This blog is quiet. I’ve started and stopped a few posts the past few weeks (including a post titled “No, Sonny Angara. This is not #TaxReform” in reaction to the flood of “Oh-I’m-so-impressed-Angara’s-the-best” posts and shares I keep seeing on Facebook). Eventually though, the cynic in me won over (“The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it,” said Carnegie) and kept quiet. Or it’s me thinking why bother.
This term one of my professors assigned Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ as the textbook for our managerial decision making class. I was stoked at first. I had been reading the book on and off and think it’s an excellent reminder of how we’re not as smart as we think we are. I soon found that it’s different reading something for the fun of it vs reading it because you’re required to. The professor skipped chapters and jumbled up the topics and I found it mildly (hilariously) upsetting.
During class on Friday he discussed prediction biases, which in a non-boring way is better explained by answering the Amanda question in your head:
Is Amanda, a shy poetry lover, more likely to study Japanese literature or business administration?
If you’re like most of my class you would’ve answered “Japanese literature.” If so, you’ve just fallen prey to the representativeness bias by making a likelihood judgment (i.e. a question dealing with probability) and unconsciously substituting it with a similarity judgment. Once you recognize this, you’ll realize that there are clearly way more business students (some of whom may be shy poetry lovers) than Japanese literature students, and as such it’s more likely that Amanda studies business.
As usual a lot of lively argument ensued after my professor did his big reveal. In particular, I was struck by the emphatic way he said, “I get your confusion. How many poetry lovers do you see walking around **** Business School? They’ll be driven out!” (Everyone laughs.)
I was puzzled he thought the combination so odd, that someone who enjoys pricing bonds could like reading e.e. cummings too. I suppose it’s not fair to my prof — it’s not just him.
I suppose it doesn’t help that fictional bankers are at best benign and at worst, serial killers, and real bankers have a bad rap, especially after the GFC.
Anyway. At least I’m doing a slightly better job keeping up with my other blog on books.