Bitter Ending

Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky changed the way we think about thinking. The Israeli psychologists collaborated on a series of studies that showed how our intuitions can lead us astray. Their partnership is among the most successful in academic history. Here’s how that success drove a wedge between them. post

In Israel, Danny had been the person whom real-world people came to when they had some real-world problem. The people in real-world America came to Amos, even when it wasn’t obvious that he had any reason to know what he was talking about.

Jonathan Cohen raised a small philosophy-sized ruckus with a series of attacks in books and journals. He argued that because man had created the concept of rationality, he must, by definition, be rational. "Rational" was whatever most people did.

But by then it was clear that no matter how often people who were trained in statistics affirmed the truth of Danny and Amos’s work, people who weren’t would insist that they knew better.

The growing crowd of common enemies failed to unite them. They maintained the illusion that they were still working together, much as before, even as the forces pulling them apart gathered strength.

Danny needed something from Amos. He needed him to correct the perception that they were not equal partners. And he needed it because he suspected Amos shared that perception. If Amos couldn’t give Danny what he needed, it was perhaps because he couldn’t imagine having the need.


Disciplined Thinking and its absence in business and science. How we might deal with our natural being.