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Thinking, Fast and Slow Paperback – 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374533555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374533557
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.4 x 20.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #359,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Thinking, Fast and Slow


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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have to admit that I wasn't really aware of Kahneman's work before I bought this book. Back in 2002, I was shocked to hear that there was a Nobel prize in Economics given out for someone showing that humans aren't rational investors. "Duh" I thought. Psychologists have known that for decades. Well, it turns out the guy who won that Nobel prize was a psychologist- Kahneman.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Investors are often criticized for making irrational decisions, as if it were possible through hard work and discipline to reach some kind of idealized rational state. According to psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, it doesn't quite work that way. People can be trained to make more thoughtful decisions but, ultimately, the anatomical structure and evolutionary history of the human brain calls the shots. And that brain tells us to make quick, intuitive judgments with identifiable biases. Our more reflective processes, more often than not, line up to support these judgments.
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like it! I enjoy the long handle and the grip, it doesn't slip. I'd you have never used a safety razor, your will nick your face the first few times until your skin and you adjust to the razor. I have a short razor as well and the long handle and weight provide easier manoeuvrability. Get different razor blades. I bought the Astra razors 100 pack. You end up saving lots of money
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Format: Hardcover
This book is important reading for anyone who considers themselves to be entirely rational. If you think that you make decisions based on careful and reasoned thinking, you need to think again. Kahneman has alerted us to the entirely human sport of jumping to conclusions and then hanging onto them in the face of the evidence. Apart from being a compendium of his extensive research it is well written for the lay reader. Great reading!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Why are people not the perfectly rational decision makers (called “Econs”) that standard economics assumes them to be? This book gives us some insight into how the brain works to help answer this question. Unfortunately the goal seems to be limited to helping us become better Econs rather than a deeper understanding of why we think the way we do.

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
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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.
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