Note to self regarding “Blunder: Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions” by Zachary Shore

I recently finished Zachary Shore’s book “Blunder: Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions.” I think I heard an interview with Shore on a show on NPR and the lessons from the book seem important.

So, some time has passed, I’ve read the book, and before I pass it on to someone else, I feel a need to record some personal notes about it, in case I lose it.

The blunders (titles of the 1st 7 chapters of the book):

  1. Exposure Anxiety: The Fear of Being Seen as Weak
  2. Causefusion: Confusing the Causes of Complex Events
  3. Flatview: Seeing the World in One Dimension
  4. Cure-allism: Believeing that One Size Really Fits All
  5. Infomania: The Obsessive Relationship to Information
  6. Mirror Imaging: Thinking the Other Side Thinks Like Us
  7. Static Cling: Refusal to Accept a Changing World

From the last chapter, Shore mentioned 5 ways to prevent blunders.

  1. Mental flexibility
  2. Willingness to question majority view
  3. Rejection of reductionism
  4. Development of empathy and imagination
  5. Embrace uncertainty

I don’t have the time that writing about this book deserves, but in relation to user experience design, these lessons certainly apply and complement what I’m sure many UX pros already have learned. The historical perspectives in the book made it interesting and provided realistic narratives to explain the various cognition traps.

As a designer and a product owner in scrum, this is an important read. Advisors and executives should read this book, too.

There are some bits of information that I try to memorize in order to encourage my mind to recall them as needed. Some proverbs, usability heuristics, certain interaction design “laws”…and now these blunders I will try to add to this list.

Memories of snow

I read the book “Snow” by Orhan Pamuk. There is much to say about the book, but I’ll say nothing, except that upon discussing the novel with Sarah Payok, who
recommended I read it, I recalled some memories of snow, which I have not written down before.

The sound of snow

I meditated often when I was young, but had trouble with mantras, having had no teacher to learn from. Adapting, I turned sounds and rhythms into mantras. We lived on high ground, and the wind often blew. Sitting in my bedroom at night, I returned my mind to the rhythm of the gusts and the soft moans of the wind.

One night the wind ceased its noise, and hard, dry snow flakes fell rapidly. In the quietness, the snow whispered silently on the roof and on the side of the tall, shingled house.

Later, I stood at the window with the musty screen and watched the pitch-blackness of night and snow.

Snow-deer

Years ago, I was driving my grandmother and my wife in the Winter in the Keewenaw Peninsula, along the coast of Lake Superior. We rounded a slow corner out of Eagle River, and in a park by the road we suddenly saw a small herd of whitetail deer. They were standing under pine trees, eating bark, legs deep in snow. They appeared to have been standing there for a while, because their backs were frosted with fluffy mounds of snow. They looked like fat, stuffed dolls because their hair bristled out all along their bodies. They were the softest, prettiest deer I’ve ever seen.

A lamp in the snow

Earlier this Winter, I stood in the kitchen of my apartment at 3 AM and lifted the blinds on the window.

I was struck by beauty. Heavy, wet snowflakes were falling, sticking to tree branches and piling in 3-inch high ridges on limbs. The sidewalk had vanished. The landscaping timbers and the bushes were all simply mounds in the snow. The snow was falling at an angle from the North, its fall tilted by the branches. It eddied and spiraled down.

At the center of the scene was a black lamp post. Light beamed from underneath its snow cap and sparkled in the snow crystals. The snowflakes fell from shadows above and settled to rest in the circle of light.

Read: Everything is Miscellaneous by Weinberger

I just finished “Everything is Miscellaneous” by David Weinberger.

Fantastic read for information architects! I found it thought-provoking, educational, and humorous. I find myself thinking more creatively about designing information in my work.

To honor the miscellany, I actually read through the Notes (references to sources used in each chapter), Acknowledgments, and the Index at the end of the book.

The link to the site for the book is http://www.everythingismiscellaneous.com/.

However, it appears that as of right now, there is a problem with WordPress’s database connection. (Come on, people.)

And, as a matter of tapping at the Web, I tried the https connection to the site, and found this slip showing:

This web site is in the process of being moved. Please check back later today. Please contact billo if you have questions about it. You know his phone number.