The Simon and Garfunkel of Behavioral Economics

I'm probably constructing an illogical metaphor here-- perhaps Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman are more like Sonny and Cher or Sam and Dave-- but my "representativeness" heuristic immediately latched on to Simon and Garfunkel because of the lopsided nature of the duo; the odd thing about Tversky and Kahneman's symbiotic academic relationship is that both members spent some time in the spotlight . . . both members got a turn at being Paul Simon; at the start of their astoundingly fruitful collaborations, everyone doted on Tversky and no one knew Kahneman's name, and now --ironically and tragically, because of Tversky's death from cancer in 1996-- Kahneman is the famous one (I highly recommend his book Thinking Fast and Slow) and Tversky is forgotten; if you love Moneyball and The Blind Side, then at least read the first chapter of this book-- Lewis addresses the fact that Richard Thaler, another behavioral economist, had one criticism about Moneyball: it didn't address why professional baseball overvalued sluggers . . . and Thaler suggested that for the answers, all you had to do was look back to a wacky duo of Israeli psychologists and their experiments and papers . . . the first chapter of The Undoing Project tells the story of Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, and how he tries to overcome the irrationality of the human mind-- loss aversion and the influence of narratives and regret over decision making-- and while there is plenty of psychology and descriptions of experimentation in the rest of the book, it's also heavily concerned with the weird, wonderful, sometimes strained and awkward relationship between these two geniuses.


zman said...

I would've used Peaches and Herb as the comparator but I get your point.

Whitney said...

Captain and Tennille.

A New Sentence Every Day, Hand Crafted from the Finest Corinthian Leather.