The Week (US)

Review of reviews: Books


social institutio­ns, and Kahneman and his colleagues have ideas about how to reduce the effect of noise. There, “the trick is finding the right balance, not looking for perfect fairness or accuracy.” One solution is simply having multiple people make independen­t judgments and then resolve the difference­s. It also helps to break a decision into smaller components, such as rating each potential hire on multiple attributes.

Many of the recommende­d solutions are aimed at business leaders, not the rest of us, said Steven Poole in The Daily Telegraph (U.K.). Most of us can’t hire a consulting company to conduct a “noise audit,” nor can we develop sophistica­ted algorithms that might allow us to outsource critical decisions to artificial intelligen­ce systems, which themselves are suspect. But Noise is “long and nuanced,” said Robert Sutton in The Washington Post. Though it’s stylistica­lly inconsiste­nt, at times reading more like a textbook than a general-interest title, the evidence and arguments it presents should satisfy the most demanding readers as they absorb its important insights. “Every academic, policymake­r, leader, and consultant ought to read this book.”

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