Wild Problems Book Summary - Wild Problems Book explained in key points
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Wild Problems summary

Russ Roberts

A Guide to the Decisions That Define Us

4.5 (303 ratings)
16 mins
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    Wild Problems
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    When it comes to the toughest of decisions, rationality may need to take a back seat to discovery and principles.

    What’s a wild problem?

    Wild problems are the ones that no algorithm, app or clinical pro-vs-con list can solve. And they’re everywhere. When it comes to issues like marriage, children and careers – the things that truly define us – sometimes the best way to make a decision is by jumping in with an open mind and strong sense of self. You can’t simply cost these decisions out. After all, the happiness you might feel from the right choice is not something that can be added up like a transaction. It is usually something more ephemeral.

    Scientists, philosophers and thinkers have parsed through the problem of decision making, but few have an approach that can be universally applied. We are unique individuals who all have our own paths to happiness. While logic and reasoning can help us decide between things as trivial as toothpaste brands or as clinical as types of surgery, old-fashioned soul-searching might be your best bet to solve a truly thorny Wild Problem. In this Blink, we’ll break down Russ Roberts' thoughts on how to tussle with wild problems and not just solve them, but flourish while doing so.

    In these blinks, you’ll learn

    • Why a pro-con list might not be the best tool for decision-making
    • What Charles Darwin worried about, and
    • Lessons from the NFL Draft 
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    What is Wild Problems about?

    Wild Problems (2022) is an exploration of decision-making, particularly when it comes to the thornier issues of life that can have the deepest impact. Although the modern world offers algorithms and practical approaches to doing so, calculations are not always the best way to a life well lived.

    Who should read Wild Problems?

    • Anyone interested in philosophy
    • People at the threshold of making major life decisions like marriage or a geographical move
    • Anyone struggling with becoming more decisive

    About the Author

    Russ Roberts is the host of weekly award-winning podcast EconTalk that he started in 2006. He is also president of Shalem College in Jerusalem and the author of How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life and Gambling with Other People’s Money.

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