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The Myth of Experience: Why We Learn the Wrong Lessons, and Ways to Correct Them

Emre Soyer, Robin M Hogarth

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Business & management

A transformative look at experience and the many ways it misleads, deceives and curtails us.

Experience is a great teacher-except when it isn't.

Our personal experience is key to who we are and what we do. We judge others by their experience and are judged by ours. Society venerates experience. From doctors to teachers to managers to presidents, the more experience the better. It's not surprising then, that we often fall back on experience when making decisions, an easy way to make judgements about the future, a constant teacher that provides clear lessons. Yet, this intuitive reliance on experience is misplaced.

In The Myth of Experience, behavioral scientists Emre Soyer and Robin Hogarth take a transformative look at experience and the many ways it deceives and misleads us. From distorting the past to limiting creativity to reducing happiness, experience can cause misperceptions and then reinforce them without our awareness. Instead, the authors argue for a nuanced approach, where a healthy skepticism toward the lessons of experience results in more reliable decisions and sustainable growth.

With real-life examples from bloodletting to personal computers to pandemics, and distilling cutting edge research, Soyer and Hogarth illustrate the flaws of experience as a guide to decision making and provide the remedies needed to improve our judgments and choices-in the workplace and beyond.

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