Thinking, Fast and Slow
Another book by a Nobel Prize laureate. There might be a theme here.
I pre-ordered this book late last year in hopes of gaining a more complete and coherent understanding of human behavior, decisions, judgement and biases, delivered by Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist whose work has challenged the rational model of human behavior and impacted economics, public policy, medicine and politics. Mission accomplished. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” provided a coherent framework that allows me to understand my prior pieces of knowledge about human behavior beyond knowing what people will do in situation X or Y, but also understand why this happens and what might cause different behavior than expected.
Daniel Kahneman brings together biases, System 1 and System 2, Humans and Econs, framing, loss aversion, risk seeking, overconfidence and many other concepts in a thorough and coherent story about us, humans.
“Thinking, Fast and Slow” is an incredible book for anyone who is interested in understanding how humans make decisions and process information. With its numerous personal examples and scientific experiments linked in a coherent story, this book is a good guide to human behavior for people who consider humans perfectly rational and for people who have basic knowledge of behavioral economics. More importantly, with its practical advice and different techniques on when to trust intuition and how to tap into the benefits of slow thinking, this is a great self-help book.
A few of my favorite takeaways are:
- Cognition is embodied. We think with our bodies, not only with our brains.
- Familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.
- People are unwilling to deduce the particular from the general and willing to infer the general from the particular.
- Prediction matches evaluation.
- Creativity is associative memory that works exceptionally well. (For more on this, read Jonah Lehrer’s “Imagine.”)