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Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman Hardcover – 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada; 6th Printing edition (2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385676514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385676519
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,495 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,444,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This book just might change how you think or how you see things.
J. J. Noh
The book provides many insights into the way the human mind works as well as creating awareness of foibles in decision making and development of beliefs.
Lance G
This author hopes that readers of his book will learn to think more clearly through understanding the research and ideas he presents.
Geni J. White

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When you come late to the party, writing the 160th review, you have a certain freedom to write something as much for your own use as for other readers, confident that the review will be at the bottom of the pile.

Kahneman's thesis is that the human animal is systematically illogical. Not only do we mis-assess situations, but we do so following fairly predictable patterns. Moreover, those patterns are grounded in our primate ancestry.

The first observation, giving the title to the book, is that eons of natural selection gave us the ability to make a fast reaction to a novel situation. Survival depended on it. So, if we hear an unnatural noise in the bushes, our tendency is to run. Thinking slow, applying human logic, we might reflect that it is probably Johnny coming back from the Girl Scout camp across the river bringing cookies, and that running might not be the best idea. However, fast thinking is hardwired.

The first part of the book is dedicated to a description of the two systems, the fast and slow system. Kahneman introduces them in his first chapter as system one and system two.

Chapter 2 talks about the human energy budget. Thinking is metabolically expensive; 20 percent of our energy intake goes to the brain. Moreover, despite what your teenager tells you, dedicating energy to thinking about one thing means that energy is not available for other things. Since slow thinking is expensive, the body is programmed to avoid it.

Chapter 3 expands on this notion of the lazy controller. We don't invoke our slow thinking, system two machinery unless it is needed. It is expensive. As an example, try multiplying two two-digit numbers in your head while you are running. You will inevitably slow down.
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918 of 966 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Chuck Chakrapani on November 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Back in 1994, Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, Director of the Institute of San Raffaele in Milan, Italy, wrote a charming little book about common cognitive distortions called Inevitable Illusions. It is probably the very first comprehensive summary of behavioral economics intended for general audience. In it, he predicted that the two psychologists behind behavioral economics - Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman - would win the Nobel prize. I didn't disagree with the sentiment, but wondered how in the world were they going to get it since these two were psychologists and there is no Nobel prize in psychology. I didn't think there was much chance of them winning the Nobel Prize in economics. I was wrong and Piattelli-Palmarini was right. Kahneman won the Nobel prize in Economic Sciences. (Tversky unfortunately prematurely passed away by this time.) Just as Steve Jobs who was not in the music industry revolutionized it, the non-economists Kahneman and Tversky have revolutionized economic thinking. I have known Kahneman's work for quite some time and was quite excited to see that he was coming out with a non-technical version of his research. My expectations for the book were high and I wasn't disappointed.

Since other reviewers have given an excellent summary of the book, I will be brief in my summary but review the book more broadly.

The basis thesis of the book is simple. In judging the world around us, we use two mental systems: Fast and Slow. The Fast system (System 1) is mostly unconscious and makes snap judgments based on our past experiences and emotions. When we use this system we are as likely to be wrong as right. The Slow system (System 2) is rational, conscious and slow. They work together to provide us a view of the world around us.

So what's the problem?
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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Shaun Singh on November 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I'm not one of those people who took a college psychology course and then proceeded to diagnose friends and family. I don't think of myself as psychological expert to any degree. But, I have always had a passing interest in the way our mind works. I've read books and, yes, I've even enrolled in a college psychology course or two. I have to say that Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow is one of the most fascinating books on the human psyche that I've ever come across. It explains the way we think better than any college class or textbook could ever do. It also debunks the myth that humans are, by their nature, rational beings. We often make decisions that get us into some kind of trouble and those decisions are directly attributable to irrationality. Reading this book has certainly opened my eyes to some of the irrational decisions that have plagued my day-to-day life.

Because I'm always researching how the mind works and how to make mine work more efficiently, I stumbled across another book entitled 21 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy. This isn't like Kahneman's treatise on the intricacies of rational thought, but it does give you a great starting point on your quest to be happy. Again, I know that some of the decisions I make turn out to be clunkers, but I think living in a rational state of mind has helped me ward against those bad decisions. With 21 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy, I've also been able to clear out my mind and body of the things that may have contributed to negative choices in the past. It's a great, concise little book that has helped me tremendously in my day-to-day life.
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