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  • Daniel Kahneman

'Thinking, Fast and Slow'


It is indeed one of the greatest and most engaging collections of insights into the human mind. Super intellectual....if you can absorb it, you won't give it up!. But let me caution you that this is serious stuff and incase you are looking out for light read...you couldn't have picked up a more wrong book than this that you invested in. It's like an unadulterated treat in quantum physics !!!

The book is divided into five parts.

Part 1 deals with elements of the two-systems approach to judgment and choice. How between the two systems (each with its own area of specialisation) the mind constructs a coherent interpretation of what is going on in our world at any instant. It is borrowed heavily from its use in applied psychology. Intuitive thinking and other automatic unconscious processes explain the language for thinking and talking about the mind. Both System 1 and System 2 are both active when people are awake. System 1 operates automatically and quickly without effort or any voluntary control. They are called 'Angry Woman' activities...they come as naturally as anger to the angry woman !! System 2 on the other hand allocates special attention and needs concentration to certain effortful mental activities that demand it like complex calculations. Such activities get disrupted when attention is shifted...say like riding a bike ! System 2 continuously monitors an individuals own behaviour and is the 'I' that you believe you are.

Part 2 explains thru experimental studies why it is so difficult for us to think statistically. Our System 1 is not designed to think statistics.

Part 3 ventures to explain a puzzling limitation of our mind : our excessive confidence in what we believe we know and our apparent inability to acknowledge the full extent of our ignorance and uncertainty of the world we live in. Rightly it is said that overconfidence is fed by the illusory certainty of hindsight !!!

Part 4 of the book deals with conversations with the discipline of economics on the nature of decision-making and on our belief that economic agents are rational !!!.

Part 5 deals with explaining the difference between the two selves..the experiencing self and the remembering self. Both of them have different purposes. What makes our experiences self-happy...v/s what we chose to recall at our free will are two different things. Two selves within the same body have different needs.

The concluding chapter discusses implications of three distinctions drawn... 👉 between experiencing and remembering selves 👉 between conceptions of agents in classical economics and behavioural economics and 👉 between the automatic System1 thinking. and the 'effortful' System 2 thinking.

Each part of the book is built over a few chapters. Stories, experiments, case-studies, dilemmas all have been effortlessly weaved into these chapters which identify a huge number of insights which lay themselves open for application in our managerial process, customer insights, design of products, services and processes. If we apply these insights as we design of our offerings, products and services, the chances of we being right most of the times, is very high.

This book is about Thinking. Intuitive thinking is FAST thinking. Comes naturally. Comes spontaneously to our minds. But sometimes, it fails. In such cases we find ourselves switching to a SLOW, a more deliberate and effortful format of thinking. Fast thinking includes both thoughts....expert and heuristic thinking. Thus the title of the book -Thinking , Fast and Slow.

I just loved it. Had to do back and forth a few times to grasp the concept. (My personal IQ is not very high !). Simply fantastic and cerebrally titillating work.. Must read for genuine students of behaviour. But as I said earlier, it is not a very easy read. Concepts are tough and to grasp it throughout the book, you will have to keep your System 2 continuously engaged !!!

I would rate it 5/5.


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