Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow

eBook - 2011
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"The guru to the gurus at last shares his knowledge with the rest of us. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman's seminal studies in behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, and happiness studies have influenced numerous other authors, including Steven Pinker and Malcolm Gladwell. In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman at last offers his own, first book for the general public. It is a lucid and enlightening summary of his life's work. It will change the way you think about thinking. Two systems drive the way we think and make choices, Kahneman explains: System One is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System Two is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Examining how both systems function within the mind, Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities as well as the biases of fast thinking and the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and our choices. Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, he shows where we can trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking, contrasting the two-system view of the mind with the standard model of the rational economic agent. Kahneman's singularly influential work has transformed cognitive psychology and launched the new fields of behavioral economics and happiness studies. In this path-breaking book, Kahneman shows how the mind works, and offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and personal lives--and how we can guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble." -- Publisher.
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, 2011
ISBN: 9780385676526


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Jun 28, 2019

Exhausting. Interesting book, but clocking at 450 page, it is way too long. How many artificial cognitive tests can you bear with? 50, or a 100!

Humans do not walk around with their brain pre-loaded with statistical distributions, Bayesian statistics, knowledge of a priori probabilities of every random event the author can think off. Does that make them truly irrational? The author certainly makes an exhaustive effort over 450 pages that it does [make them irrational].

There is an easy way to overcome our in-born irrationality. Ask yourself two easy questions before answering a question. Does the answer actually matter? Is the answer to the question less than obvious? If your answer is yes in both cases, it is time to take your time to investigate the question. Otherwise, don’t spend much time on this question, even if you get it wrong, it really does not matter. The majority of questions in the book fell in the latter category.

Although Tversky and Kahneman did interesting work, it pales compared to Phillip Tetlock’s. Tversky and Kahneman asked artificial questions with often no consequence to our everyday lives. They are questions that we could answer by using the strategy described above. Tetlock, instead, used real live experts and followed their track records for decades. These people had taken the time to develop expertise in their respective field. Tetlock’s work has huge implications in our failure to manage the World economy, as demonstrated by the Financial Crisis a decade ago. In every field he looked at, he uncovered the same inability to make projections hardly better than chances. Next, he learned from the few who seemed to do a bit better than just random. And, he developed best forecasting principles that he turned into a community of “Superforecasters.” If Kahneman did deserve his Nobel prize, Tetlock deserves at least three.

Back to Kahneman’s book, while the author is on solid ground most of the time he makes numerous questionable statements throughout the book. He relies on the concept of “regression to the mean” to explain just about everyone’s performance in every field. And, he way exaggerates the usefulness of this concept. In most fields, most of us do not regress to the mean for a simple reason; we keep on learning, we keep on getting better. If we all kept reverting to the mean, we literally could never graduate out of first grade. On page 231-232, he makes a very perplexing statement regarding intuition that indicates that it is surprisingly effective some of the time. This short passage contradicts the other 450 pages in the book. The entire chapter 18 titled “Taming Intuitive Predictions” that relies on adjusting any intuitive prediction by the correlation between the observations you are attempting to predict seems mathematically questionable. On page 424, he indicates that when input variables are uncorrelated it makes for more accurate prediction. But, within the related example (predicting GPA) he talks about a dependent variable, which is a different situation. The lower volatility of such a variable, the narrower its related confidence interval and the more precise will be its related predictions. Again, by comparison I feel like Phillip Tetlock is a superior mathematician. While reading his work, I never came across any questionable math application. With Kahneman, it is often the case.

If you are interested in this subject, I also recommend the books by Dan Ariely. His books are far less redundant, more entertaining, much easier and faster to read, and in the end just as informative.

May 02, 2019

Thinking, Fast, and Slow is pact with knowledge of how people react in situations regarding statistics and probabilities. There is definitely a gap between what we know and how we act based on what we know. Our reactions can be quantified and there is a general pattern that most of us conclude but aren't always so correct. This is a challenging book that will require multiple reads, but at the end will get you thinking more like an expert.

Jan 27, 2019

Title sounded great, but the book was a very wordy. It'd have been more interesting if the author was about to shorten and get to the points a little more efficiently. Good content but it takes just about forever to get to each point and each point is way over-explained. I didn't finish the whole book; I'll look for a summary somewhere.

Nov 30, 2018

Don't be intimidated by the size of the book, it is very well written and easy to read.

Jun 20, 2018

Too long, and the explanations are laboured at times.

Mar 02, 2018

The audio book is a long slow grind, but, worth the effort. Interesting and with applicable personal insights. Kahneman is an interesting author with an unmatchable pedigree. However, a lot of what he proposes is really just common sense. I finished a course in Behavioural Economics recently and he is the father of this subject.
What really threw me completely at the end of the course, was that Kahenman admits, that after everything, our biases are so deeply ingrained and unconscious and we can never really overcome them.

Feb 16, 2018

A well-written book, full of practical examples of the author's theory. Two weeks was not enough time to absorb everything, and there are several sections of the book I'd like to read again. I definitely need to learn more about Bayesian analysis.

Nov 19, 2017

While I highly recommend this book, I highly recommend you DON'T GET THE AUDIOBOOK — While the material is digestible and accessible, I think it needs slower reading and frequent pauses and re-reading of sentences to stay on track. I'd have been in big trouble if I'd tried to get through it on audio.

Oct 27, 2017

The title and description of this book intrigued me. However, I was a little concerned that a Psychologist of Kahneman's stature - Nobel Laureate - would perhaps talk down to me. I need not have worried. While it is obvious that Kahneman has a thorough knowledge of every aspect of this subject he explains everything in language that a layperson like me can understand. A lifetime's worth of research is contained in this book and we the reader's are the beneficiaries. Some of his comments like "Whenever we can replace human judgment by a formula, we should at least consider it," are priceless. His examples to explain a context go a long way in helping us understand the tough topics.

Jul 12, 2017

Have not finished this one yet, but already quite impressed....

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Nov 21, 2017

SFPL202 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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