Book Review: How We Decide

What if the purpose of a BI system is not to help decision makers make informed decisions, but rather to provide data to our emotional brain so that they make more effective gut decisions?

I recently read Jonah Lehrer's book, How We Decide.  In the book, Lehrer contrasts the two ways we as humans make decisions: our rational brain that "thinks" about a problem, and our emotional brain--the fight vs. flight gut decision.

One story told in the book is about making purchasing decisions as in what strawberry jam to buy.  If we overthink this, we will be less likely to be happy with our choice later on.  Thinking about it gets in the way of our emotional brain.

But contestants of Deal or No Deal are often subject to "loss aversion", because you remember how much you "could have had" in the previous round.  This fools the emotional brain into making the wrong decision.

I could go on and on, contrasting this to Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, another great book, but hopefully you have a sense of the book by now.  Just make the gut decision to buy the book.