as a psychologist. However, he had not yet completed his bestselling book Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011), so Lewis would be chronicling an individual nearly unknown outside academia. The result is largely successful. As always, Lewis' writing style is engaging and mostly irresistible. The opening chapter is slightly disorienting because it never mentions the book's subjects; instead, the author chronicles the journey of a professional basketball executive hoping to construct a systematic method of choosing players. However, after Lewis eases into the main subjects, he ably captures their outsized personalities, explaining how they came to collaborate and how that collaboration slowly frayed. Kahneman and Tversky approached their personal lives and their research in extremely divergent manners. At times, Lewis' details about the unlikely coupling overwhelm the larger narrative, but that is a minor complaint in another solid book from this gifted author.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist, starred review Tantalizing and tender... Lewis is an irresistible storyteller and a master at illuminating complicated and fascinating subjects.
  • Peter Coy;Bloomberg Businessweek Compelling... The Undoing Project is a history of the birth of behavioral economics, but it's also Lewis's testament to the power of collaboration.
  • Dan Cryer;Boston Globe Whatever subject strikes his fancy, Lewis renders it clear and understandable while showcasing its human drama. In the realm of exalted journalistic wizardry, he is surely kin to Tracy Kidder and Malcolm Gladwell.
  • Charlie Gofen;The National Book Review Lewis [is a] master of the character-driven narrative.
  • Jesse Singal;New York Magazine A fantastic read.
  • Jennifer Senior;New York Times Lewis has written one hell of a love story.
  • William Easterly;Wall Street Journal Brilliant... Lewis has given us a spectacular account of two great men who faced up to uncertainty and the limits of human reason.
  • Greg McKenna;Business Insider A must-read.
  • Don Oldenburg;USA Today Mind-blowing... [The Undoing Project] will raise doubts about how you personally perceive reality.
  • Harper's Bazaar Intellectually mesmerizing and inspiring.
  • Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler;The New Yorker Fascinating stories about intriguing people.
  • Samantha Power;New York Times Book Review Hugely important.
  • Geoffrey Kabat;Forbes Michael Lewis has a genius for finding stories about people who view reality from an unusual angle and telling these stories in a compulsively readable way.
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A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
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