44 pages 1 hour read

Michael Lewis

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 2016

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Chapter 8Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 8 Summary: “Going Viral”

This chapter focuses on Canadian doctor Donald Redelmeier, whose own work was largely influenced by reading Danny and Amos’s work. In fact, Redelmeier had read their first paper when he was only 17, but the ideas had stuck with him. When he became a doctor, he was concerned with the amount of flawed decision making in the medical field. As Lewis writes, “Redelmeier was never completely certain about anything, and he didn’t see why anybody else should be, either” (217). When he looked to diagnose a patient, he wanted to ensure his judgments were sound, that his mechanisms for decision making were not clouded by biases that might lead to systematic errors. Redelmeier was also seeing the consequences of risky, flawed decision making in the patients he was treating. After seeing a 21-year-old go brain dead after an avoidable motorcycle accident, Redelmeier “was newly struck by the inability of human beings to judge risks, even when their misjudgment might kill them” (225).

If Redelmeier were to make a difference in the world, he might just do it by focusing his attention on the best possible framework for decision making, which he had learned from Danny and Amos’s work.