Amos Tversky — An Amazing Man

Per the very readable new book by Michael Lewis, “The Undoing Project,” Amos Tversky kept these thoughts on a piece of paper by his desk. They are now on mine.

People predict by making up stories.

People predict very little and explain everything.

People live under uncertainty whether they like it or not.

People believe they can tell the future if they work hard enough.

People accept any explanation as long as it fits the facts.

The handwriting was on the wall. It was just the ink that was invisible.

People often work hard to obtain information they already have and avoid new knowledge.

Man is a deterministic device thrown into a probabilistic Universe. In this match, surprises are expected.

Everything that has already happened must have been inevitable.

A part of good science is to see what everyone else can see but think what no one else has ever said.

The difference between being very smart and very foolish is often very small.

So many problems occur when people fail to be obedient when they are supposed to be obedient, and fail to be creative when they are supposed to be creative.

The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.

It is sometimes easier to make the world a better place than to prove you have made the world a better place.

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