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The Art of Thinking Clearly.

2015/06/02

This is one of the times that you buy a book because it popped at a trusted source. I bought “The Art of Thinking Clearly” because it popped up at the SIRA mailing list. So I bought it without looking much into reviews.

The book has an excellent start by discussing survivorship bias and an excellent ending after presenting 99 fallacies in a row and a well written epilogue. It presents counterintuitive thinking in a popularised form and it tries its best, but somehow leaves you wanting more. A typical failure when someone tries to explain mathematical concepts to the layman. Stop doing this people, especially when you are not trained into explaining Mathematical concepts. Because of the 98 fallacies in a row, which sometimes contradict themselves or even worse are stretched enough to be different between one another, it can be tiring to read it in one row. It is best that you take breaks and read other stuff after every two or three fallacies.

It also has some serious plagiarism issues that the typical reader can ignore if they like. If you want to treat this as a self-help book, you’re good enough with chapter 99: “Why you shouldn’t read the News”. The line:

news consumption represents a competitive disadvantage

sums it all up. At least for Greek media. But then again we already knew that.

Bottom line: If you understand survivorship bias and groupthink you’re not missing out buying the book. If you do buy it, it is not a total waste of time.

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