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Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011)

by Daniel Kahneman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,311181748 (4.13)162
In this work the author, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work in psychology that challenged the rational model of judgment and decision making, has brought together his many years of research and thinking in one book. He explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. He 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 behavior. He 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 business and our personal lives, and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. This author's work has transformed cognitive psychology and launched the new fields of behavioral economics and happiness studies. In this book, he takes us on a tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think and the way we make choices.… (more)
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English (167)  Dutch (6)  French (2)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (180)
Showing 1-5 of 167 (next | show all)
Behavioral economics is "in" right now, partially as a result of the weakness of the economics profession in recent years, and partially because psychologists have stopped practicing Freudian incantations and started uncovering amazing details of how human beings actually think and behave. Kahneman's research into the division of consciousness between the fast-acting and unconscious System 1 and the more high-powered but lazy System 2 is recounted in this alternately fascinating and horrifying exploration of the unconscious. After reading this lengthy catalog of flaws, biases, and lacunae in our overworked brains, you'll be amazed that civilization exists at all, given the myriad ways that the snap judgments of System 1 get taken on faith by System 2. You'll also be disturbed that there doesn't seem to be an easy to way to fix the fragility of your everyday processes of judgment. Even the smartest person has the same ramshackle collections of neuron clusters as everyone else, and even this summary of the pioneering research that Kahneman and everyone else has done opens with the frank admission that he's susceptible to the same cognitive limits as everyone else. Knowing may be half the battle, but that still leaves a good bit for future study and action. ( )
1 vote aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Really got me thinking about how I see the world around me. ( )
  Bookie379 | Apr 16, 2021 |
Reading this book reminded me a lot of reading Irrationality last year: they're much in the same area of human mind, decision making, judgments and the psychology behind them. Interesting and written in an easy-to-read style, but not quite what I was expecting from this book. ( )
  mari_reads | Mar 22, 2021 |
I only read the first 100 pages or so, then skimmed most of the rest. it is intellectual interesting, but mostly it provides a working language to describe what we tend to sense about how humans think. it is scary to be reminded how easily we are manipulated, especially by words. I do wish he had addressed the idea of mob mentality. Ultimately, as a lay person I was merely a little entertained by this book. ( )
1 vote | keithostertag | Feb 18, 2021 |
You are given the following problem:

1) You have the opportunity to learn some things about decision-making but must filter the 100 or so pages from 500 yourself to determine if any of them are new
2) 80% of a text reinforces early points made with different examples but must be read in order to have a complete picture of why it shouldn't have been read

Kahneman spend a lot of time and bandwidth telling us we make bad decisions and describing the different ways in which we make them - biases, heuristics, priming, framing, fallacies. Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational was published three years before this. It's an easier read, and one of which I observed in 2012 "... one of the chief complaints of the haters was his extrapolation of his findings (from the studies he included in this book) to the general populace. I see the complaint, but that doesn't discredit the points as they are presented in what should be seen as what it is: a popular science book, not an academic paper." Kahneman's book, however, is mired in academia with attempts at colloquial disguise. I’ve tried for years to get into this book, and now I am finally through it. The good thing is he’s arranged his points in small bites. The bad thing is each could have easily been a page. But that doesn’t sell books or win Nobels. The other bad thing is that the majority of this book is repetitious tedium.

This book has a noteworthy distinction of being the first "only" book on my "currently reading" list in more than two decades - I usually read three or more at the same time ...alternating between them, obviously. And with its tortuous completion, I now have for the briefest timebite no books on my list (to be corrected quickly after filing this.)

Selected highlighted bullets with no context:
"The premise of this book is that it is easier to recognize other people’s mistakes than our own."
"The gorilla study illustrates two important facts about our minds: we can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness."
"Restoring the level of available sugar in the brain had prevented the deterioration of performance."
"The main function of System 1 is to maintain and update a model of your personal world, which represents what is normal in it."
[The model may be like the sensory maps our brains make.]

With context: Kahneman talks about Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, which I though seemed like it was written with the end determined first and then Gladwell searched for things to back it up. (One prevalent theme kept surfacing - definitive conclusion based on entirely subjective observations.) Kahneman and his research partner at the time disageed with Gladwell's conclusion on one story that experts who knew a scuplture was fake with intuition only could not have determined whether it was by systematic inquiry. But Kahneman recognizes that Gladwell doesn't attribute magic to expert intuition.In a later chapter he describes a massive failure of intuition: Americans elected President Harding, whose only qualification for the position was that he perfectly looked the part. Square jawed and tall, he was the perfect image of a strong and decisive leader. People voted for someone who looked strong and decisive without any other reason to believe that he was. And in 2016 T was elected because he didn’t. "An intuitive prediction of how Harding would perform as president arose from substituting one question for another."

"...some aspects of any professional's tasks are much easier to learn than others."Psychotherapists have many opportunities to observe the immediate reactions of patients to what they say. The feedback enables them to develop the intuitive skill to find the words and the tone that will calm anger, forge confidence, or focus the patient’s attention. On the other hand, therapists do not have a chance to identify which general treatment approach is most suitable for different patients.This is something most people embracing or promoting therapy do not seem to understand. One size not only doesn’t fit all, nor most,... it doesn’t fit many.

On trying to figure out why a project took many yearsBut this is what always happens when a project ends reasonably well: once you understand the main conclusion, it seems it was always obvious.Ernest Rutherford supposedly said that "All of physics is either impossible or trivial. It is impossible until you understand it, and then it becomes trivial."

In one decision example, Kahneman poses a problem of two people who want to see a basketball game 40 miles away (which in the DFW metroplex is a walk in the park). One bought a ticket, the other got one for free. Blizzard blows in. Which braves the blizzard to see the game? Your answer is likely the immediate answer of almost everyone (the fan who paid...naturally.) A sunk cost problem, the rational brain has to thinkWould I still drive into this snowstorm if I had gotten the ticket free from a friend?” It takes an active and disciplined mind to raise such a difficult question.Something I know I am not good at is asking myself "Is my time worth...?" Like finishing a book I know has expended its value early. My stubborness often has a sunk cost fallacy nudging it on.

Characteristics of System 1, summarized by Kahneman:
- generates impressions, feelings, and inclinations; when endorsed by System 2 these become beliefs, attitudes, and intentions
- operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort, and no sense of voluntary control
- can be programmed by System 2 to mobilize attention when a particular pattern is detected (search)
- executes skilled responses and generates skilled intuitions, after adequate training
- creates a coherent pattern of activated ideas in associative memory
- links a sense of cognitive ease to illusions of truth, pleasant feelings, and reduced vigilance
- distinguishes the surprising from the normal
- infers and invents causes and intentions
- neglects ambiguity and suppresses doubt
- is biased to believe and confirm
- exaggerates emotional consistency (halo effect)
- focuses on existing evidence and ignores absent evidence (WYSIATI)
- generates a limited set of basic assessments represents sets by norms and prototypes, does not integrate
- matches intensities across scales (e.g., size to loudness)
- computes more than intended (mental shotgun)
- sometimes substitutes an easier question for a difficult one (heuristics)
- is more sensitive to changes than to states (prospect theory)
- overweights low probabilities
- shows diminishing sensitivity to quantity (psychophysics)
- responds more strongly to losses than to gains (loss aversion)
- frames decision problems narrowly, in isolation from one anotherFYI, WYSIATI is What You See Is All There Is

Bottom line: My original "problem" is a obviously a contrived trick non-question. This is not the book to read. ( )
1 vote Razinha | Feb 7, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 167 (next | show all)
The replication crisis in psychology does not extend to every line of inquiry, and just a portion of the work described in Thinking, Fast and Slow has been cast in shadows. Kahneman and Tversky’s own research, for example, turns out to be resilient. Large-scale efforts to recreate their classic findings have so far been successful. One bias they discovered—people’s tendency to overvalue the first piece of information that they get, in what is known as the “anchoring effect”—not only passed a replication test, but turned out to be much stronger than Kahneman and Tversky thought.

Still, entire chapters of Kahneman’s book may need to be rewritten.
added by elenchus | editSlate.com, Daniel Engber (Dec 1, 2016)
 
"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.
 

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Daniel Kahnemanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Egan, PatrickReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eivind LilleskjæretTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gunnar NyquistTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Every author, I suppose, has in mind a setting in which readers of his or her work could benefit from having read it.
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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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In this work the author, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work in psychology that challenged the rational model of judgment and decision making, has brought together his many years of research and thinking in one book. He explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. He 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 behavior. He 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 business and our personal lives, and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. This author's work has transformed cognitive psychology and launched the new fields of behavioral economics and happiness studies. In this book, he takes us on a tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think and the way we make choices.

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Le système 1 est rapide , intuitif et émotionel ;le système 2 est plus lent , plus réfléchi , plus controléet plus logique .Fruit d toute une vie de recherche ''Système 1/Système 2" dessine une théorie brillante ,qui offer des prolongements pratiques immédiats dans la vie quotidienne et professionnelle.
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