In this article in The Independent Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman is talking about his new book.
Leaders and entrepreneurs are particularly optimistic. There’s plenty of evidence for that. They wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing if they didn’t have a sense that they could control their environment, and if they were not quite sanguine about their chances of success. Leaders are selected for their optimism. I have no interest in my financial adviser or in my surgeon being an optimist. On the other hand, if you have a football team that believes they can win, they are going to do better.
We’re blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know. We’re not designed to know how little we know. Most of the time, [trying to judge the validity of our own judgements] is not worth doing. But when the stakes are high, my guess is that asking for the advice of other people is better than criticising yourself, because other people are more likely – if they’re intelligent and knowledgeable – to understand your motives and your needs.
This is one of the best arguments for engaging in scenario thinking together with other people in order to reperceive the situation and recalibrate your current mental map.
Most political analysis of America’s awful economy focuses on whether it will doom President Obama’s reelection or cause Congress to turn toward one party or the other. These are important questions, but we should really be looking at the deeper problems with which whoever wins in 2012…