Thinking Fast and Slow: by Daniel Kahneman serialised in quotes V: We mostly think we are better than we are

People often take on risky projects because they are overly optimistic about the odds they face. This built in, human tendency probably contributes to an explanation of why people litigate, why they start wars, and why they open small businesses.

Most of us view the world as more benign than it really is, our own attributes are more favourable than they truly are, and the goals we adopt as more achievable than they are likely to be.

90% of drivers believe they are better than average. {In contrast, people think that they are below average at starting conversations with strangers. What is happening is that people are substituting the question “Am I OK at driving?” for “Am I better than average?” a much harder question in that it requires knowledge of the average. Driving is easy, whereas starting conversations with strangers is hard.)

Generally it is considered a weakness and a sign of vulnerability for clinicians to appear unsure. Confidence is valued over uncertainty and there is prevailing censure against disclosing uncertainty to patients.


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