Book Notes: “The Knowledge Illusion”

Subtitle: Why We Never Think Alone

By Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach

Sloman and Fernbach are professors with a background in cognitive science. In this book, they explain why we know less than we think we know; we fill in the gaps by leveraging the knowledge of others.

This seems obvious, and it is — I didn’t find much in the book surprising. (In its conclusion, the authors admit that the ideas they discuss have been around for a long time.) However, Sloman and Fernbach use simple, real-world examples that make it easy to relate to the issues.

I would recommend this book as an introduction to issues of cognition and decision-making. I was particularly drawn to chapter five (“Thinking With Our Bodies and the World”) which offers a (mostly) jargon-free overview of main tenets of embodied cognition. These are ideas that every designer of information environments should be familiar with, and this chapter is as good an introduction as I’ve seen.

Buy it from Amazon.com