This book is basically a collection of 13 revised articles written by Gigerenzer alone or in cooperation with others for a number of publications between 2002 and 2006. People who have read some other books by Gigerenzer, notably “Gut Feelings” and “Reckoning With Risk”, will recognize a lot of the material since much of it is also presented in those books in a more accessible way. The 13 chapters of “Rationality For Mortals” are clearly more academic written.
In addition to the (for some) known material about risk (and the presentation of risk/statistical information), uncertainty and heuristics we get chapters about sampling (chapter 7, “What’s in a sample”) with a very relevant discussion for people doing research, two chapters on the use of statistics (chapters 10 and 11: “The evolution of statistical thinking” and “Mindless statistics”) of which especially the latter is very critical about statistical procedures practiced by many a researcher/academic and not in the least the influence of editors of scientific magazines on this. The final chapter of the book is an amusing fictional discussion by fictional people in the year 2054 on the subject of “Innumeracy defeated”.
No essential read (unless you are going to do some research - then you should at least check chapters 7 and 11, or the original articles they’re based upon). Casual readers are advised to stick to Gigerenzer’s ‘popular’ books like his latest, "Risk Savvy".
This 256 page paperback was published by Oxford University Press in 2010 (ISBN 9780199747092).