Customer Reviews for

Thinking, Fast and Slow

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

30 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

Must read for students of the mind

I've read a number of books that touched upon subject matter similar to this one - Taleb's "Fooled by Randomness" and the "Drunkard's Walk" by Mlodinow. Those books cite Kahneman's research as source material, and so I was quite excited to read this book by a giant in t...
I've read a number of books that touched upon subject matter similar to this one - Taleb's "Fooled by Randomness" and the "Drunkard's Walk" by Mlodinow. Those books cite Kahneman's research as source material, and so I was quite excited to read this book by a giant in this field of research. Overall, I think this is an exceptionally readable and thorough treatment of frequent cognitive errors that people make. Even though I'd read the other two books, I still found this one to be very interesting, especially for the system 1/2 model that Kahneman puts forth. He also reinforces the material on a regular basis, so hopefully, it will be sticky and memorable. Although Kahneman is an academic, I think this book will be readable and accessible to a wide audience. So I would give him high marks for that. The only thing I am struggling with is a despair that I will never be able to overcome the shortcomings of my hardware... And oh yeah, this is a long book, but I guess you get your money's worth!

posted by StudentoftheBuddha on January 19, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

21 out of 151 people found this review helpful.

The Un-Think

Daniel Kahneman, adept at psychological sleight of cognition, gives us a two tier system that is inherently flawed. This is so because quantitative research holds that correlation does not imply causation.

This Fundamental principle follows a truth that it is always ...
Daniel Kahneman, adept at psychological sleight of cognition, gives us a two tier system that is inherently flawed. This is so because quantitative research holds that correlation does not imply causation.

This Fundamental principle follows a truth that it is always possible that a spurious relationship exists for variables between which covariance is held to some degree. In probability theory, covariance is the measure of how much two random variables vary together.

In equating these variables I find in the instance of the variable System 1 that it is above its expected value as opposed to System 2s expected use, which is below its expected value. The covariance between these two variables is deemed negative in probability theory. In this case the negativity being System 1s expected value, thus it follows a higher value is placed on System 2.

Therefore the value based derivative of System 1 when used in Kahneman's terms as a base value positive is absolutely without worth. It is trifling, manipulative bit of thought processing - it is a transparent artifice.

Chris Roberts

posted by ChrisRoberts on December 2, 2011

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  • Posted January 19, 2012

    Must read for students of the mind

    I've read a number of books that touched upon subject matter similar to this one - Taleb's "Fooled by Randomness" and the "Drunkard's Walk" by Mlodinow. Those books cite Kahneman's research as source material, and so I was quite excited to read this book by a giant in this field of research. Overall, I think this is an exceptionally readable and thorough treatment of frequent cognitive errors that people make. Even though I'd read the other two books, I still found this one to be very interesting, especially for the system 1/2 model that Kahneman puts forth. He also reinforces the material on a regular basis, so hopefully, it will be sticky and memorable. Although Kahneman is an academic, I think this book will be readable and accessible to a wide audience. So I would give him high marks for that. The only thing I am struggling with is a despair that I will never be able to overcome the shortcomings of my hardware... And oh yeah, this is a long book, but I guess you get your money's worth!

    30 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Un-Think

    Daniel Kahneman, adept at psychological sleight of cognition, gives us a two tier system that is inherently flawed. This is so because quantitative research holds that correlation does not imply causation.

    This Fundamental principle follows a truth that it is always possible that a spurious relationship exists for variables between which covariance is held to some degree. In probability theory, covariance is the measure of how much two random variables vary together.

    In equating these variables I find in the instance of the variable System 1 that it is above its expected value as opposed to System 2s expected use, which is below its expected value. The covariance between these two variables is deemed negative in probability theory. In this case the negativity being System 1s expected value, thus it follows a higher value is placed on System 2.

    Therefore the value based derivative of System 1 when used in Kahneman's terms as a base value positive is absolutely without worth. It is trifling, manipulative bit of thought processing - it is a transparent artifice.

    Chris Roberts

    21 out of 151 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Thinking, Fast and Slow

    The topics that Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman addresses are both complex and integral to the human mind: He asks you to think about thinking by considering how your mind habitually contradicts itself, distorts data and misleads you. His prose is lucid, his reasoning rigorous and his honesty refreshing – more than once Kahneman illustrates conflicted thinking with examples from his own life. The result is a fairly slow read, but an ultimately rewarding experience. getAbstract recommends this book to anyone interested in neuroscience and neuroeconomics, and to all those who want to improve their thinking about thinking.

    16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    Bait and switch

    If you are looking for a well researched, organized, and readable scholarly work on an interesting topic, you will be sorely disappointed with this book. This is a bait and switch. New and useful insight is promised but only yesterday’s news and tired old liberal dogma is delivered. Daniel Kahneman offers a rambling narrative filled with assertion, reminiscence, and repetition. The book culminates in a liberal rant delivered with all the arrogance of the ivory tower. Kahneman is entitled to his opinion, but he and his publisher promised objectivity and scholarship – and delivered neither. Let the buyer beware.

    12 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2012

    *A full executive summary of this book is available at newbooksi

    *A full executive summary of this book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com.

    The adage ‘you are what you eat’ is no doubt literally true, but when it comes to getting at the heart of what we are it is certainly more accurate to say ‘you are what you think’; for our identity emerges out of the life of the mind, and our decisions and actions (including what we eat) is determined by our thoughts. An exploration of how we think therefore cuts to the core of what we are, and offers a clear path to gaining a better understanding of ourselves and why we behave as we do. In addition, while many of us are fairly happy with how our mind works, few of us would say that we could not afford to improve here at least in some respects; and therefore, an exploration of how we think also promises to point the way towards fruitful self-improvement (which stands to help us both in our personal and professional lives). While thinking about thinking was traditionally a speculative practice (embarked upon by philosophers and economists) it has recently received a more empirical treatment through the disciplines of psychology and neuroscience. It is from the latter angle that the Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman approaches the subject in his new book 'Thinking, Fast and Slow'.

    As the title would suggest, Kahneman breaks down thinking into 2 modes or systems. Slow thinking is the system that we normally think of as thought in the strictest sense. It is deliberate and conscious, and we naturally feel as though we are in control of it (Kahneman refers to it as system 2). System 2 is in play when we actively consider what we want to have for dinner tonight, or when we choose what stocks to buy, or when we perform a mathematical calculation. System 1, by contrast, is automatic and unconscious, and hums along continuously in the background. It constantly surveys the environment, and processes the incoming stimuli with razor speed.

    The impressions of system 1 are fairly effective in protecting us from moment to moment, but they are much less effective in long-term planning; and therefore, they are much more problematic here. Of course, system 2 is capable of overriding the impressions of system 1, and of avoiding the errors. However, as Kahneman points out, system 2 is often completely unaware that it is being influenced (and misled) by system 1; and therefore, is not naturally well-equipped to catch the errors. Much of the book is spent exploring the activities and biases of system 1, in order to make us more aware of how this system works and how it influences (and often misleads) system 2.

    This is only half the battle, though, for while system 2 may be naturally poorly equipped to catch the errors of system 1, it is also often poorly equipped to correct these errors. Indeed, Kahneman argues that system 2 is simply not a paragon of rationality, and could stand to use a good deal of help in this regard. This is another major concern of the book.

    Kahneman does a very good job of breaking down the workings of the mind, and presenting his findings in a very readable way. My only objection to the book is that the arguments are sometimes drawn out much more than needed, and there is a fair bit of repetition. A full executive summary of the book is available at newbooksinbrief dot com; a podcast discussion of the book will be available shortly thereafter.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2012

    Scientific Studies on Two Systems of Brain Processes

    Thinking Fast and Slow
    Daniel Kahneman © 2011
    Farrer, Straus and Giroux, NY
    ISBN 978-0-374-27563-1 (alk.paper) Hdbk.)
    418 pp. plus appendices


    Dr. Kahneman presents research that examines two systems in human brains that he calls System one and System two. System one is fast, intuitive and decides based on observable points and from memory. System two thinks logically and slower, but is lazy and often accepts what System one presents. This results in biases and decisions not supported by accurate evidence.


    This author hopes that readers of his book will learn to think more clearly through understanding the research and ideas he presents. The book is not one to read quickly but is well written and informative.


    Probably human brains have more than two systems that control our thinking, but scientists often research basic processes thoroughly before studying more complex issues. That seems to be the case with Thinking Fast and Slow.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2011

    The bad story

    This book was a great book about bad stories. I loved it!

    6 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    Rough to read

    I would have enjoyed it more had the editor streamlined it better. I have never thought of myself as being from the TV generation...but i was (am, actually, as I haven't yet gotten through the book in its entierity) a bit bored. The author seems mired in a thought that could have been more easily portrayed by a (ghost) writer (v scientist). As a teacher he would have found this student skipping class to catch some zzz's. It's compelling thought with a clunky delivery. So, it's taking me longer than other nonfiction (of similar genera). Good concepts though. I will power through to the conclusion, but it will take some time.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2012

    This book gives a great deal of insight into the problems we're

    This book gives a great deal of insight into the problems we're having in America today. It rates high on my must read list.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    Owner's manual for your brain.

    Took me forever to finish but a great book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Great

    I want to read more about our body and all the "stuff" inside it. It could get me a head start on science which I really love. Hope more books can be realeased.


    From 11 yr. old kid

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2012

    Good read but slow at times

    Overall I liked this book. It gave me a lot to think about with regards to how I think - my (our) biases, the heuristics I (we) use, how I (we) think about the past, etc. The only quibble I have is that it gets slow in the second half. However, it does end strong with the "Two Selves" concept (the experiencing self vs. the remembering self).

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2013

    I'm an economist, so there wasn't much new for me in this book.

    I'm an economist, so there wasn't much new for me in this book. I did not care for the games and gimmicks, such as invitations to repeat his experiments and talking points at the end of each chapter, but both can be skipped easily. I did not find the System 1 and 2 (fast and slow) scheme very enlightening. I kept thinking about Freakonomics - another attempt to mass-market economic insights - and almost quit before reaching Part II. I'm glad I kept going, because the last half of the book was much better. Readers with advanced knowledge of economics may be disappointed. However, I would recommend this book to non-economists because it exposes numerous flaws in our intuition.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    The best nonfiction book I have read in my whole life. Best non

    The best nonfiction book I have read in my whole life. Best nonfiction content in a book written. Very interesting content. High quality content, genius writing, very highly recommend.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    An enlightening book

    Just excellent. Everyone should read this. Not always simple, but it would make our communal dialogue more enlightened.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2013

    I live in on one of the great lakes. It has been snowing alot.

    It is cold.

    2 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This book is outstanding. I am glad I read this book because I

    This book is outstanding. I am glad I read this book because I can apply the information within it to my daily life and also because things in life are not what they appear to be.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Correlation vs causation

    See book pg 183 where author points out that many, including eminent researchers, "...have made the same mistake --- confusing mere correlation with causation." But the author does not appear to be one of them.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    fascinating

    This is a book with a number of new insights into our thought processes. I will be reading and rereading part of it frequently.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    rating

    rating change

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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