Thinking, Fast and Slow
Nobel prize winning Daniel Kahneman is widely regarded as the world’s most influential living psychologist. Drawing on a lifetime of his own work, and many other academic studies, he examines how and why we make the choices we do.
What experiences and perceptions did your mind draw on to complete the answers? Perhaps you were already familiar with the arrow illusion, but were you right when it came to the cost of the ball?
Kahneman explains that the brain tends to act in one of two ways: either on instinct – fast – or the more rational and logical – slow – way that requires effort.
Peppered throughout the book are examples of experiments that demonstrate how easy it is to make assumptions and be influenced by environmental factors or pre-conceptions, reaching instant conclusions that are often wrong. And because it requires more effort to think slowly, we often take the easy way out by acting on instinct.
- Over-confidence and the illusions we can operate under
- The choices we make when it comes to risk or framing decisions
- How we can think about life
This is not a book written to provide instant advice on how to make the right decisions. Instead, it leads you through a series of thought-provoking examples of how easily our thinking can be influenced, challenging you to question the choices we make everyday.
- The gorilla experiment: The famed example of viewers set the task of counting the number of passes made by a basketball team wearing white (ignoring the players wearing black). Viewers are so focussed on their task they completely fail to notice a person dressed in a gorilla suit who walks across the court half way through the game
- The judges: Studies of parole judges in Israel showed that the hungrier and more tired the judges were when making decisions, the more likely the defendant would be denied parole
- Persuading others: If you can help make thinking easier for people – using bold type, or simple language and rhyme, your ideas are more likely to be believed
In his conclusion, Kahneman acknowledges that although organisations are often better at slower more rational thinking than individuals – usually because of the procedures that are put in place before decisions are taken – there is always room for improvement.
By trying to recognise when a potential cognitive minefield is approaching, trying to slow down and reframe the decision may help you – and colleagues – make the right choice.
About the author
In 2002 Daniel Kahneman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his pioneering work in behavioural economics – exploring the irrational ways we make decisions about risk. Kahneman is a senior scholar and faculty member at Princeton University’s Department of Psychology, a fellow at Hebrew University, and a member of many esteemed bodies including the National Academy of Science and the American Psychological Association.
This book is a tour de force by an intellectual giant; it is readable, wise, and deep. Buy it fast. Read it slowly and repeatedly. It will change the way you think, on the job, about the world, and in your own life. – Richard Thaler, Co- Author of ‘Nudge’
Absorbing, intriguing…By making us aware of our minds’ tricks, Kahneman hopes to inspire individuals and organisations to identify strategies to outwit them. – Jenni Russell, Sunday Times
Profound . . . As Copernicus removed the Earth from the centre of the universe and Darwin knocked humans off their biological perch, Mr. Kahneman has shown that we are not the paragons of reason we assume ourselves to be. – The Economist
Author: Daniel Kahneman