Thursday, April 30, 2015

Decision Making in a Nutshell

Justin Fox has a nice review article in the Harvard Business Review which reviews the three major schools of decision-making (decision analysis, heuristics and biases, and "we're not as stupid as we look"). Particularly fascinating, in an inside baseball sort of way, is the bit about how Gerd Gigerenzer "fatigued" Daniel Kahneman with his arguments:
During an academic year at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, in 1989–1990, he gave talks at Stanford (which had become Tversky’s academic home) and UC Berkeley (where Kahneman then taught) fiercely criticizing the heuristics-and-biases research program. His complaint was that the work of Kahneman, Tversky, and their followers documented violations of a model, Bayesian decision analysis, that was itself flawed or at best incomplete. Kahneman encouraged the debate at first, Gigerenzer says, but eventually tired of his challenger’s combative approach. The discussion was later committed to print in a series of journal articles, and after reading through the whole exchange, it’s hard not to share Kahneman’s fatigue.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Startup Geometry Podcast, Episode 001: Steven Brust

Welcome to the Startup Geometry podcast, where we talk to the creators, innovators and explorers who make the world what it is.

In this episode, I talk with Steven Brust, author of the Vlad Taltos/Dragaera novels. We talk about his writing process, important influences and future plans. I've been a huge fan of Steven's, ever since his first novel, Jhereg, introduced us to wisecracking assassin Vlad Taltos and his sidekick Loiosh back in 1983.

His latest books are Hawk and The Incrementalists.

You'll notice that I immediately mispronounce his last name (which is pronounced BROOST, though spelled BRUST), despite having pasted a note with the phonetic spelling of his name to the microphone I was using at the time. Podcasting is HARD.

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Show links:
Dreamcafe, Steven Brust's homepage
His Twitter account: @stevenbrust

At the site:
Fritz Leiber
Michael Moorcock
Roger Zelazny
Skyler White
Emma Bull

The Isaiah Berlin quote I referenced with regard to Incrementalist politics was in an interview with him which was excerpted in The 50 Year Argument, a documentary on the New York Review of Books, where I first saw and heard it. Similar sentiments could be found elsewhere in his work, for example in Crooked Timber, a collection of his essays and lectures.