New Nonfiction: Eyes Wide Open – Noreena Hertz

As our culture becomes increasingly networked, it’s been interesting to watch commentary on it. If publishing reflects the zeitgeist, it seems that we are moving on from a fascination with crowd-sourcing and the potential inherent in data. Data’s here in all its fire hose force–now we’re overwhelmed by it. And the issue has become how to assess both the truthfulness and usefulness of what we take in.

Hertz is a writer, economist and consultant to major corporations. And while this book has an obvious appeal to the business community, I found that it’s also useful for the general reader who is trying to understand how to make effective decisions in an evolving, networked world.

Hertz’s 2011 TED Talk gives a good flavor of the book:

[A] detailed guide to the vulnerabilities of human cognition, ranging from selection biases to sleep deprivation, from statistical misapprehensions to simple peer pressure and unconscious environmental cues. [Hertz] also explains how the straightforward presentation of information can sometimes mislead us, and the means by which profit- and power-seeking entities attempt to exploit our human foibles … Written in an informal style, the book might seem like light entertainment, but many of Hertz’s observations are impressively incisive… her straightforward suggestions will alert readers to logical and perceptive blinders, allowing them to make better decisions.”
— Publishers Weekly

Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World (9780062268617) by Noreena Hertz. $26.99 hardcover. 9/24/13 on sale.

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