Gut Feelings (2007)

How does intuition work? What lies behind our moral behavior if not reflection and reasoning? How can simple "rules of thumb" help amateurs beat the stock market, outfielders catch a fly ball, parents choose a school, or lovers a mate?

Gerd Gigerenzer, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development whose break through research was a major source for Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, takes us step-by-step through the science of good decision making. The trick is not to amass information, but to discard it: to know intuitively what one doesn't need to know. Gigerenzer frees us from the jargon of experts and the drudgery of pros-and-cons lists. Instead, he suggests that we hone the cognitive, emotional, and social repertoire we've ecolved over the millenia.

This repertoire consists of rules of thumb that, unlike the rules of theoretical logic, have evolved expressly to cope with the human experience. Social intelligence, for example, relies on powerful intuitive tools including trust, deception, identification, rumor, wishful thinking, and cooperation. Social and political change, good or bad, often originates from these factors rather than from lucid reasoning. In fact, what looks like a reasoning error from a purely logical perspective can be a highly intelligent social judgement in our fiendishly complex lives.

Nobel laureate Herbert Simon called Gigerenzer's research a "revolution in cognitive science, striking a great blow for sanity in the approach to human rationality." In wry, accessible prose, Gut Feelings provides us with a brilliant exploration of what makes us tick.

Other Editions


UK edition: Penguin/Allen Lane, 2007
Dutch translation: De kracht van je intuitie. Kosmos, 2007
Spanish translation: Decisiones instintivas: La inteligencia del inconsciente. Barcelona: Ariel, 2008
Croatian translation: Snaga intuicije: Inteligencija nesvjesnog. Algoritam, 2008.
Italian translation: Decisioni intuitive. Raffaelo Cortina, 2009
Polish translation: Intuicja: Intelligencja nieswiadomosci. Prószinsky i S-ka, 2009
French translation: La genie de l´intuition. Editions Belfond, 2009
Korean translation: Chungrim
Brazilian edition: Distribuidora Record, Brazil
Turkish translation: BZD Publishers
Chinese translation: China Renmin University Press
Taiwanese translation [complex Chinese]: Locus, Taiwan
Bulgarian translation: Iztok-Zapad
Romanian translation: Cuertea Veche
Portuguese translation: Gradiva
Japanese translation: Intershift

Excerpts reprinted in R. Oehler, V. Bernius, & K.-H. Wellmann (Eds.). (2008), Wer wir sind und wie wir sein könnten (pp. 153-166). Freiburg: Herder.

Audio book: Tantor Media, 2007

E-book: Kindle edition, 2008


Gigerenzer, G. (2007). Gut Feelings. The intelligence of the unconscious. New York: Viking.

ISBN-10 0-67003-863-6
ISBN 13 978-0-67003-863-3

Gut Feelings Cover

In the media

Interview in the New York Times with Gerd Gigerenzer:

"Through Analysis, Gut Reaction Gains Credibility"