Top critical review
Confirmation Bias is NOT a conscious choice... (and other weirdnesses)...
Reviewed in the United States on April 29, 2019
This is more interesting than other Hollins' productions I've bought (and didn't like -- they've been removed from the marketplace.)
At least the sentences are a little bit more interesting... but at times truly bizarre. (Talking about what reversible decisions are ,comparing them, a non-reversible decision is "shaving your cat"... say what? I'm wondering if this wasn't spun from "skinning a cat.") At times the adjectives seem like someone went thru and randomly used something to replace one adjective with a similar one -- but not one I would assume a native English speaker would ever use.
Some of the content -- which seemed, at times, gratuitously added to fatten the ebook -- seemed like it was spun from other content.
What I like best -- the summaries at the end of the chapters of the mental models.
Seems like "mental models" are the topic du jour... as there are at least two other books coming out about it (with some of them starting from a similar place -- a 1994 Commencement Speech at USC by Warren Buffett's well-regarded partner, Charlie Munger) -- and another one by another prolific author in the personal development space.
After having gone thru the summaries and then gone back if the summaries weren't sufficient to provide clarity, there were some things which were just plain wrong... or incomplete.
The first is the one which I mention in the headline. Confirmation bias is talked about as if it's a conscious choice. It's not. You can know all you want about conbias and it's not going to stop you from doing it. It's hard to even see it in yourself,, and it takes quite a bit of humility to even begin to see a bit of it. (Which is why political discussions tend to go off the rail.)
Confirmation bias is part of the human condition. It's as much a part of us as our visual blindspots. It serves self-protective functions in the psyche -- very strong ones at that.
Okay, so that's #1.
#2 -- Kahneman's System #2 thinking. Anyone who represented system #2 thinking in such an incomplete way has NEVER read Kahneman. While system #2 is more thoughtful, it, too, has shortcomings. (UGH!).
I doubt Kahneman would recognize the descriptions of system #1 and system #2 from the description in this book. They are that far off, dumbed down and trivialized.
I'm of mixed feelings about this. The summaries are helpful. The summary of all of the models at the end are just about all you need. There's so much unnecessary fat in this book (which is amusing, in a very cynical way; that is -- in wondering how these sentences or analogies were come up with. But you may not have the same curiosity I have in reverse engineering how people create stuff, like I do.)
This MIGHT even be worth $3.99 to you. The Charlie Munger premise is a good one. Whether this is the best place to acquire additional mental models (many of which you've probably already heard) is questionable.
If this is a topic of interest to you, google around a bit, look at other book descriptions, check out wikipedia.
And if you're really up to it -- read Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow." There's so much there to chew on, which goes far beyond the system 1 and system 2 thinking... it's well worth the read. It's probably one of the most profound books I've read (which I did back in 2014).
You will learn a lot more about clear thinking, and how we humans get distorted views of the world, than probably any collection of mental models will give you.
Updated: while doing some research on other topics, I see the book by Shane Parrish will cover 109 mental models ... and you can actually find the list on his blog at fs dot blog. Some with articles (if I had to guess... more than 30.)
While mental models are indeed powerful, one of the things to recognize is that models DELETE information. It's important to recognize both the strengths and weaknesses of models (which this book does not do.) Some models are going to work better in some knowledge domains better than others.
More models is just a scratch into the surface of thinking and making better decisions. Without the wisdom that comes from weaknesses and strengths, they can lead you in the wrong direction if used incorrectly.