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Summary and book reviews of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow

by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman X
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2011, 512 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2013, 512 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Beverly Melven
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About this Book

Book Summary

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Thinking, Fast and Slow will transform the way you think about thinking.

Daniel Kahneman, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work in psychology that challenged the rational model of judgment and decision making, is one of our most important thinkers. His ideas have had a profound and widely regarded impact on many fields - including economics, medicine, and politics - but until now, he has never brought together his many years of research and thinking in one book.

In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and 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. Kahneman 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. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation - each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman 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. Thinking, Fast and Slow will transform the way you think about thinking.

Chapter 1
The Characters of the Story

To observe your mind in automatic mode, glance at the image below.


Figure 1

Your experience as you look at the woman's face seamlessly combines what we normally call seeing and intuitive thinking. As surely and quickly as you saw that the young woman's hair is dark, you knew she is angry. Furthermore, what you saw extended into the future. You sensed that this woman is about to say some very unkind words, probably in a loud and strident voice. A premonition of what she was going to do next came to mind automatically and effortlessly. You did not intend to assess her mood or to anticipate what she might do, and your reaction to the picture did not have the feel of something you did. It just happened to you. It was an instance of fast thinking.

Now look at the following problem:

17 × 24

You knew immediately that this is a multiplication problem, and probably knew that you could solve it, with paper and pencil, if not without. You ...

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Reviews

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BookBrowse

Science writing can be difficult to make interesting, but Kahneman does a good job of constantly engaging the reader with real examples for each idea that he presents... If you like reading Malcolm Gladwell, or if you enjoy exploring the inner workings of the human mind, this book may be for you...continued

Full Review (648 words).

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(Reviewed by Beverly Melven).

Media Reviews

The Washington Post
Daniel Kahneman demonstrates forcefully in his new book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, how easy it is for humans to swerve away from rationality.

Bloomberg/Businessweek
I will never think about thinking quite the same. [Thinking, Fast and Slow] is a monumental achievement.

The Globe and Mail
Brilliant... It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of Daniel Kahneman's contribution to the understanding of the way we think and choose... A magisterial work, stunning in its ambition, infused with knowledge, laced with wisdom, informed by modesty and deeply humane. If you can read only one book this year, read this one.

Boston Globe
A sweeping, compelling tale of just how easily our brains are bamboozled, bringing in both his own research and that of numerous psychologists, economists, and other experts... With rare exceptions, the entire span of this weighty book is fascinating and applicable to day-to-day life. Everyone should read Thinking, Fast and Slow.

The Atlantic
Absorbingly articulate and infinitely intelligent... [Thinking, Fast and Slow is] the wisdom that comes from five decades of honest, rigorous scientific work, delivered humbly yet brilliantly, in a way that will forever change the way you think about thinking.

The New York Times Book Review
It is an astonishingly rich book: lucid, profound, full of intellectual surprises and self-help value... So impressive is its vision of flawed human reason that the New York Times columnist David Brooks recently declared that Kahneman and Tversky's work 'will be remembered hundreds of years from now,' and that it is 'a crucial pivot point in the way we see ourselves.'

Nature
Kahneman provides a detailed, yet accessible, description of the psychological mechanisms involved in making decisions.

The Guardian (UK)
An outstanding book, distinguished by beauty and clarity of detail, precision of presentation and gentleness of manner. Its truths are open to all those whose System 2 is not completely defunct. I have hardly touched on its richness.

Financial Times (UK)
There have been many good books on human rationality and irrationality, but only one masterpiece. That masterpiece is Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow... This is one of the greatest and most engaging collections of insights into the human mind I have read.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The mind is a hilariously muddled compromise between incompatible modes of thought in this fascinating treatise... it's a lucid, marvelously readable guide to spotting - and correcting - our biased misunderstandings of the world.

Library Journal
A stellar accomplishment, a book for everyone who likes to think and wants to do it better.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

The Daily Beast
For anyone interested in economics, cognitive science, psychology, and, in short, human behavior, this is the book of the year. Before Malcolm Gladwell and Freakonomics, there was Daniel Kahneman who invented the field of behavior economics, won a Nobel… and now explains how we think and make choices. Here's an easy choice: read this.

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