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Summary

Many scientific and philosophical ideas are so powerful that they can be applied to our lives at home, work, and school to help us think smarter and more effectively about our behavior and the world around us. Surprisingly, many of these ideas remain unknown to most of us. In Mindware, the world-renowned psychologist Richard Nisbett presents these ideas in clear and accessible detail, offering a tool kit for better thinking and wiser decisions.

He has made a distinguished career of studying and teaching such powerful problem-solving concepts as the law of large numbers, statistical regression, cost-benefit analysis, sunk costs and opportunity costs, and causation and correlation, probing how best to teach others to use them effectively in their daily lives. In this groundbreaking book, he shows that a course in a given field - statistics or economics, for example - often doesn't work as well as a few minutes of more practical instruction in analyzing everyday situations.

Mindware shows how to reframe common problems in such a way that these powerful scientific and statistical concepts can be applied to them. The result is an enlightening and practical guide to the most powerful tools of reasoning ever developed - tools that can easily be used to make better professional, business, and personal decisions.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2015 Richard E. Nisbett (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"The most influential thinker, in my life, has been [Nisbett]." (Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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    2 out of 5 stars

A collection of statistical studies more than "tools for smart thinking"

Definitely not what I was expecting. The book was just a compendium of statistical studies and information rather than 0tools for smart thinking".

I tired to keep attention and interest for 2/3 of the book until I gave up.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable listen and content

I didn't give this 5 stars because I've just finished a few books that raised the bar for me. This recording was enjoyable to listen to with a good delivery, although the narrator took a little getting used to for me - that is a personal preference however.

The content itself was mostly engaging, a few moments when I had to concentrate not to tune a particular segment of list recitation out, but overall I enjoyed it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I absolutely love this book.

It is a must read and makes so much sense. The performance it is also brilliant.

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Very interesting

Richard puts across a very practical and interesting collection of tools for better interoperating the barrage of information we get in everyday life.

However the book starts to become very in depth and feels like the author's ego is running wild with continuous self promotion and jaunts into partly irrelevant specialisms.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Eyeopener

I'm impressed with the well structured and informative story. The author is using as stepping stones well known theories which he explains in everyday life contexts. Well worth the time to listen to the book.

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interesting and thought provoking book.

this should be in everyone's library. thought provoking enlightened me on a few things. give it a try

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Neuron
  • 26-08-15

Sound scientific advice on how to live your life

In this excellent and practical book the prominent psychology, Richard Nisbett, translates psychological research into practical advice that will help the reader to better evaluate situations and to make better decisions. The book is in many ways similar to Kahneman’s book “Thinking fast and slow”, in that it explains where our reasoning, deductions and inferences tend to go wrong. However, Nisbett takes the extra step of trying to formulate simple laws that one can follow to avoid the psychological pitfalls that people often fall into. In some cases this merely means being aware that there is such a pitfall, which according to Nisbett actually helps a great deal. For example, if we are aware of our instinctual tendency to rate anecdotal evidence higher than experimental evidence, we can make a conscious effort downplay anecdotal evidence. Similarly, even if no one uses decision theory (listing pros and cons for all alternatives we are faced with) perfectly, knowing the basics will actually help us make slightly better decisions on average.

One of the more notable aspects of modern society is that we are constantly being bombarded with information and commercials. A good chunk of this book is dedicated to deciphering findings reported in the media. For example, we should be very skeptical of correlations, because correlation does not equal causation. If obese children tend to have parents that controls the child’s food intake, that does not mean that controlling your child’s food intake will make them obese. A more likely explanation is that when a child becomes obese, parents will want to control food intake. A huge number of similar findings are reported in the media on a daily basis. Unfortunately, journalists, like the rest of us are also susceptible to think that correlation mean causation, and their reports are written accordingly resulting in a lot of confusion. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of correlation studies will allow the reader to see such reports in a new light.

Overall, this book is an excellent addition to the popular psychology literature, and Nisbett (who I am familiar with from my studies in Psychology), is a stringent scientist who knows the difference between good science and BS. Readers are certain to find some good, hands on, advice, that they can go out and employ in their everyday life.

45 of 50 people found this review helpful

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  • Curtis J
  • 15-07-16

Great material, wrong format

I read a ton of research based books and this is the first that I would say provided too much information to digest in an audio format. it was good as a means of being exposed to really useful information , but I think this particular book is best in hard copy. none the less, great job by both the author and the narrator

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • michael
  • 17-11-15

A lot of common sense, but really hard to utilize.

As I read many books about the topic before, from this book I only learned about Asian (Chinese really) approach to logic... I hate to rate this book too low simply because the experimental data and its analysis has been published many times over and the thoughts are also very well known ...to me. For such a large book, I would have expected a lot more... What ever I learned, I can not use anyway, but that is the problem of the whole aspect of economical psychology as a science. Once you get to the area where experiments can not be repeated and forecasts can be explained either way the reality goes, it is hard to evaluate the conclusions.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael W. Irving
  • 10-06-16

Well-trod territory

The author competently achieves his purpose. But most of what's in this wide-ranging book will be familiar to anyone even moderately attentive and well-read.

The author has a self-help, preening tone I found off-putting: Essentially "In this book you'll learn valuable tools that will sharpen your analytic abilities at home, work, and school." The tone is not one of an adult speaking to peers.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew Smith
  • 01-12-17

kind of obvious at most turns, but...

...Definitely something everyone should understand, especially in today's world. Overall, I got a few good concepts.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • vicki
  • 09-11-17

Amazing

This book has so much practical advice and great tips for how to implement new ways of thinking. It has given me some much needed tools to navigate the curvy and confusing fabric of society.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-08-17

A way to think about thinking

this book is really well put together. It gives insight into how we go about making small and large decisions. I would recommend it to anybody who is planning to ever make a decision from this point forward. It explains logically and clearly how we can go about becoming better decision makers in our personal and business life.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tina Toren
  • 21-04-17

Important Knowledge!

Very interesting! Extremely hard to understand at times.Not for lazy listening while cleaning house but rather for a time with complete attention and with a pad and paper to take notes. Some knowledge of statistics will help.Unfortunately this book will probably be too hard to understand for the the everyday people who absolutely need it the most in order not to let themselves be seduced by dubious or downright false claims and studies bombarding us every day from the abundance of sources of information in modern day society.

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  • Craig M
  • 18-01-17

Fun to listen to...hard to remember everything

I found this book fun to listen to. I enjoyed the different stories and studies shared as well as why they should be questioned. But there is a lot of information shared so I might need to listen to this one again in a few months.

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  • Nasser Al-Hilal
  • 11-01-17

Tools to combat opinion, reasoning, and expert findings

This book is an excellent and enjoyable listen. It covers many logical and statistical analysis methods and rebuttals to everyday and even expert or professional opinion and/or findings. It can certainly change how you view or consider anything that you read and hear. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is interested in society, theories, philosophical, and psychological understanding.

Personally, I found it just a little difficult to keep up with the abstract concepts and variable and/or statistical audio sections. For this reason, I am considering getting a hard copy of the book. It is most definitely worth it.