The most important thing I'm learning from Daniel Kahneman's book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, is that we make up stories to explain our world regardless of our level of understanding. Something happens--our brain makes up an explanation.
It's crucial to understand that our brain will make an explanation up under any circumstances. The most serious problem is that we act like we have enough information to be reliable. Kahneman calls that WYSIATI: "what you see is all there is." It's almost NEVER true. Based on incomplete and often skewed information, we "decide" what the story must be. Then we act as if we understand the truth.
Someone once told me, "there's what you know and what you think you know." Make a commitment today to be sceptical about what you know.
Bloomberg Businessweek: Book Review: Thinking, Fast and Slow, 2011-Oct-27, by Roger Lowenstein
The flaw in this remarkable machine is that System 1 [thinking fast] works with as little or as much information as it has. If it can’t answer the question, “Is Ford stock a good investment?” it supplies an answer based on related but not really relevant data, such as whether you like Ford’s cars.
System 1 simplifies, confirms—it looks for, and believes it sees, narrative coherence in an often random world. It does not perform complicated feats of logic or statistical evaluations....
I will never think about thinking quite the same. It’s a monumental achievement.
Charlie Rose's Feb. 29, 2012 interview with author Daniel Kahneman