John Kay is one of Britain’s leading economists, and has been a Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford since 1970. His work is centered on the relationships between economics, finance, and business. Today his main focus is on writing and he is renowned for his ability to express complex ideas clearly and succinctly. He is the author of many books, including The Truth about Markets (2003) and Obliquity (2010).
In his new book, Radical Uncertainty: Decision-Making Beyond the Numbers, co-authored with Mervyn King, he argues that models have only limited value in guiding business decision making. In a numerical world, decision making should be guided by developing and critically challenging reference narratives, to figure out “what’s going on here?”.
In a conversation with Martin Reeves, Chairman of the BCG Henderson Institute, Kay discusses insights from his new book, epidemiology, the accuracy and applicability of models, and what leaders can do to break with prediction addiction.