ISBN: ; Author: Stuart Sutherland; Details: | paperback | pp | Irrationality is a challenging and thought-provoking book that draws on . Stuart Sutherland’s hilarious dissection of everyday reasoning, Irrationality, should be in bedside cabinets the world over, says Nicholas. The Enemy Within – Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland.

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But these are just fairly minor niggles. This book is replete with summaries of studies that on the whole show that we are creatures of habit, instinct and fear more than thought and reason. Really dated, and really, really boring.

Preview — Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland.

Sign up to your secret to success: Sutherland has irrationaliity a satisfying little book that opens the door to being slight Human beings are not nearly as reasonable as we think we are. The book goes on to try to explore, explain and offer solutions to th Posted on my blog.

Of course, one can argue that rationality is a overrated and b has ideological hinterland. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts. The purpose is for the reader to appreciate sutherrland fallible human nature, and maybe avoid a few of the frailties that plague human cognition.

This book was first published inbut don’t let that put you off – the topics are more relevant today than ever before, particularly given the way we appear to be sliding head-first into another age of unreason.

This book deals with irrationality so the author begins describing what we should understand from that word. Specifically, evidence favoring a belief strengthens it, while if the same evidence disproves a belief, it is ignored.

Most chapters end with a few points going under the heading “moral”, which clarify what he has said. Anyone who wishes to learn to make better judgements and thus to take better decisions. Jul 14, Ben Pace rated it really liked it Shelves: Stuart Sutherland’s book examines the body of evidence for human irrationality amassed during close to half a century psychology research.


Tests show that rewards devalue any activity considered worth doing in its own right. Sytherland editions – View all Irrationality: You don’t have an account?

Learning statistics and probability theory are a start.

Reason to be cheerful

And nevertheless, I gave it four stars out of five. Jun 29, David Wen rated it liked it.

And sutherlland, though essential for, for example, diagnosis, is a bitch. Irrational beliefs and behaviours are virtually universal. Conformity to crowds can lead to panic and violence.


The last chapters attempt to explain the reasons for human irrationality and consider whether absolute rationality is actually even a desirable goal in itself. And that’s on top of what happens when obeying is central to your position, like in the military, or only has consequences for outsiders, like when you are not directly confronted with the results of your actions. In some ways the book makes our achievements all the greater. For most of the book, Sutherland is a master with the juicy anecdote, although the book sags in the middle as he abandons real world examples in favour of that boring, over familiar, Person A, Person B, Person C scenario.

Still, Sutherland injects a lot more wit into his writing than most, such as mentioning students suhterland had ten grandparents with a distressing mortality rate. The exception is ‘praise’, non-monetary rewards, which can be seen as a form of reward, but typically has a positive influence on the future completion of tasks. We suffer from the illusion of control. There sutheralnd some positive aspects to it, and I found a few pearls of wisdom, but overall, the book was simply not worth it.


If you already believe that we’re basically animals in clothes, this will not disabuse you. Stuart Sutherland was a renowned psychologist and writer who taught at Oxford University and the University of Sussex.

You could, if you were in a real hurry, read only these morals and find your powers of ratiocination enhanced.

Nicholas Lezard’s paperback choice: Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland | Books | The Guardian

Although, as a confirmed interval-leaver, I can smugly pat myself on the back for having worked that one out for myself. May 04, Terry Clague rated it really liked it. Hence the ‘sunk cost error’. He stayed at Oxford for his DPhil which he took in zoology under the supervision of J. Yet on the whole we go forward, stumbling sometimes, by accident sometimes, yet we do live longer, we have sent people okay, men to the moon, vastly fewer children sthart mothers die in childbirth.

Norman Stuart Sutherland Snippet sktherland – We form instant impressions and then only look for the evidence that will support our view, we suffer from availability error, meaning that we give more weight to the dramatic and memorable, or the most recent, and ignore the less exciting evidence, and after reading the chapter on reward and punishment, you begin to wonder how any kind of education has ever worked at all.

I can’t say I was shocked.

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