Thinking, Fast and Slow
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"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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Frequently bought together
- Item Weight : 12.4 ounces
- Paperback : 510 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0141033576
- ISBN-13 : 978-0141033570
- Publisher : PENGUIN UK (January 1, 2012)
- Product Dimensions : 5.08 x 0.87 x 7.8 inches
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #320,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"If very few of us have read The Origin of the Species from end to end, it is not because it overtaxes our mind, but because we take in the whole case and are prepared to accept it long before we have come to the end of the innumerable instances and illustrations of which the book mainly consists. Darwin becomes tedious in the manner of a man who insists on continuing to prove his innocence after he has been acquitted. You assure him that there is not a stain on his character, and beg him to leave the court; but he will not be content with enough evidence to acquit him: he will have you listen to all the evidence that exists in the world."
Preface to Back to Methuselah, p. xlviii
I have mixed feelings about this book for various reasons. The first 200 pages (Part 1 and 2) are heavily focused on the author trying to convince the reader that it is better to think statistically rather than instinctively / intuitively. After stating countless studies to support his premise, the author (very briefly) in Chapter 21 admits that “formulas based on statistics or on common sense” are both good forms to develop valued algorithms – Doesn’t common sense fit into instinct or intuition? Later in the same chapter the author concedes that intuition adds value but only to the extent that the individual bases it off sufficient research. To me, the way most of the book was written, especially in Parts 1 and 2, was a little over the top. The chapters are short and each one cites at least one study that the author or someone else performed. It becomes example after example after example and redundant. The beginning chapters seem as if the author put a group of journal articles together to develop part of the book. Don’t get me wrong, many of the studies are really interesting and I find them very helpful, I just believe that it became a little redundant. However, there is some evidence that also says that many of the studies referenced in this book were not able to be reproduced, adding more speculation on the evidence supporting the author’s premise.
Furthermore, the book is very interactive with the reader and some parts are a little condescending. For example, in the Introduction, the author poses a question to the reader asking whether or not a personality description means the person in question is a farmer or a librarian. Rather than assuming that the multitude of readers may come up with different responses, the author states “Did it occur to you that there are more than 20 male farmers.” While I understand where the author was going with the question, the author presumed that the readers would only answer one way and this recurs throughout the book. Another example in Chapter 16 assumed that the reader came up with the wrong answer and even stated that the most common answer to this question is wrong, however, the author does not explain how to come up with the correct answer.
Since this book is very interactive, I wouldn’t purchase the audio book. I do have both the hard copy and the audio book and further noticed that there were a few mistakes between the hard copy and the audio. Sometimes the mistake was quite minimal such as words were flip-flopped but at the end of Chapter 17 the author asks a question which requires some thought and work by the reader. The total in the audiobook was completely off. Instead of stating the total at 81 million (as in the hard copy) the audio book read it as 61 million and the Total for another part of the question in the same example was 67.1 million in the audio book instead of 89.1 million as the hard copy stated.
All in all, a good part of the book is intriguing. The author clearly has conducted extensive research throughout his career and was able to present much of it in this book in a form that would be comprehensible to non-econ and non-psychology persons.
Top reviews from other countries
Why do we marry people just because they're good in bed?
Why do investors snatch small profits from winning investments whilst allowing large losses to build up in bad investments?
Why do parents deny their children life saving vaccinations for fear of unproven risks?
Why do we think a bird in the hand is worth two in a bush?
On the whole humans are incredibly good at making bad decisions because they allow emotions and moral values to prevail over good sense and simple mathematical calculation. We make snap decisions based on our intuition (fast thinking) and often believe our intuition is superior to logic (slow thinking). For example, President Trump recently said he preferred to listen to his 'gut' than his advisors.
Kahneman examines the reasons why we make bad decisions and indicates ways in which we might make better decisions - even if the better decisions make us feel uncomfortable because they are counterintuitive.
My only problem with this book is that it is so laborious in places that I almost lost interest. Sometimes Kahneman goes on and on about a proposition that has (at least for me) zero interest. If he asks 'How much would you pay for a bowl of roses valued at $59?' I don't have an answer because I'm simply not interested and I don't want to know how much anyone else would pay, or why they would or wouldn't pay it. Perhaps it's just me, but I found some of the propositions too complex to bother with. But to be fair there were some chapters that had me spellbound - maybe because they touched on areas where I make bad decisions.
Overall, this is an important book but spoiled by too much dense argument and irrelevant illustration. It could have contained all the salient points and been reduced to half the length without any dilution of the message.
Right side book published by FRS.
It's not an easy book to read so not one for the beach, but push through and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.