Book Week: What is Lecturer of the Year Marc Kramer reading?

It’s national Book Week in the Netherlands! A great opportunity to buy yourself a new book. Need a tip? Five prominent RUG employees tell us about their favourite books. Today: Lecturer of the Year Marc Kramer.
By Mella Fuchs / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

Marc Kramer admits that his holiday book picks tend toward Dan Brown. But like any good lecturer, he knows all the literature in his field, and has a favourite – which he recommends no matter what you study.

‘THINKING, FAST AND SLOW’: DANIEL KAHNEMAN

Nobel Prize winner Kahnemann studied human behaviour for forty years, which inspired this popular book. ‘The book has given me great insight into myself and people in general’, says Kramer.

At its core, the book is about two ‘characters’: the Econ (homo economicus) and the Human (homo sapiens).

Econ is the strictly rational character: always reasoning, always trying to improve itself. But Human is the character we truly are: irrational, focused on survival. ‘We are taught this particular ideal of rationality that doesn’t really work; we’ve got no tools to turn those notions into anything substantial. The book gives us those tools.’

Discrepancy

‘Kahnemann writes about the discrepancy between experience and memory. When we make a choice – like going on holiday to Thailand – we experience the result of that choice. But then we look back on experience through the filter of memory. Our experience – waiting at the airport, the heat, all the people – wasn’t all that great. And yet we’ll say it was the best vacation of our life.’

‘The book shows that people make suboptimal choices because they base their next choice on their memories. So now whenever I plan a vacation, I’ll ask myself if I’m sure I want to go to South Africa again.’

Nederlands

26 March 2019 | 26-3-2019, 11:57