Monday, April 06, 2009

This morning I finished What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought by Keith E. Stanovich.

This is one of the most interesting non-fiction books I've read in a while. The basic thesis is that the concept of intelligence as commonly used is over-generalized, including both the level of skill at thinking and the ability to think rationally, and that great benefits could follow from properly bifurcating them into intelligence and rationality. The result of this over-generalization is that people are surprised when people who do well on IQ tests (which measure the former only) make stupid, irrational decisions.

Along the way, he presents a lot of research from cognitive psychology and gives a revised high level model of how the thinking mind works, and how this model can lead to bad decisions.

The writing is fairly dense, with a lot of psychological terms used freely. It is far from most of the popular science books that are out there today and it is clear that it is mainly an academically focused book. But if you are willing to do the work, it is well worth it.

Highly recommended.

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