Thinking Fast And Slow
- Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date:
- 03 November 2011
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I must make clear, however, before getting into the meat of a review, that this is not my area of expertise (if such exists!).Daniel Kahneman examines the human thought process and splits it into an imaginary, but useful for understanding, two function system. He suggests that System 1 comes up with an instant answer to questions where ever possible: is this person whom I am seeing for the first time a 'nice' person? Am I going to enjoy eating this plate of food of a type I have never previously tried? and that System 2 is largely called in when System 1 cannot provide an instant response, i.e. 17 x 24, or to provide back up for the views expressed by System 1.Kahneman does not simply state his beliefs, all the way through the book their are statements to assess and I found that I was lead into illogical thinking on every predicted occasion. He shows that our rational thought is not always rational and that remembered experience can differ from the perception at the time. He also shows that, fear of loss is a greater driver than anticipation of gain, to an extent whereby it can have a negative effect upon our life.This book is one of those rare tomes, written by an expert but not clouded with phrases designed to be understood by another expert but guaranteed to defeat the interested amateur. As stated earlier, this is not my field and, whilst there is undoubtedly more in this book than I was able to extract, none the less, I am a wiser person for the reading.In his conclusion, Khaneman pushes this on from interesting facts about how we think to the effect that this information should have upon the way we are governed. Should our rulers react to what we say is influencing our views, or through the expertise of those able to tease out the route dissatisfaction, take a superior, 'We know what you really want' attitude? This, of course leads to the danger of superior rulers ignoring our views because they know what we require better than we do.Do I know myself better for reading this book? That is a difficult question to answer. Perhaps the best way so to do is to say that I am more aware of the weakness of some of my views: whether that will make it possible to engage System 2 more often and reduce the number of ill considered opinions which I hold, is another matter.
A Nobel prize book for Economics this book was a "not to put down" book for me. The consistent logical thought process of the book was particularly appealing, as was the basic premiss of the book - humans think at two speeds, fast and slow. Well worth reading again.
Two systems drive how we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional (which suffers faults and biases, subject to intuitive impressions); System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Corporate strategies are impacted by loss aversion and overconfidence, difficulties predicting what makes future happiness, difficulties framing home and workplace risks, and cognitive biases.Slower, more deliberative thinking can help us choose in business and personal living.
I cannot recommend is book strongly enough. It serially debunks any number of myths about the way we think.
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