Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Seeking Wisdom

I recently read Peter Bevelin's book Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger. I found it to be a great summary and discussion of many of the biases to which humans succumb thanks to our evolutionary upbringing.

Unlike many other books describing human behaviour, however, this one adds the element of seeing how some of the great men in history have countered such biases in order to move knowledge forward. For example, long before "confirmation bias" was defined, tested and made famous (well, at least around these parts), Charles Darwin knew its strength. To counter it, he consciously searched for information to disprove his hypotheses, for he knew that subconsciously, he would ignore such information.

One thing worth noting, however, is that if you have already read a lot of Munger and/or the works of some of the leading behavioural economics (e.g. Kahneman), you may not get a lot out of this book. Yes, the book contains the wisdom of more than just a few people, but it is heavily weighted towards the writings and speeches of Munger.

The average man learns from his mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others. This book can help those who seek to learn the biases that sometimes fool us into making bad decisions. I highly recommend this title for those in pursuit of wisdom.

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