HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Loading...

Thinking, Fast and Slow (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Daniel Kahneman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,519911,505 (4.16)114
I'm not going to give this 5 stars, though the subject matter probably deserves them. The problem causing the missing star is the style of the book; is this a hard-core scientific work, or a popular science book? It's not clear to me whether Kahneman (or his editor) had made up his mind on this.

Having said which – the book is extremely well organized, and the chapters build on each other in a coherent logical fashion (what else would you expect from a book about the power of rationality in decision-making?). Many of the conclusions are new to me, but even some of the new ones made me go "Of course! That's the way it is!", which doesn't make it true, of course, but does mean that the explanation has been convincing.

A book to re-read, probably taking notes next time, and to learn from. Interestingly enough, I found a lot of cross-references to another book I am reading alongside this (The Myth of the Rational Market). There is much here about decision-making in investment strategies that has relevance. ( )
  hugh_ashton | Dec 17, 2011 |
English (88)  Dutch (3)  All languages (91)
Showing 1-25 of 88 (next | show all)
Fascinating and frustrating, throws the baby out with the bath water

Kahneman begins with a distinction between System 1, the automatic and seemingly effortless functions of the mind (which basically conflates perception, emotion, and the subconscious), and System 2, the effortful, volitionally controlled "executive" functions of conscious awareness. He then discusses how the ways in which they typically operate and interact can lead to a variety of predictable effects and systematic biases, such as priming, confirmation bias, the halo effect, etc. In much of this discussion he takes the contents of System 1 as the given, neglecting the fact that what gets automatized is what's done repeatedly by System 2 (though he does pay some attention to this fact later in the book in his discussion of "intuition", which is reliable precisely when based on lots of practice with good feedback in predictable, e.g. high validity, situations).

Next he follows Cass Sunstein's distinction between "econs" (basically theoretically rational agents) and "humans" (basically a descriptive rather than prescriptive account of how people actually make economic decisions), arguing that a rational agent model of economic theory is hopelessly flawed and his brand of behavioral economics is more accurate and useful. While it's true that a model of human action as inherently rational is inadequate, Kahneman swings to the other extreme and seems to delight in trying to show that it is inherently IRrational (even though he half-heartedly denies this toward the end of the book, it's pretty clear where he stands).

Finally he draws a third distinction between the "experiencing self" and the "remembering self", trying to show that people's later evaluations by their remembering self aren't consistent with their actual experience. Again, there's some very interesting material here, such as how the remembering self's tendency to focus not on the sum total of an experience but on particular moments, especially the peak and the ending, explains the narrative structure of our art forms. But Kahneman neglects that people can legitimately focus on certain aspects of their experience to the detriment or exclusion of others, and this is not at all necessarily irrational or inconsistent.

He also notes that even in measures of the well-being of the experiencing self, there is an unequal distribution with some people experiencing life as almost entirely positive while for others it's largely negative, but doesn't know what to make of this and tentatively attributes it to the effects of poverty, disease, etc. But the real explanation is implicit in (at least a charitable interpretation of) his theory: it's largely a matter of what you choose to focus on, or to put it in his terminology how you use your System 2 (which will in turn improve your System 1 over time, which Kahneman sometimes seems to recognize but at others to deny). He even goes on to discuss a bit later how victims of debilitating accidents or disease are only made unhappy by it as long as their "remembering self" dwells on it (and as someone who's been dealing with a chronic illness for a decade and had to learn to appreciate all the good in life, I should know!).

The main theme I took away from the book is that most of the errors to which people are prone are caused by failing to take the full context into account, or as Kahneman puts it, What You See Is All There Is. This comes up again and again in his discussions of overconfidence, framing effects, base rate effects, substitution (which is basically being asked for signal and answering with noise), etc. Whether you want to think of this as differentiating and integrating, zooming in and out, or in Kahneman's terms of narrow vs. broad framing or taking an "inside" vs. (a more statistical) "outside" view of a situation, it all comes down to the same thing, though again he moves from rightfully pointing out the problems of focusing too narrowly on a particular case to the opposite extreme of only considering the broader context and ignoring the particular details of a given case. This leads him to some disastrous policy recommendations such as relying exclusively on algorithms to make vital decisions in, e.g., healthcare, which could improve outcomes for many people with fairly common or straightforward problems but would result in "cookie cutter" medicine that would pretty much screw patients like me. I appreciated his discussion of those who reject the use of such algorithms as "artificial", but again he's rejected one side of a false dichotomy and swung to the other.

But the book is full of lots of practical tips as well, such as the use of such formulas to maximize predictive validity (e.g. the Apgar score, for more on which read Atul Gawande's Better), how to conduct interviews so as to make better hiring decisions, use reference class forecasting to avoid (or at least mitigate) the planning fallacy, use a pre-mortem to overcome the suppression of doubts and overconfidence, see through the endowment effect and avoid committing the sunk cost fallacy, and much, much more, which alone makes it worth reading.

This is a fascinating, and frustrating, book. Kahneman provides a wealth of information, but his explanatory framework is problematic and leads him to draw many blatantly wrong conclusions, even falling into some of the specific wrong thinking methods he discusses throughout the book (notably theory-induced blindness)! That said, the careful reader can glean substantial value from it.

http://www.amazon.com/review/R24COWZBPFJV1F ( )
  AshRyan | Aug 31, 2015 |
There are many thoughtful and informative reviews already so just a few comments. This took a long time to read due to various interruptions. The first was my husband noticing the title of my public library copy and starting it. A few days later he ordered his own copy but continued reading mine until the new one arrived. Then I did no serious reading for a while because of Real Life stuff. However, I recently picked it up again and just finished reading it. Kahneman is very readable and gives plenty of examples of his topics, including biases in our thinking, how we actually make decisions, our experiencing shelves, and our remembering shelves. To get the most from this book would, I believe, require more than one reading, but it does give the reader a lot to consider even on the first reading.
  hailelib | Aug 8, 2015 |
Very good. Surely provides some nice background to Shakespeare's "What a piece of work is a man". ( )
  StanleyPhang | Jul 26, 2015 |
So much to think about after reading this. WYSIATI (what you see is all there is) one of many explanations for how our minds may be biased and make bad judgements. Easily read descriptions of psychological research by the nobel prize winner told in a style to appeal to our story loving minds. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
A horrible book! The author has overanalyzed the subject. There is nothing to gain through reading this book. The author mentions in the introduction that he intends this piece of work for Waterville
water cooler discussions. I felt it's an overkill for anyone wanting to have some intellectual discussions.

I skipped to a chapter that I was interested in and found out on skimming through that his over analysis has killed the interest for me.

dropped. Sorry. ( )
  MugenHere | Jul 12, 2015 |
My wife frequently ribs me about all the monotonous non-fiction I prefer to read, but even I couldn't make it through this one. I don't see how Thinking, Fast and Slow became a thing. It's an interesting concept, unnaturally stretched to over 500 pages, and set in some of the driest writing I've ever read for a bestseller. ( )
1 vote Daniel.Estes | Jun 24, 2015 |
35% done ( )
  ecoprob | Apr 25, 2015 |
eBook version also available from Christchurch City Libraries
http://goo.gl/h8MiV2
CORE Library Card
H228848301
PIN 1234

Review on Google books http://goo.gl/ph4l1d
Daniel Kahneman, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work in psychology challenging the rational model of judgment and decision making, is one of the world's most important thinkers. His ideas have had a profound impact on many fields-including business, medicine, and politics-but until now, he has never brought together his many years of research in one book.

In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think and make choices. One system is fast, intuitive, and emotional; the other is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities-and also the faults and biases-of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behaviour. The importance of properly framing risks, the effects of cognitive biases on how we view others, the dangers of prediction, the right ways to develop skills, the pros and cons of fear and optimism, the difference between our experience and memory of events, the real components of happiness-each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.

Drawing on a lifetime's experimental experience, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our professional and our personal lives-and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Thinking, Fast and Slow will transform the way you take decisions and experience the world.
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  COREEducation | Apr 1, 2015 |
An amazing book for a few different reasons. First, his whole point of it, the two ways of thinking... but he broadens his scope and includes very practical implications. This is a very important read.

The reason I read it was because I saw it on a syllabus of a famous NYTimes columnist in his Yale class on "Humility." I thought, a book on psychology of the mind, relating to social economics, as it pertains to human decisions and life decisions- being a text in a course on humility. Fascinating! Do I envy those students. ( )
  aegossman | Feb 25, 2015 |
Kahneman writes about the mind and its operating in what he calls System 1, the experiencing self, immediate, surface, quick, and shallow. And System 2, the remembering self, rational, statistical, precise. When I was finished reading the book I was reminded of the 16th century novel - Don Quixote. In a way Don Quixote was a System 2 thinker, not that he used statistical reasoning but he pushed everything he saw through the grid of his own particular reasoning - chivalry. His counterpart was a System 1 thinker Sancho Panza. Both writers have similar insights. They created imaginary people and ask the questions what would they do in given situations. Kahneman gives us two choices, those being the more immediate impulsive, gut actor or the one who forces thoughts through the grid of statistical reasoning. The truth of the matter is there are more than two different types of reasoning, statistical reasoning being just one option. Cervantes gives us another option, basically the person who pushes every thought and action through his tightly embraced philosophical construct of chivalry. And of course he went crazy. This book was a bit of work for me because the author is often drawing you to System 2 thinking which makes you work. The book for me was well worth the read. ( )
  SamTekoa | Feb 7, 2015 |
This isn’t a standard pop science book. From the cover and title you could be fooled into thinking it is, but ultimately it’s far deeper reaching and better evidenced than anything from Malcolm Gladwell or the Freakonomics team. Deeper but equally as accessible, assuming depth doesn’t put you off.

The title’s a tad deceptive as Kahnemann admits up front – the fast and slow systems of our mind he posits are a simply a metaphor to aid understanding. It’s also actually a far wider examination than simply ‘how we think’. What it does do is look at ‘fast’ thinking (what we might term intuition) and how it can lead us into tricking ourselves thanks to conscious or unconscious biases, and also how our deeper thinking mind interacts with that. By the end you’ll be wondering exactly how rational any of us are (answer: none of us are very rational, even at the best of times). And it’s always amusing to see the economic mantra of people always being rational undermined, even before ‘information asymmetry’ is taken into account.

Eye-opening, but be prepared for this one to take plenty of time to read and absorb. ( )
2 vote JonArnold | Jan 20, 2015 |
What an insufferable book. Glad that's finished. ( )
  Lucifey | Jan 10, 2015 |
This book is a good example of why you should not read too much about a book before reading it. The hype around this book was enormous. Everybody loved it. It was revolutionary. In the end, it's not a bad book, but I didn't think it was all that great, either. It is an interesting introduction to how we think, peppered with lots of examples, but it falls prey to what appears to be a lot of determinism, while acknowledging a smattering of environmental impact. In reality, I suspect much of what the author says is correct, but I did catch some things where he was incorrect or simplistic about something I do know something about, which always makes me suspicious of the things that are outside my usual field. Overall, I'm glad I read it, but I don't think I'd recommend it for others to read because I just wasn't that enthusiastic about his writing style (repetitive and somewhat dry) or the overall dynamic of the book. ( )
  quantum_flapdoodle | Dec 17, 2014 |
Good info but really boring and dull. Tough read ( )
  dlott | Nov 5, 2014 |
Not the most accessible read on the subject, but definitely the most credible and well researched. It has me thinking about thinking differently, and will likely cause me to pause longer when making future decisions. ( )
1 vote lcalvin83 | Oct 25, 2014 |
Although this book is very long winded, there are some really interesting things to learn about how we think. ( )
  timleggett | Sep 21, 2014 |
After not learning much from Stumbling on Happiness, I expected this to be the same, but it actually had some very good points I hadn't seen before. The example that comes to mind is this: if you ask some people to evaluate a single lecture, and ask others to guess how well that lecturer will be doing in five years, the answers they give are identical. This illustrates matching of levels across different scales and ignorance of regression to the mean. There are several other important heuristics and biases explained, with good examples that actually make it believable that people think this way. (Of course, this assumes that you're "in on the joke" -- if you find yourself tempted to defend these patently incorrect reasoning methods, as apparently many of the participants in the studies mentioned in this book did, beware!)

I do not agree with the author's political conclusions, and do not agree that they are required by the evidence provided earlier in the book. But this doesn't even come up until the last few chapters. ( )
  Kenoubi | Sep 6, 2014 |
Brimming with fantastic information and fascinating ideas that are applicable to everyday life! This book made me reconsider information I take for granted and reevaluate perspective in general. ( )
1 vote LaPhenix | Jul 17, 2014 |
Although I already knew a reasonable fraction of the research underlying this book, Daniel Kahneman synthesizes it in a magisterial work that should be read by all economists and many others besides. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Difficult reading, but well worth the insights ( )
  RBarfuss | Jun 21, 2014 |
Revealing insight into different ways our mind works. I have already had fun observing others and myself making decisions similar to the ones in the research, and could immediately use newly gained knowledge to reconsider the logic of my thinking. Excellent stuff, and probably something kids should be given the opportunity to observe at an early age, to have better chances to make the right decisions. ( )
1 vote flydodofly | Jun 20, 2014 |
A must read for anyone who thinks thry think. ( )
  davevanl | Jun 19, 2014 |
Riddle me this:

"If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets"—100 minutes or 5 minutes (65)?

If you answered "100 minutes," you're not alone ... and you're dead wrong. Think about it. In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman explains why.

We have two types of thinking systems (thus, the title of the book). System one is intuitive and answers quickly. System two requires more thought and answers slowly. Both systems are valuable and necessary. Kahneman's spent his lifetime studying these systems and has developed and published many experiments over the years (including the one above) which exploit the flaws in our systems.

In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman helps us to recognize when our minds let us down (i.e. narrative fallacies, planning fallacies, WYSIATI, etc.) and gives us the tools to recognize our own errors.

This book is detailed, thorough, and absolutely fascinating. Kahneman walks the reader through many of the test scenarios he developed over the years. Even if you prepare yourself for the "trick" and try to answer correctly, human nature wins out. It's certainly a good dose of humility!

Many of these experiments were carried out with his friend and colleague, Amos Tversky, to whom the book is dedicated. The friendship between them and their mutual fascination with how the mind works makes this book on sociology border on memoir at times.

Read and be fascinated at your incredibly powerful and deeply flawed mind! ( )
1 vote StephenBarkley | Jun 1, 2014 |
I'm not sure if I got anything out of this book. The book was well written with lots of interesting examples but all too often the author would present a thought experiment and say "Everybody knows Option B is better" when its not clearly better at all. There were frequent references to "Amos and I did this experiment" but none could top the sentence "We were amused to realize that we were unable to assess our current wealth within tens of thousands of dollars". I found that quite incendiary and insulting as if to simply show off how much money the authors had in a book that was frequently about gaining money through a set of two risky options. It is a well-written book but hard to say what I really got out of it - certainly not a better insight into System 1 and System 2 thinking. ( )
  pbirch01 | May 6, 2014 |
I liked most of this book. The author's presentation is enlightening when he lets readers test their intuitive response before discussing the matter in more detail. 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 repeating it 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. So even though the early parts of the book constitute an interesting psychological analysis, the end is exasperating.
  thcson | Mar 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-25 of 88 (next | show all)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
1715 wanted
8 pay6 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.16)
0.5
1 6
1.5 2
2 12
2.5 5
3 74
3.5 32
4 195
4.5 45
5 213

Audible.com

2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 99,158,693 books! | Top bar: Always visible