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Thinking and Deciding 3rd Edition

8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521659727
ISBN-10: 0521659728
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Editorial Reviews


"Baron has taken on the task of examining in detail the full range and diversity of psychological research which helps him and us to understand the nature of thinking as he sees it, and to explore its application to teaching. It is a heroic effort, and thoroughly recommended." Times Higher Education Supplement

"This magisterial book...lays out the issues in exemplary fashion....The explanations of prospect theory and rank-dependent utility theories...are as clear as any I have read. They are well suited for an introductory graduate course in the field and for health professional in all fields....This book is as balanced and clear as one is likely to find. It is an outstanding introduction to and summary of the psychology of decision making and should be widely read." Medical Decision Making

Book Description

Thinking and Deciding has established itself as a required text and important reference work for students and scholars of human cognition and rationality. In this, the third edition, Jonathan Baron delves further into many of the key questions addressed in the previous editions. Baron has also revised or expanded his treatment of topics such as risk, utilitarianism, Baye's theorem, and moral thinking. By emphasizing decision making, Baron has made Thinking and Deciding, Third Edition more relevant to researchers in applied fields while maintaining its appeal to graduate and undergraduate students.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 3 edition (December 28, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521659728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521659727
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,187,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on December 14, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a _very_ impressive book. I can't imagine a more thorough overview of the study of human judgment, decisionmaking, and rationality.
It's hard to find a good single volume in this field. For the psychology of judgment and decisionmaking, there's Scott Plous's excellent book of that title. For the heuristics on which we seem to rely and the biases they seem to generate, there's the modern classic _Judgment Under Uncertainty_ by (the late) Amos Tversky and (recent Nobel prize winner) Daniel Kahneman. And there are other books devoted to special topics and subtopics.
But so far as I know, this is the only broad, general introduction to the entire field of thinking, how we do it, how we probably ought to do it, and the sorts of things we do it about.
The book is divided into three broad sections. "Thinking In General" covers just that: what thinking is, and the nature of rationality and logic. "Probability and Belief" introduces not only probability theory (including, importantly, Bayes's Theorem) but the various theories about what probability _is_, as well as hypothesis testing, correlation, and "actively open-minded thinking." The largest section, "Decisions and Plans," is eleven chapters long and covers everything else: uncertainty, utility, decision analysis, theories of morality fairness, and justice, and risk.
As you might imagine, Baron doesn't leave too many stones unturned. Heck, his bibliography alone is thirty-odd pages long.
The book is eminently readable. The third edition is aimed mainly at graduate students but I gather Baron still uses it in his undergraduate courses. If you're a lay reader interested in this field, you'll be able to read it on your own with no difficulty.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Herbert Gintis on June 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the fourth edition of Jonathan Baron's very popular textbook on decision-making and thinking. The text is inspired by, and develops carefully and in an entertaining manner, the basic theories and experimental results of Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky, George Loewenstein, Paul Slovic, and others in the "heuristics and biases" tradition. This school of thought is only 35 years old, but it has radically transformed our knowledge of human decision-making. The material is inherently engaging, and students love to study it. This is an excellent book, and fully covers the subject material, except for graduate students who plan to work in this area, who should read the primary material on which this book is based. It is also great for self-study by the curious lay reader.

Let me say at the outset that the negative reviews of this book are totally unwarranted. One is just the ranting of a persons who cannot give reasons, but only throw out unsupported, idiosyncratic, judgments. Another is by a reader with an ax to grind concerning philosophical issues in probability theory that are completely tangential to the purposes of this book I think these commentators would do well to withdraw their useless and diverting comments.

Baron is a talented experimenter in his own right, although in the book he limits his material almost exclusively to the works of the Old Masters, Kahneman et al. His own contribution is on an interpretive level. First, his basic model of human behavior is what he calls the "search-inference" model, which turns out to be the economist's "rational actor" model, in which decision-makers have preferences ("goals" in the search-inference terminology), beliefs, and constraints, and act to maximize utility (goal-attainment) subject ot constraints.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By James Vornov on August 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the first book I recommend to anyone interested in learning how to think and decide better. It is both an exploration of the usual way we think (and the mistakes we make) as well as a contruction of a toolkit for better thinking. It's well written and is at the level of an advanced undergraduate liberal arts course. Not too technical and mathematics oriented, but covers the concepts with rigor in an intuitive way. A good preparation for more technically oriented investigations of the subject.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By N N Taleb on October 18, 2005
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People vote with their wallet --particularly when they do it a second time, when they REpurchase. Those who believe in the "revelation of preferences" should note that there are books one buys again when a copy is lost --particularly when they are read cover to cover.

I am buying another copy of this book as mine was lost or misplaced. That should speak volumes.
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