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Michael Lewis’s Tip of the Hat

A pair of pioneering behavioral economists get their due from a journo who’s unwittingly relied on their breakthroughs.

 

From the basketball player who falls prey to the “hot hand” fallacy to the day trader convinced he can outsmart the market, we often follow our gut instincts rather than trust the numbers—even when it makes little sense. Such were the findings of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, whose work essentially created the field of behavioral economics and has reverberated in areas as diverse as advanced medicine and sports management.

Berkeley’s Michael Lewis (The Big Short) is out to make sure the pair get their due in his new work, The Undoing Project (December, W.W. Norton). Without realizing it, Lewis trod onto Tversky and Kahneman’s territory in researching his bestseller Moneyball, about how the Oakland A’s relied on statistics over intuition in constructing an unlikely winner. In The Undoing Project, Lewis gives the pair full credit for their work and tells the story of their groundbreaking research.

 

Originally published in the December issue of San Francisco 

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