As I’m sure has been obvious from my reviews, I’m a behavioral economics fiend. I love economics as the study of human behavior, particularly explaining irrational or unexpected human behaviors. I’ve read dozens of books on the subject, and many of them reference the same studies, so much so that I’ll read half of a sentence and think “oh, this one where people think that a coin flipped ten times as heads will be tails next because it’s “due,” instead of it being the same 50/50 odds as every other coin flip.” There are a few such “greatest hits” studies I can sing along to, and a surprising number of them are from Kahneman and Tversky. It should have sparked my interest in the pair much earlier.
The Undoing Project is the story of the friendship between Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky and their revolutionizing economics. I hadn’t realized that prior to their collaboration, behavioral economics was essentially not a thing. They invented a whole field of study that I’m obsessed with, and I had no idea.
The book is as much about their friendship and their working relationship as it is about the field of study itself, and is the “deep dive” that I often feel is lacking from economics books. We learn about Daniel, an absent minded professor type, who pursues any idea that interests him in his teaching career, and Amos, a more regimented thinker, and their unlikely “opposites attract” collaboration.
This is a book I’m excited to read again in a few years, it was one that rewarded close reading and I fear I’ve missed some forest for the trees.