Everything is Obvious: Once You Know the Answer

Everything is Obvious Once You Know the Answer Why is the Mona Lisa the most famous painting in the world Why did Facebook succeed when other social networking sites failed Did the surge in Iraq really lead to less violence How much can CEO s impa

  • Title: Everything is Obvious: Once You Know the Answer
  • Author: Duncan J. Watts
  • ISBN: 9780385531689
  • Page: 419
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Why is the Mona Lisa the most famous painting in the world Why did Facebook succeed when other social networking sites failed Did the surge in Iraq really lead to less violence How much can CEO s impact the performance of their companies And does higher pay incentivize people to work hard If you think the answers to these questions are a matter of common sense, think aWhy is the Mona Lisa the most famous painting in the world Why did Facebook succeed when other social networking sites failed Did the surge in Iraq really lead to less violence How much can CEO s impact the performance of their companies And does higher pay incentivize people to work hard If you think the answers to these questions are a matter of common sense, think again As sociologist and network science pioneer Duncan Watts explains in this provocative book, the explanations that we give for the outcomes that we observe in life explanation that seem obvious once we know the answer are less useful than they seem.Drawing on the latest scientific research, along with a wealth of historical and contemporary examples, Watts shows how common sense reasoning and history conspire to mislead us into believing that we understand about the world of human behavior than we do and in turn, why attempts to predict, manage, or manipulate social and economic systems so often go awry.It seems obvious, for example, that people respond to incentives yet policy makers and managers alike frequently fail to anticipate how people will respond to the incentives they create Social trends often seem to have been driven by certain influential people yet marketers have been unable to identify these influencers in advance And although successful products or companies always seem in retrospect to have succeeded because of their unique qualities, predicting the qualities of the next hit product or hot company is notoriously difficult even for experienced professionals.Only by understanding how and when common sense fails, Watts argues, can we improve how we plan for the future, as well as understand the present an argument that has important implications in politics, business, and marketing, as well as in science and everyday life.

    Everything is Obvious Once You Know The Answer How Everything is Obvious Once You Know The Answer How Common Sense Fails Us Duncan J Watts Why did Facebook succeed when other social networking sites failed Did the surge in Iraq really lead to less violence If you think the answers to these questions are a matter of common sense, think again. Everything Is Obvious How Common Sense Fails Us Duncan J The fresh ideas in this book, like the invention of spectacles, help bring things into better focus. Alan Alda Everything is Obvious is indicated for managers, scholars, or anyone else tired of oversimplified, faulty explanations about how business, government, society and even sports work. Everything is Obvious Once You Know the Answer by Duncan Everything is Obvious Once you know the answer is a challenge to the notion that common sense is good sense It is a presentation of the author s significant researches into this topic It is a presentation of the author s significant researches into this topic. Everything Is Obvious Summary Four Minute Books Aug , Sentence Summary Everything Is Obvious shows you that common sense isn t as reliable as you think it is, because it often fails us in helping to make predictions, and how you can change the way you or your company make decisions with Everything Is Obvious Once You Know the Jan , Everything is Obvious is indicated for managers, scholars, or anyone else tired of oversimplified, faulty explanations about how business, government, society and even sports work Temporary side effects of reading Duncan Watts tour de force include light headedness, a tendency to question one s colleagues, Everything Is Obvious by Duncan J Watts Jun , Everything is Obvious is engagingly written and sparkles with counter intuitive insights Its modesty about what can and cannot be known also compares favourably with other big idea books James Crabtree, comment editor Financial Times Everything is Obvious by Ryan Abbott SSRN Oct , This skilled person is defined as a non innovative worker with a limited knowledge base The creative and informed the skilled person, the

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      419 Duncan J. Watts
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    About "Duncan J. Watts"

    1. Duncan J. Watts

      Duncan Watts is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and a founding member of the MSR NYC lab From 2000 2007, he was a professor of Sociology at Columbia University, and then, prior to joining Microsoft, a principal research scientist at Yahoo Research, where he directed the Human Social Dynamics group He has also served on the external faculty of the Santa Fe Institute and is currently a visiting fellow at Columbia University and at Nuffield College, Oxford.His research on social networks and collective dynamics has appeared in a wide range of journals, from Nature, Science, and Physical Review Letters to the American Journal of Sociology and Harvard Business Review He is also the author of Six Degrees The Science of a Connected Age W.W Norton, 2003 and Small Worlds The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness Princeton University Press, 1999.He holds a B.Sc in Physics from the Australian Defence Force Academy, from which he also received his officer s commission in the Royal Australian Navy, and a Ph.D in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University He lives in New York City.

    208 thoughts on “Everything is Obvious: Once You Know the Answer”

    1. This book starts off reasonably well: the first half is devoted to giving us many examples of the failure or inadequacy of 'common sense' to explain or predict the world we live in. The most interesting underlying concept, for me, is that in this world, ALL knowledge is generated and developed for the purposes of prediction: we collect data, develop hypotheses to back up certain patterns we perceive or deduce from that data, and then use these patterns (usually in the form of mathematical formul [...]

    2. Reasons why I liked this book (on account of my confirmation bias):1. Watts thinks Malcolm Gladwell is an idiot2. His criticism of Nassim Taleb's "Black Swan" events3. Great summaries of various behavioral economics/policy/psychology/sociological experiments4. Further proof that Nozick was wrong and Rawls/Sandel are right (obviously)

    3. This is frequently described as a book on common sense, which it is, but more importantly it's an investigation on human cognitive limits more generally and also a call to radically restructure the discipline of sociology in light of modern advances in technology. Sociology often gets made fun of in the hierarchies of academic disciplines, but Watts argues that there are reasons why sociology seems so vague and unscientific: not only are sociological problems very complicated in ways that physic [...]

    4. The book started out with a lot of stories and fascinating new ideas. While we are wired to try to predict outcomes, we really can't do as well as we think. If you're skeptical, you'll become a believer pretty quickly while reading. What we think is "obvious" is really only that way after the fact. He illustrates this fact by pretending to give some outcome to a situation where the reader can easily assign reasons why the outcome happened. Then he said the opposite outcome was really true, and a [...]

    5. *Well, that's just obvious!* It's just common sense, right? Think again!This book explores the three main types of common sense errors: systemically flawed mental models of individual behavior, even more flawed models of collective behaviors, and misrepresentations of past events which result in us learning less from history than we think we do. The book does a powerful job in exposing the reality that common sense convinces us that we know more than we really do. (Warning: this truth may be mor [...]

    6. Отличная книга, которую рекомендую всем поклонникам критического и системного мышления! Да и просто мудрым людям, желающим разобраться "как это работает" (в смысле, наше сознание, принимающее решения, делающее выводы, выбирающее "лучшее" и т.п.). По стилю подачи информации и [...]

    7. Whenever I hear (or read) an otherwise intelligent person deriding a social psych experiment-- e.g "I can't believe someone had to *research* whether the media causes poor body image in teenage girls! Everybody *knows* it does!"--I weep for humanity. The tools of social science are imprecise, and what "everybody knows" is often wrong, or not proven by studies, or rendered inconclusive by the data. That's why we do studies, that's why we keep the research and the conversation going when studies c [...]

    8. Ack. I'm convinced that commonsense reasoning fails us. I'm convinced that policy makers should hire social scientists who actually use rigorous methodology instead of intuition and uncontrolled experiments. But I was convinced of that already. I thought this was actually going to give us some answers. And I didn't find any that actually helped me understand anything but I've been reading a lot of modern psychology books already.Bonus point for the snaps on Gladwell. Subtractive points for blink [...]

    9. If you are only a reader of fiction, you probably will not like this book. If however you have some interest in the psychology of human behavior, this may appeal to you. It is well suited for those of us who have some background training and or experience in clinical trials, study groups, and statistics. The text is a bit dry, but not so much so that it is difficult to read. The author does a reasonably good job in explaining how and why people decide to do what they do and form the opinions the [...]

    10. Consider the last national election, your employer's last annual report, or your favorite sports team's last away-game victory. What made the particular outcome happen? Looking backward, conclusions seem foregone; we construct retrospective explanations that justify how what happened had to happen, because, well, it did. But Duncan J. Wells explains that what seems inevitable once it's already happened, is actually deeply contingent and controversial. Exactly why is both bizarre and revealing.Tr [...]

    11. Deep. A bit philosophical. Takes on 'common sense' explanations of social phenomenon like influencers and tipping points. Also describes some of his own very cool research (though you gotta go elsewhere for more details of it).A couple of my favorite nuggets:When a forest fire breaks out, we never wonder what made that spark so unique. We only wonder how much dry tinder was lying around the forest and how long the drought had been. But when a video goes viral or a brand takes off, we ONLY wonder [...]

    12. This book has a brilliant first half where it shows that common sense is a questionable appeal, a dubious guide to action, and a disastrous foundation to policy, while the second half has some key advice but fails to take the truly courageous step, unlike Kahneman, of telling us how to practically distrust ourselves. What this volume serves up instead, the measure of continually analyzing the communication patterns of the internet will literally serve as the telescope that will lead to the remak [...]

    13. Ótima introdução às ciências sociais para mim, que não tinha contato. Muito legal como ele separa o que parece óbvio do que é comprovado de fato, e como dá perspectivas do que realmente podemos saber sobre o futuro e sobre o comportamento humano. Vai bem além do que se propôs.

    14. For me, this book is sweet, delicious Nihilism. No, that's the wrong word. It's like Nihilism for knowledge, which I don't think is a word. Let me back up - I negative learned from this book. I unlearned many explanations for the world I thought I knew, and changed how I perceive and understand my interactions with people around me. Watts very strongly argues that it's very challenging to understand people or predict the future, so humans just kind of guess and mostly guess wrong.Science then tr [...]

    15. Like many works written by academics, Everything is Obvious: Once you know the answer, starts out promising but ends up losing its way. The edition that I "read" was the audio edition, which was narrated (happily) by the author himself. Just as well he was a reasonably competent reader, though somewhat stilted.Everything is Obvious: Once you know the answer is a challenge to the notion that common sense is good sense. It is a presentation of the author's significant researches into this topic. A [...]

    16. Buku ini diawali dengan beberapa kasus di mana orang2 penting, seperti penulis John Gribbin, serta senator AS, menganggap riset sosiologi bukan hal yang penting, misalnya sepenting riset fisika. Riset di bidang fisika tentu amat penting. Namun agak lucu kalau menganggap riset sosial itu tak penting dengan alasan — menurut mereka — bahwa hasilnya bisa ditebak dengan logika biasa, tanpa harus melakukan riset yang luas. Di dekade kedua abad ke-21 ini, dengan analisis yang cukup banyak mengenai [...]

    17. This book was great at first. I read his original book "Six Degrees" and was enjoying this one almost as much. The second half of the book completely lost focus, though, as he jumped around between unrelated points and kept complaining that social scientists aren't given enough credit.The concepts shared in the book about how outcomes of events seem so certain after the fact, how "common sense" can be completely wrong, and how we often learn the wrong lessons from history were very interesting. [...]

    18. Duncan Watts argues that our common sense is not as good as we think it should be. When we trust our common sense we often make bad predictions.His support:We are duped into believing the Mona Lisa is such an extraordinary painting or Shakespeare such amazing writing. The Mona Lisa is small and average work for Da Vinci. We study these works as masterpieces and eventually it becomes self fullfilling. Our common sense is a poor predictor as it should have been obvious that Facebook and Yahoo and [...]

    19. George Davey-Smith recommended that I read this book because he was fascinated by its account of how it is "arbitrary" that certain things--the Mona Lisa, Facebook, the Harry Potter books--become hugely famous and popular. It is not because of their intrinsic qualities (although they must have some merit) but because of other complicated processes that I will try to explain in a blog (primarily to try and get it into my head).This book is an example of not quite making it. The book could have be [...]

    20. Plausible, common-sense explanations we think up to explain things can often be wrong. On-line field experiments show that the "six degrees of separation" is pretty much true, but the links do not go through a small number of highly-connected people after all. In complex social systems, the response to inputs can be highly nonlinear, and there's no way to predict them. There is a good deal of randomness in what ideas become popular. Social change comes from a critical mass of easily influenced p [...]

    21. After I graduated from business school I went to work on Wall Street and was paid very well. I wanted to see for myself if it is true that "Money can't buy happiness." If you like to test conventional wisdom and take nothing for granted then this book is for you. That old saw, like common sense, implies a certain model of life. This book advocates that we need to understand our models, their underlying assumptions, their uses and missuses, their limitations, their derivations and implications. F [...]

    22. One of the books that I still think about daily.Probably best to read in a class or some group at least because the content is pretty dense and can be confusing (it definitely got better the second time I read it). But it has so many insights on how we think and how organizations (dis)function, and offers strategies to try to go beyond our usual and limited/often misguided ways of making predictions.An aspect of the book that I found especially refreshing was his thoughts on the complexity and i [...]

    23. It was a promising read until it started becoming a compendium of statistical definitions with examples. It was interesting at times when the examples were fascinating - Namely the promised circular reasoning of Mona Lisa's universal appeal or maybe the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid bit to prove that When predicting an outcome, the present moment cannot be considered vital or the psychology of mobs. The book starts getting predictable, which is an irony.It is part II which made me sit up. Using [...]

    24. the book can be broadly separated into 2 parts(a) how common sense fails us (i) personal level - how we usually think only in term of incentive etc vs circumstantial explanation as to why someone does something (e.g. default setting) (ii) societal level - how the problem at the personal level gets compounded into a bigger problem - we tend to simplify explanations like taking/understanding society as a whole (e.g. explaining market as 1 person, the economy as 1 person) etc (iii) history - and ho [...]

    25. The first part of the book will be of interest to the average person looking to sharpen his or her critical thinking skills. Watts touches on several traps inherent in "common sense" thinking, and I've successfully used some of the points he makes to win arguments with my significant other. With that in mind, I highly recommend it.The book's second section details sociologists' difficulty in developing robust grand theories, as well their seeming inability to "prove" anything that wouldn't alrea [...]

    26. The author of this book clearly knows what he is talking about. He provides an interesting point of view, as he has a PhD in theoretical and applied mechanics and he was professor of sociology at Columbia University for four years. The natural and social sciences tend to be pitted against each other, yet he knows both sides.I love the ending of the book, when he says that the internet will be like Galileo's telescope in opening up the field of astronomy, but in this case, it will be for sociolog [...]

    27. The ideas the author espouses are indeed fascinating and mind opening. The author,while obviously an educated person with well defined opinions, is a scholar and NOT a writer. The premise of this book begs to be satisfying and mind expanding but the writing style is for eye-glazing mostly. Author is writing to himself not for an audience who seeks enlightenment in an entertaining and engrossing manner. Just because you understand something the common man may not doesn't mean you are well suited [...]

    28. Everything is Obvious is exactly the kind of book that makes people uncomfortable. And that's exactly why everyone should read it. Watts shows that we don't know nearly as much as we think we do. Written in a much more accessible style than [[ASIN:0141034599 The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable]], Everything is Obvious should be required reading for leaders of industry and government. In a nutshell, it shows that we don't know jack--and why.

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