Margaret Heffernan on why we ignore the obvious at our peril
Wilful Blindness was first published in 2011; the Financial Times called it one of the most important books of the decade. Largely inspired by the banking crisis and the crisis in the Catholic Church in Ireland, the book has gone on to be required reading in many institutions around the world: in finance, manufacturing, accounting, government and the law.
Margaret has now updated the book as events – Grenfell Tower, Rotherham, Wells Fargo, General Motors, VW, Brexit and Trump – keep so resoundingly proving her thesis. The new edition includes material on these and other examples, together with a new section on whistleblowers, antidotes and prevention.
Taking a behaviourally-informed approach to decision-making can enrich the process of policy formulation and implementation.
Eldar Shafir is one of the foremost thinkers in this area. His work brings together economics and cognitive science, focusing on the relevance of human cognition and perception and how mindsets change in contexts of scarcity (poverty and deprivation). In this talk he will discuss decision-making, bias and how we can make better policy if we incorporate a more nuanced understanding of why people do what they do.
On the surprising power of ideas that don't make sense
Humans are innately illogical, and make unconscious decisions based largely on our emotions. Yet when confronted with a business or personal challenge, we have become obsessed with absolute logic, rationality, algorithms and data, and it’s threatening to stunt us: politically, socially and economically.
What if there were an alternative to logic and rationality – a ‘psycho-logic’ – that was far more pervasive and powerful than we realise and that, when employed correctly, would create the kind of magic (or alchemy) most businesses only dream of?
In his latest book, Alchemy, Rory Sutherland draws on case studies and real world examples to reveal how we must learn to identify and understand the basics of this ‘psycho-logic’ and how this will help us achieve what we want and need to achieve.
In conversation with Stephanie Flanders, former economics editor at the BBC, Michael Lewis will take to the Intelligence Squared stage to discuss the themes of his latest book, The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed the World.
The Undoing Project explores the extraordinary relationship between Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky – a collaboration which created the field of behavioural economics and won Kahneman the Nobel Prize in economics in 2002, the first time the award had gone to a psychologist.
Behavioural economics shows that human beings are not the rational creatures we imagine ourselves to be. It has revolutionised our thinking about everything: from big data to medicine, from how we are governed to how we spend, from high finance to football.