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Reviews

“Everything Is Obvious” should be on the bookshelves of just about everybody, from journalists … to business people to public relations people to advertising and marketing professionals, to just about everybody.

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Everything is Obvious is engagingly written and sparkles with counter-intuitive insights. Its modesty about what can and cannot be known also compares favourably with other “big idea” books.”

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“Common sense is a kind of bespoke make-believe, and we can no more use it to scientifically explain the workings of the social world than we can use a hammer to understand mollusks.”

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“Mr. Watts, a former sociology professor and physicist who is now a researcher for Yahoo, has written a fascinating book that ranges through psychology, economics, marketing and the science of social networks.”

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“What a great book!  No mere Freakonomics or Gladwell style coverage of interesting discoveries, Watts presents an excellent defence of sociology and how its many topics are critically important to public policy discussions.”

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“Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer is an easy to understand and thorough dismantling of the myth of common sense. Every sociology 101 student should read at least a portion of this book.”

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“It’s almost as good as having a life changing experience”

“The book “Everything is obvious” from Duncan Watts is part of a small collection of books that everybody need to read in order to have a greater understanding about the world around us.”

“It will make you question your beliefs…Watts is a polymath, and your understanding of the world around you is likely to be transformed by tapping into his knowledge.”

“Everything is Obvious Once You Know the Answer … is a tour de force through many different psychological concepts (from confirmation bias, through motivated reasoning to creeping determinism and the wisdom of crowds) that challenge our own conclusions regarding human behaviour and what drives our opinions.”

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“If you think common sense is a good thing, read this book.”

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“Watts questions much of the recent work that purports to identify causes and effects in complex, unique situations involving such things as tipping points and many of the phenomena examined by the Freakonomists. In fact, nearly all writing about management and behavioral economics that seeks to credit performance to one cause or another is suspect.”

Read the full Harvard Business School Review

“This clever and amusing assault on conventional wisdom ought to become a popular science hit, says Adrian Furnham.”

“Regardless of the Watt’s biases ( towards a Popperian view of science, and a Rawlsian system of justice) this is an important book. Most importantly, it captures much of the current thinking on the limits of human knowledge, and a little skepticism never hurts.”

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“It’s a thorough and convincing debunking of attempts to understand the chaotic path of social progress.”

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“In this bold thesis, renowned network scientist Duncan J. Watts exposes the complex mechanics of judgement and proposes a radical new way of thinking about human behaviour.”

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“It’s about time a sociologist wrote an amazing and accessible book for a non-specialist audience. Everything Is Obvious*: Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts is that amazing book.”

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“The book is fantastic, and I want to talk all about it. Reading it is almost a religious awakening—you realize how little you really know, and how many mistakes you make ALL THE TIME.”

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Everything is Obvious is a serious book both for the author and the reader: Watts is putting together ideas from several major research projects he has done over the past ten years or so, and thinking about how they affect our understanding of the social world and the decisions we make, as individuals and organizations, in this world.”

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“Yahoo Research principal research scientist Duncan J. Watts makes a compelling case for re-evaluating the worth of common sense in solving complex problems, making reliable predictions and formulating good strategy.”

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“A deep and insightful book that is a joy to read. There are new ideas on every page, and none of them is obvious!”

“Every once in a while, a book comes along that forces us to re-examine what we know and how we know it. This is one of those books. And while it is not always pleasurable to realize the many ways in which we are wrong, it is useful to figure out the cases where our intuitions fail us.”

“A truly important work that’s bound to rattle the cages of pseudo- and self-proclaimed experts in every field. If this book doesn’t force you to re-examine what you’re doing, something is wrong with you.”

“Everything is Obvious is indicated for managers, scholars, or anyone else tired of oversimplified, faulty explanations about how business, government, society and even sports work. Temporary side effects of reading Duncan Watts’ tour de force include: light-headedness, a tendency to question one’s colleagues, temporary doubt in one’s own strategies. Long term effects include: Deeper insight into history, current events, corporate politics and any other human activity that involves more than one person at a time. Everything is Obvious is available without a prescription.”

“A brilliant account of why, for every hard question, there’s a common sense answer that’s simple, seductive, and spectacularly wrong. If you are suspicious of pop sociology, rogue economics, and didactic history – or, more importantly, if you aren’t! – Everything is Obvious is necessary reading. It will literally change the way you think.”

“Watts brings science to life. A complicated, global, interconnected world, one which often overwhelms, is tamed by wit, skepticism, and the power to challenge conventional wisdom. The book will help you see patterns, where you might have thought chaos ruled.”

“You have to take notice when common sense, the bedrock thing we’ve always counted on, is challenged brilliantly. Especially when something better than common sense is suggested. As we increasingly experience the world as a maddeningly complex blur, we need a new way of seeing. The fresh ideas in this book, like the invention of spectacles, help bring things into better focus.”

“From the first page to the last, I found myself grabbing ideas, underlining them, writing notes in the margin, and totally, totally enjoying this challenging book…. While obviously, this is a wonderful textbook for Sociologists, Scientists, and Historians, not to mention many other fields of science, I appreciate the practical implications for business, marketing, teaching, and for those studying for the pastorate (or already involved). … I am keeping this book (and all of my notes concerning it) to reread at least once a year…”

“I feel how Socrates’ conversationalists felt, and now better appreciate Socrates’s “I know nothing”. This is the most thought-provoking book I’ve read in five years.”

“This book is fairly easy to read and, once started, hard to put down. The implications are scary.”

“This erudite book is a useful starting point in changing the way we think about politics, the military, government programs, education, and many other crucial areas that affect us all.”

“Accessibly written for general interest readers, Dr. Watts’ enlightening book gives us many good reasons to get excited about sociology.”

“This is one of those books that I kept wanting to read aloud to people…”

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