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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Key Figures

Daniel Kahneman

Kahneman, mostly referred to as “Danny” throughout this book, is a complicated individual, a Nobel prize-winning genius in the field of behavioral science and psychology whose insecurity and self-doubt cause him to undervalue his own work, time and again. As a Holocaust survivor, Danny’s identity as an Israeli Jew played a vital role in his worldview and in his subsequent work in the field of psychology. In perhaps his most significant contribution outside his collaborations with Amos Tversky, Danny’s test for assigning roles within the Israeli military is still used today. Yet, despite all his professional accolades and honors, including a Nobel Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Danny is described as insecure and anxious about others’ perceptions of him. For instance, when detailing the unraveling of Danny’s collaboration with Amos, Lewis writes, “Danny needed something from Amos. He needed him to correct the perception that they were not equal partners. And he needed it because he suspected Amos shared that perception” (332). Thus, Danny, one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, was susceptible to personal insecurity and debilitating self-doubt. Still, Danny is described as a problem solver by nature, an academic whose work held massive implications for life in the real world, unlike the distant hypotheticals of philosophical theorems.