How To Do Precisely the Right Thing at All Possible Times
September 20, 2007 – 8:00 p.m. Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture
Floss daily, save for retirement, and don’t wear plaid pants before or after Labor Day. Most experts tell us what to decide but they don’t tell us how, and so the moment we face a novel decision “Should I move to Cleveland or Kalamzoo? Marry Jennifer or Joanne? Become an architect or a pastry chef” we’re lost. And yet, in the 17th century, two experts named Fermat and Pascal invented a method by which any person could make precisely the right decision in any situation. Most people find their method easy to understand and impossible to follow. Research in psychology and behavioral economics explains why.