Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Book - 2013
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Two systems drive the way we think and make choices, Daniel Kahneman explains: System One is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System Two is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Examining how both systems function within the mind, Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities as well as the biases of fast thinking and the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and our choices. Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, he shows where we can trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking, contrasting the two-system view of the mind with the standard model of the rational economic agent.

Kahneman's singularly influential work has transformed cognitive psychology and launched the new fields of behavioral economics and happiness studies. In this path-breaking book, Kahneman shows how the mind works, and offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and personal lives--and how we can guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble.

Publisher: Toronto : Anchor Canada, 2013, c2011
Edition: Anchor Canada ed
ISBN: 9780385676533
Branch Call Number: 153 .42 KAH

Opinion

From Library Staff

Learn about how we think fast vs. slow, emotion vs. logic


From the critics


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j
johnulee
Apr 01, 2021

This was a tough slog... though the studies used to identify behaviors were very interesting, opened eyes to preconceived notions and kept me going.

r
rnarayana
Dec 14, 2020

Mary Brown

c
candlesticktroughs
Oct 27, 2019

Going through the comments, i noticed that several commenters recommended other works about the subject, which others might find also interesting: Daniel Goleman's EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE; Alan Watt's PSYCHOTHERAPY EAST AND WEST.

s
Shan1944
Aug 30, 2019

Kahneman compiles a broad survey of research & literature addressing the gaps between how we think and how we think we think, instinctive autonomous response vs rationalization. A continous "aha experience" for me. I've recommended it to several people. Those who prefer to confound emotion with rationality weren't eager to read.

c
carolwu96
Aug 10, 2019

The title refers to two “systems” running the mind. The first is the intuitive, auto-pilot mode that would make fast decisions and keep us alive in the wild. The second is the slower/deeper thinking that comes whenever we’re surprised, confused, etc.
This would be a highly functional system except for the fact that we, by our natural inclinations, want to think as little as possible, so we overly rely on System 1 and neglect the details around us that would trigger System 2. This book is a collection of the types of scenarios that would mislead us into autopilot.

Some concepts explained in the book are:
-Framing, the usage of external influences to spin a situation into a positive/negative image (eg. when the mortality rate is 0.01% vs. 1 out of every 100 people die)
-The endowment effect, the human tendency to overvalue something simply because we see it as our possession (why we would only offer $5 for a mug but need much more to sell ours)
-People’s involuntary focus on negativity (which explains the ubiquity of negative news)
-People’s estimation of future is simply an extrapolation of the present, rather than the actual future

This book is interesting in that it provides a lot of theories and then use actual research to either bolster or to undermine them.

However, I only gave it 3.5 stars because it is such a slow read... It has this textbook style that lulls one to sleep. This book also could have been 100 pages shorter, as it is filled with unnecessarily numerous examples.
Another way in which this book underwhelmed me was that too many of its theories are common sense. I’m not an Econ/Psych major and have only ventured into Marketing occasionally but I already know most of the information in here... Given the hype around this book, I expected more.

If you have a lot of time on your hands and don’t mind the textbook format, then it still could be a good read!

For more reviews, visit me on Instagram @ RandomStuffIRead

p
pridi_o
Jul 25, 2019

Absolutely profound and dense with meanings and implications. Which makes the book a slow read, not a bad thing :)

r
Ray_Ho
Jul 24, 2019

Powerful book, describes thinking systems 1, our automatic,least effort, reactionary, and system 2, our effort full non automatic thinking. Extremely insightful book about choices, and a book against the Rational Agent Theory.

g
gaetanlion
Jun 28, 2019

Exhausting. Interesting book, but clocking at 450 page, it is way too long. How many artificial cognitive tests can you bear with? 50, or a 100!

Humans do not walk around with their brain pre-loaded with statistical distributions, Bayesian statistics, knowledge of a priori probabilities of every random event the author can think off. Does that make them truly irrational? The author certainly makes an exhaustive effort over 450 pages that it does [make them irrational].

There is an easy way to overcome our in-born irrationality. Ask yourself two easy questions before answering a question. Does the answer actually matter? Is the answer to the question less than obvious? If your answer is yes in both cases, it is time to take your time to investigate the question. Otherwise, don’t spend much time on this question, even if you get it wrong, it really does not matter. The majority of questions in the book fell in the latter category.

Although Tversky and Kahneman did interesting work, it pales compared to Phillip Tetlock’s. Tversky and Kahneman asked artificial questions with often no consequence to our everyday lives. They are questions that we could answer by using the strategy described above. Tetlock, instead, used real live experts and followed their track records for decades. These people had taken the time to develop expertise in their respective field. Tetlock’s work has huge implications in our failure to manage the World economy, as demonstrated by the Financial Crisis a decade ago. In every field he looked at, he uncovered the same inability to make projections hardly better than chances. Next, he learned from the few who seemed to do a bit better than just random. And, he developed best forecasting principles that he turned into a community of “Superforecasters.” If Kahneman did deserve his Nobel prize, Tetlock deserves at least three.

Back to Kahneman’s book, while the author is on solid ground most of the time he makes numerous questionable statements throughout the book. He relies on the concept of “regression to the mean” to explain just about everyone’s performance in every field. And, he way exaggerates the usefulness of this concept. In most fields, most of us do not regress to the mean for a simple reason; we keep on learning, we keep on getting better. If we all kept reverting to the mean, we literally could never graduate out of first grade. On page 231-232, he makes a very perplexing statement regarding intuition that indicates that it is surprisingly effective some of the time. This short passage contradicts the other 450 pages in the book. The entire chapter 18 titled “Taming Intuitive Predictions” that relies on adjusting any intuitive prediction by the correlation between the observations you are attempting to predict seems mathematically questionable. On page 424, he indicates that when input variables are uncorrelated it makes for more accurate prediction. But, within the related example (predicting GPA) he talks about a dependent variable, which is a different situation. The lower volatility of such a variable, the narrower its related confidence interval and the more precise will be its related predictions. Again, by comparison I feel like Phillip Tetlock is a superior mathematician. While reading his work, I never came across any questionable math application. With Kahneman, it is often the case.

If you are interested in this subject, I also recommend the books by Dan Ariely. His books are far less redundant, more entertaining, much easier and faster to read, and in the end just as informative.

j
jkl8989
May 02, 2019

Thinking, Fast, and Slow is pact with knowledge of how people react in situations regarding statistics and probabilities. There is definitely a gap between what we know and how we act based on what we know. Our reactions can be quantified and there is a general pattern that most of us conclude but aren't always so correct. This is a challenging book that will require multiple reads, but at the end will get you thinking more like an expert.

h
hooppii
Jan 27, 2019

Title sounded great, but the book was a very wordy. It'd have been more interesting if the author was about to shorten and get to the points a little more efficiently. Good content but it takes just about forever to get to each point and each point is way over-explained. I didn't finish the whole book; I'll look for a summary somewhere.

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SFPL202
Nov 21, 2017

SFPL202 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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