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Optimism versus Pessimism

Interesting thought from Daniel Kahneman (by way of this Economist article) on the role of overconfidence in the economy:

A cheery disposition may be necessary for societies to function. Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist and Nobel economics laureate, has a chapter in his book “Thinking Fast and Slow” which describes overconfidence as “the engine of capitalism”. No entrepreneur can be sure that his planned investment will succeed but if no one took a risk, new products and jobs would never be created. A certain blindness to the odds may be necessary.

I really need to read Kahneman’s book

January 29, 2012 // This post is about: , ,


  • Ted Rheingold says:

    For years I’ve threatened to buy a billboard that says “Overconfidence Kills”

    The cruise ship captain that thought he it could bring his boat close to shore to wave to friends is case in point.

    My theory, as one who is prone to overconfidence, and gotten himself in dangerous situations, is that know that there are unknown and unknowns and proceed cautiously when you are the lead climber.

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