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Rationality for Mortals: How People Cope with Uncertainty (Evolution and Cognition) Paperback – April 16, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0199747092 ISBN-10: 0199747091

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Product Details

  • Series: Evolution and Cognition
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199747091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199747092
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #707,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Gerd Gigerenzer has created new, pathbreaking ways of thinking about human rationality. His ideas build on one another and are best seen as part of a coherent whole that is when the nature of his arguments emerges most clearly."-- Leda Cosmides, University of California Santa Barbara


--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author


Gerd Gigerenzer is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. He has taught at the Universities of Munich, Constance, Salzburg, and Chicago. Recent books include Simple Heuristics that Make Us Smart (1999, with Peter Todd et al.), Adaptive Thinking: Rationality in the Real World (2000), Calculated Risks (2002), and Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious (2007). He has been the recipient of many awards, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science Prize for Behavioral Science Research.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Epictetus (Hong Kong) on December 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this author's _Reckoning with Risk_ some time ago and found it worthwhile. This is an even better book, despite being an earlier one (2000) than that (2003).

Like evolution, probability is a slippery, subtle subject and some of its main principles and their ramifications can be hard to grasp, even for intelligent people. This book is one of the best out there for explaining some of the fundamental concepts in uncertainty and probability. Gigerenzer uses some striking historical examples to do this. One of these is about John Arbuthnot (1710) who used the concept that we now call the null hypothesis to prove the existence of God. Gigerenzer observes that "Arbuthnot's test illuminates the possibilities and limitations of a null hypothesis.... Divine providence always wins if the null hypothesis loses."

As well as explaining some key concepts such as the null hypothesis, this books shows them in action, as in the Chapter 9 "Understanding Risks in Healthcare."

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve or check their understanding of some of the fundamental concepts and also gaps in our current understanding of uncertainty and probability.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Colin E Rumbley on April 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having read much of Gigerenzer as well as Kahneman's work, I can say that this volume would make a great introduction for someone interested in heuristics. A very accessible presentation of these ideas. Of course, if you are new to statistics, there are some technical sections that may spark further investigation. Heuristics is an academic enterprise, not a casual philosophical idea. Complete comprehension the first time through should not be the expectation - what I think is at the root of some of the criticisms here. If you find this frustrating reading, try slogging through the academic papers on which the chapters are based!

Rationality for Mortals combines plain english sections with more technical supporting sections. I like this approach for the same reason I like Antonio Damasio's popular books on the brain. Some of the jargon is over my head, but the rest is readable and inspiring enough to welcome the challenge.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BruceK on August 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Why is there always a button for requesting a Kindle version of books, but not one for an Audio version of books?

I got the authors "Gut Feelings" which I thought was great in audiobook format, and would like to read this in audiobook format too - consider this as a request I could not submit any other way.
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2 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Debra M. Ridley on June 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read this text from cover to cover and must say that it is no easy read despite the fact that I studied this subject quite exstensively
I think part of the problem is that the author is rather too argumentitive, which results in certain areas of the book appearing over complicated.
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1 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Soren Wenstop on February 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Reading this (as far as my increasing sense of annoyance permitted) was not an experience worth sharing. The author is mudling through with remarkably little analytical clarity.
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