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Thinking, fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, fast and slow (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Daniel Kahneman

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Title:Thinking, fast and slow
Authors:Daniel Kahneman
Info:New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:work, psychology, decision making, economics

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Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (2011)


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Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
I liked most of this book. The author's style of presentation, where he let's readers test their intuitive responses before discussing the matter in more detail, is very enlightening. I learned a lot especially from part II: Heuristics and biases. However, I think the final parts IV and V of this book were superfluous. By cutting them out the book could have been trimmed from 400 to 250 pages without any significant losses. The author takes great pleasure in recounting how "Amos and I once conducted an experiment where we did this and that...", but he keeps going far too long. In parts IV and V the experiments become decreasingly meaningful and the main argument becomes diluted as the author fails to connect them to the earlier parts of the book. The end was exasperating, but the early parts of the book still constitute the most interesting psychological analysis that I've read to date.
  thcson | Mar 26, 2014 |
If you walk in the woods at night and see a line across the path, might it be a snake? Luckily your System 1 thought process warns you of danger and you stop. Then System 2 takes over, analyses the situation and realizes the line is just a stick. System 1 is fast, and system 2 is slow. And the problem arises when we imagine our system 1 cnoclusion doesn’t need any further thought.

Optical illusions are familiar illustrations of fast and slow thinking. When we’ve been fooled before, we recognize the illusion and immediately jump to looking with system 2. But logical illusions, emotional illusions and cultural illusions can leave us existing in a world that’s not quite as solid and real as we imagine.

Are law courts fair? Are inoculations safe? Is the stock market as risky as the gambling table? And what do advertising and politics have in common? The examples of Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking Fast and Slow, are simple and easy to understand but pack an intriguing punch. Each could be “framed” with a list of excuses, explaining away the proof. But together they form a convincing argument for conscious thought, for “reframing” the data on which we make decisions, and for practicing logical thinking.

We’d be embarrassed to be fooled by a five-year-old’s optical illusion. We should probably be equally embarrassed to be fooled by our lazy thought processes, but this book offers a chance to catch our errors before they grow. I enjoyed the read—it’s long and fairly dense, but it tells the human story of an investigator, the scientific story of hypothesis and experiment, and the economical story of illogic’s consequences.

Disclosure: We read it for our book group. Some of us were impressed, others less so. But we didn’t divide along subject lines. There were artists and scientists in both camps. I’d recommend you try it for yourself. ( )
  SheilaDeeth | Mar 5, 2014 |
So Thinking Fast and Slow is not my typical sort of popular science. In fact if it weren't for the great reviews it got on CR and all the hype after its publication, I'd probably would've passed on this one. I'm glad I didn't, but I still found this book to be outside of my wheelhouse. There is a lot of tremendous insights into decision making and real world economic theory to be gleaned from these pages. (I have more highlights from this book than any other on my Kindle) The first two parts of the book a fascinating psychology. There is just so much to think about from these chapters alone to make a very good book. However, the latter half of part 3 when Kahneman begins to delve more into our decision making on a more economical level is where I began to think his conclusions were a bit too simple. While luck is an important factor in outcomes Kahneman's examples and evidence when put under the microscope don't really support his conclusions that blind luck is just as good or superior to experts. It was just to neat to be believed and from what I've found the relationship of randomness in our lives is profoundly more complicated. And part 4 while initially very interesting became very repetitive. I guess there is only so much you can do with abstract economic theory before it runs out of steam.

What I really respect about Thinking Fast and Slow is that Kahneman doesn't shy away from the science. The science is upfront and the story is secondary. This is something Gladwell and the like should take note of. There are no easy conclusions here, no big take away you can sell to others. Instead it is series of logical conclusions that build upon the whole to form a theory. This isn't a self improvement book disguised as science. ( )
1 vote stretch | Feb 2, 2014 |
Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman describes in this book his many years of research into decision-making and behavioral economics. He draws a distinction between System 1 and System 2 thinking. There are many interesting insights to guide our own decision-making in this book. ( )
  proflinton | Jan 30, 2014 |
Thought-provoking, and makes me look at my own habits of thought more carefully -- did I make that decision with System 1 or System 2, and was that appropriate? ( )
  castiron | Jan 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
"It is an astonishingly rich book: lucid, profound, full of intellectual surprises and self-help value. It is consistently entertaining and frequently touching..."
added by melmore | editNew York Times, Jim Holt (Nov 25, 2011)
Thinking, Fast and Slow is nonetheless rife with lessons on how to overcome bias in daily life.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Daniel Kahnemanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eivind LilleskjæretTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gunnar NyquistTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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extreme outcomes (both high and low) are more likely to be found in small than in large samples. This explanation is not causal. The small population of a county neither causes nor prevents cancer; it merely allows the incidence of cancer to be much higher (or much lower) than it is in the larger population. The deeper truth is that there is nothing to explain. The incidence of cancer is not truly lower or higher than normal in a county with a small population, it just appears to be so in a particular year because of an accident of sampling. If we repeat the analysis next year, we will observe the same general pattern of extreme results in the small samples, but the counties where cancer was common last year will not necessarily have a high incidence this year. If this is the case, the differences between dense and rural counties do not really count as facts: they are what scientists call artifacts, observations that are produced entirely by some aspect of the method of research - in this case, by differences in sample size. p 111
Even now, you must exert some mental effort to see that the following two statements mean exactly the same thing: Large samples are more precise than small samples. Small samples yield extreme results more often than large samples do. p 111
When experts and the public disagree on their priorities, [Paul Slovic] says, 'Each side must respect the insights and intelligence of the other.' p 140
You can also take precautions that will inoculate you against regret. Perhaps the most useful is to b explicit about the anticipation of regret. If you can remember when things go badly that you considered the possibility of regret carefully before deciding, you are likely to experience less of it. You should also know that regret and hindsight bias will come together, so anything you can do to preclude hindsight is likely to be helpful. My personal hindsight-avoiding policy is to be either very thorough or completely casual when making a decision with long-term consequences. Hindsight is worse when you think a little, just enough to tell yourself later, 'I almost made a better choice.'     Daniel Gilbert and his colleagues provocatively claim that people generally anticipate more regret than they will actually experience, because they underestimate the efficacy of the psychological defenses they will deploy - which they label the 'psychological immune system.' Their recommendation is that you should not put too much weight on regret; even if you have some, it will hurt less than you now think.p 352
Unless there is an obvious reason to do otherwise, most of us passively accept decision problems as they are framed and therefore rarely have an opportunity to discover the extent to which our preferences are frame-bound rather than reality-bound. p 367
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374275637, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2011: Drawing on decades of research in psychology that resulted in a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, Daniel Kahneman takes readers on an exploration of what influences thought example by example, sometimes with unlikely word pairs like "vomit and banana." System 1 and System 2, the fast and slow types of thinking, become characters that illustrate the psychology behind things we think we understand but really don't, such as intuition. Kahneman's transparent and careful treatment of his subject has the potential to change how we think, not just about thinking, but about how we live our lives. Thinking, Fast and Slow gives deep--and sometimes frightening--insight about what goes on inside our heads: the psychological basis for reactions, judgments, recognition, choices, conclusions, and much more.  --JoVon Sotak

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:19:37 -0400)

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A Nobel Prize-winning psychologist draws on years of research to introduce his "machinery of the mind" model on human decision making to reveal the faults and capabilities of intuitive versus logical thinking, providing insights into such topics as optimism, the unpredictability of happiness and the psychological pitfalls of risk-taking.… (more)

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