Book Review: Thinking, Fast and Slow

by Daniel Kahneman

Non-fiction, Amazon puts it in Psychology, but it could come under any number of categories!

Amazon has been bothering me to read this for weeks, so I finally caved (the joke is on them, I bought it from Waterstones).

Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman takes us on an astonishing journey through the human thought process, revealing a surprising world of duality on the way. He describes that we all have two ways:

  • To think, the intuitive vs the contemplative
  • To decide, “Humans” (realists) vs “Econs” (theorists) (not his own terminology)
  • To experience, the remembering self vs the experiencing self

To demonstrate, you can add 2 and 2 together in the blink of an eyelid. But, how about trying to determine the Pepsi Max slogan from the mixed up ad I saw on a bus earlier today?wpid-20140116_164339.jpgYou’ll probably have stopped whatever you were doing, squinted, and been less aware of what was going on around you: you have just engaged what he calls “System 2” of thought, compared to the thoughtless “System 1” process that enables you to do simple sums, cross roads, and drive with screaming kids in the back.

It’s on this platform that he builds a solid case for being a bit more effortful in thinking, being able to recognise when you are thinking on automatic (which is not always a bad thing), and questioning if your assumptions are biassed.

It’s somewhat lengthy and hard to read in places, but the chapters are quite short and have some brief soundbites at the end to summarise the message which a brilliant if, like me, you get to the end of a chapter on a bus at 7:30 in the morning and think “What in blue blazes did I just read?”. It is, however, very well written and you can tell a whole career’s worth of passion has gone into it. There are some interactive exercises for you to enjoy too.

I’d definitely recommend it if you’re at all curious about how we make decisions- you’ll be surprised how often we make elementary mistakes every day!

Next up: Practicing Affirmation: God-Centred Praise for those who are not God by Sam Crabtree.

[this post was pre-scheduled]

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