Thinking, Fast and Slow Paperback – 2010
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Thinking, Fast and Slow
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Top Customer Reviews
This book, written at the end (or just about) of his career, is a reflection back on a life's worth of research. Part biography (including his research partner Amos Tversky), part lecture, part research book, it makes for a good read. The chapters are all short, focused, and aimed at a broad audience yet contain some data for researchers. They also end with two or three quotes that illustrate the point of the chapter. Time and again, we're hit over the head with the difference between System 1 of the mind (unconscious, intuitive, biased, fast) versus System 2 (conscious, logical, lazy, slow). In a nutshell, most people believe that System 2 dominates our thoughts and behaviors. Kahneman goes to great lengths to show that this is often not the case.
Taking a broadly evolutionary perspective, he views System 1 as a background integrator of data that's concerned with survival-level issues. It often steers the thinking of System 2, which is costly and thus lazy. System 1 works well enough often enough for System 2 to only really kick in under consciously important circumstances. Certainly, psychology has revealed dozens of ways in which our unconscious mind can exert shockingly large influences on our behavior in contrast to our conscious perceptions and ideas. That's hardly surprising, and in that regard, I found the book a little stale and repetitive.Read more ›
If this sounds familiar, it should. In 2005, Malcolm Gladwell published the bestseller Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. Gladwell wrote detailed case studies about intuitive judgments. On rare occasions, such as the case of a chess master with several thousand hours of training, intuitions can be remarkably accurate. At other times, when we use physical traits like a square jaw to judge a politician's leadership capabilities, they are just plain dumb.
But, Thinking, Fast and Slow is a much richer book than Blink. Kahneman has written the organized, referenced big brother of Blink and other books like Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner and Moneyball by Michael Lewis. All of these titles owe their existence to the intellectual framework developed by Kahneman and others.
The author, who has spent five decades studying the way we make decisions, is seen as a pioneer in the field of behavioural finance. He was the first psychologist to be awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his co-authorship, with Amos Tversky, of Prospect Theory.Read more ›
His world seems rather insular, as he interacts mainly with academics like himself, his students, or stockbrokers. He loves to show how trained professionals make irrational choices in their field of expertise. It would be nice to get more insight about the irrational choices the rest of us make. Although he is careful to use gender inclusive language, one gets the impression he has never met an actual woman. For whatever reason, women seem to use their intuitive faculties differently, and one might think that difference would be worth exploring.
Lets Answer an Easier Question Instead
One interesting fallacy he identifies is the tendency to answer a question by substituting an easier question. While we think of politicians doing this deliberately, we do it all the time unconsciously. A typical question (in this book) would be “Should I buy stock in Mercedes Benz?” which gets replaced with “Do I like their cars?” Of course, the quality of the cars is already taken into account in the stock price, which may be overvalued because too many people like the name.
Substituting an easier question seems to be the theme of the psychological experiments the book is largely based on. It is so much easier to ask questions about money than investigate how beliefs form and how they affect the thinking process.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Very usefull to understand the mind and to be aware of our innate human flaws and how to compensate!Published 6 days ago by Sean Parsons
Very insightful and thought provoking read. Highly recommend for anyone.Published 4 months ago by Scott M
An excellent book! A book full of interesting psychological experiments. Most of them have surprised results. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Another Customer
Kind of hard to read. You really need a quiet place and lots of concentration to understand what the author is explaining. But overall it is a good read.Published 4 months ago by Lutherson Mendes
Best book on thinking. Period. I have read this book 3 or 4 times and now having it as a ebook gives me more opportunity to read a bit here and there when I have time.Published 4 months ago by EsseQuamVideri7