Thinking, Fast and Slow [NOOK Book]

Overview

The guru to the gurus at last shares his knowledge with the rest of us. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman's seminal studies in behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, and happiness studies have influenced numerous other authors, including Steven Pinker and Malcolm Gladwell. In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman at last offers his own, first book for the general public. It is a lucid and enlightening summary of his life's work. It will change ...
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Thinking, Fast and Slow

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Overview

The guru to the gurus at last shares his knowledge with the rest of us. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman's seminal studies in behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, and happiness studies have influenced numerous other authors, including Steven Pinker and Malcolm Gladwell. In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman at last offers his own, first book for the general public. It is a lucid and enlightening summary of his life's work. It will change the way you think about thinking.

Two systems drive the way we think and make choices, Kahneman explains: System One is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System Two is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Examining how both systems function within the mind, Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities as well as the biases of fast thinking and the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and our choices. Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, he shows where we can trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking, contrasting the two-system view of the mind with the standard model of the rational economic agent.

Kahneman's singularly influential work has transformed cognitive psychology and launched the new fields of behavioral economics and happiness studies. In this path-breaking book, Kahneman shows how the mind works, and offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and personal lives--and how we can guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble.


From the Hardcover edition.

One of the New York Times Book Review's Top 10 Books of 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Daniel Kahneman won his Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, but it should surprise no one that his first book on cognitive processes has been eagerly awaited for years. Dr. Kahneman was awarded for his Nobel for his seminal work in psychology that challenged the rational model of judgment and decision-making. Steven Pinker, no slouch himself, called him "one of the most influential psychologists in history and certainly the most important psychologist alive today." In this book, Kahneman describes the "machinery of the mind," the two mental systems, one fast and the other slow, that determine our choices and shape our impressions. A breakthrough approach that is both practical and enlightening. A critically acclaimed bestseller; now in trade paperback and NOOK Book.

Jim Holt
…an astonishingly rich book: lucid, profound, full of intellectual surprises and self-help value. It is consistently entertaining and frequently touching…I overconfidently urge everyone to buy and read it.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
The mind is a hilariously muddled compromise between incompatible modes of thought in this fascinating treatise by a giant in the field of decision research. Nobel-winning psychologist Kahneman (Attention and Effort) posits a brain governed by two clashing decision-making processes. The largely unconscious System 1, he contends, makes intuitive snap judgments based on emotion, memory, and hard-wired rules of thumb; the painfully conscious System 2 laboriously checks the facts and does the math, but is so "lazy" and distractible that it usually defers to System 1. Kahneman uses this scheme to frame a scintillating discussion of his findings in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics, and of the ingenious experiments that tease out the irrational, self-contradictory logics that underlie our choices. We learn why we mistake statistical noise for coherent patterns; why the stock-picking of well-paid investment advisers and the prognostications of pundits are worthless; why businessmen tend to be both absurdly overconfident and unwisely risk-averse; and why memory affects decision making in counterintuitive ways. Kahneman's primer adds to recent challenges to economic orthodoxies about rational actors and efficient markets; more than that, it's a lucid, marvelously readable guide to spotting—and correcting—our biased misunderstandings of the world. Photos. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
“A tour de force. . . Kahneman’s book is a must read for anyone interested in either human behavior or investing. He clearly shows that while we like to think of ourselves as rational in our decision making, the truth is we are subject to many biases. At least being aware of them will give you a better chance of avoiding them, or at least making fewer of them.”—Larry Swedroe, CBS News

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

 

“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.”— Galen Strawson, The Guardian

 

“Brilliant . . . It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of Daniel Kahneman’s contribution to the understanding of the way we think and choose. He stands among the giants, a weaver of the threads of Charles Darwin, Adam Smith and Sigmund Freud. Arguably the most important psychologist in history, Kahneman has reshaped cognitive psychology, the analysis of rationality and reason, the understanding of risk and the study of happiness and well-being . . . 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.”— Janice Gross Stein, The Globe and Mail 

 

“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...Kahneman has a remarkable ability to take decades worth of research and distill from it what would be important and interesting for a lay audience...Thinking, Fast and Slow is an immensely important book. Many science books are uneven, with a useful or interesting chapter too often followed by a dull one. Not so here. 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.” —Jesse Singal, Boston Globe

 

“We must be grateful to Kahneman for giving us in this book a joyful understanding of the practical side of our personalities.” —Freeman Dyson, The New York Review of Books

 

“Brilliant . . . It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of Daniel Kahneman’s contribution to the understanding of the way we think and choose. He stands among the giants, a weaver of the threads of Charles Darwin, Adam Smith and Sigmund Freud. Arguably the most important psychologist in history, Kahneman has reshaped cognitive psychology, the analysis of rationality and reason, the understanding of risk and the study of happiness and well-being . . . 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.” — Janice Gross Stein, The Globe and Mail

“It is an astonishingly rich book: lucid, profound, full of intellectual surprises and self-help value. It is consistently entertaining and frequently touching, especially when Kahneman is recounting his collaboration with Tversky . . . 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.’ They are, Brooks said, ‘like the Lewis and Clark of the mind’ . . . By the time I got to the end of Thinking, Fast and Slow, my skeptical frown had long since given way to a grin of intellectual satisfaction. Appraising the book by the peak-end rule, I overconfidently urge everyone to buy and read it. But for those who are merely interested in Kahenman’s takeaway on the Malcolm Gladwell question it is this: If you've had 10,000 hours of training in a predictable, rapid-feedback environment—chess, firefighting, anesthesiology—then blink. In all other cases, think.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Ask around and you hear pretty much the same thing. 'Kahneman is the most influential psychologist since Sigmund Freud,' says Christopher Chabris, a professor of psychology at Union College, in New York. 'No one else has had such a broad impact on so many fields' . . . It now seems inevitable that Kahneman, who made his reputation by ignoring or defying conventional wisdom, is about to be anointed the intellectual guru of our economically irrational times.”— Evan R. Goldstein, The Chronicle of Higher Education

“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.”—William Easterly, Financial Times

“[Thinking, Fast and Slow] is wonderful, of course. To anyone with the slightest interest in the workings of his own mind, it is so rich and fascinating that any summary would seem absurd.”— Michael Lewis, Vanity Fair

“Absorbingly articulate and infinitely intelligent . . . What's most enjoyable and compelling about Thinking, Fast and Slow is that it's so utterly, refreshingly anti-Gladwellian. There is nothing pop about Kahneman's psychology, no formulaic story arc, no beating you over the head with an artificial, buzzword-encrusted Big Idea. It's just 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.”—Maria Popova, The Atlantic

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

“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

 

“[Kahneman’s] disarmingly simple experiments have profoundly changed the way that we think about thinking . . . We like to see ourselves as a Promethean species, uniquely endowed with the gift of reason. But Mr. Kahneman’s simple experiments reveal a very different mind, stuffed full of habits that, in most situations, lead us astray.” —Jonah Lehrer, The Wall Street Journal

 

“[A] tour de force of psychological insight, research explication and compelling narrative that brings together in one volume the high points of Mr. Kahneman's notable contributions, over five decades, to the study of human judgment, decision-making and choice . . . Thanks to the elegance and force of his ideas, and the robustness of the evidence he offers for them, he has helped us to a new understanding of our divided minds—and our whole selves.” —Christoper F. Chabris, The Wall Street Journal

 

“The ramifications of Kahenman’s work are wide, extending into education, business, marketing, politics . . . and even happiness research. Call his field “psychonomics,” the hidden reasoning behind our choices. Thinking, Fast and Slow is essential reading for anyone with a mind.” —Kyle Smith, The New York Post

 

“A major intellectual event . . . The work of Kahneman and Tversky was a crucial pivot point in the way we see ourselves.” —David Brooks, The New York Times

 

“Kahneman provides a detailed, yet accessible, description of the psychological mechanisms involved in making decisions.” —Jacek Debiec, Nature

 

“With Kahneman’s expert help, readers may understand this mix of psychology and economics better than most accountants, therapists, or elected representatives. VERDICT A stellar accomplishment, a book for everyone who likes to think and wants to do it better.” —Library Journal

 

“The mind is a hilariously muddled compromise between incompatible modes of thought in this fascinating treatise by a giant in the field of decision research. Nobel-winning psychologist Kahneman (Attention and Effort) posits a brain governed by two clashing decision-making processes. The largely unconscious System 1, he contends, makes intuitive snap judgments based on emotion, memory, and hard-wired rules of thumb; the painfully conscious System 2 laboriously checks the facts and does the math, but is so "lazy" and distractible that it usually defers to System 1. Kahneman uses this scheme to frame a scintillating discussion of his findings in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics, and of the ingenious experiments that tease out the irrational, self-contradictory logics that underlie our choices. We learn why we mistake statistical noise for coherent patterns; why the stock-picking of well-paid investment advisers and the prognostications of pundits are worthless; why businessmen tend to be both absurdly overconfident and unwisely risk-averse; and why memory affects decision making in counterintuitive ways. Kahneman's primer adds to recent challenges to economic orthodoxies about rational actors and efficient markets; more than that, it's a lucid, marvelously readable guide to spotting—and correcting—our biased misunderstandings of the world.” —Publishers' Weekly (starred review)

“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.” —The Daily Beast

“This book is one of the few that must be counted as mandatory reading for anyone interested in the Internet, even though it doesn’t claim to be about that. Before computer networking got cheap and ubiquitous, the sheer inefficiency of communication dampened the effects of the quirks of human psychology on macro scale events. No more. We must now confront how we really are in order to make sense of our world and not screw it up. Daniel Kahneman has discovered a path to make it possible.” —Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not a Gadget

“Daniel Kahneman is one of the most original and interesting thinkers of our time. There may be no other person on the planet who better understands how and why we make the choices we make. In this absolutely amazing book, he shares a lifetime’s worth of wisdom presented in a manner that is simple and engaging, but nonetheless stunningly profound. This book is a must read for anyone with a curious mind.” —Steven D. Levitt, William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago; co-author of Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics.

Thinking, Fast and Slow is a masterpiece—a brilliant and engaging intellectual saga by one of the greatest psychologists and deepest thinkers of our time. Kahneman should be parking a Pulitzer next to his Nobel Prize.” —Daniel Gilbert, Harvard University Professor of Psychology, author of Stumbling on Happiness, host of the award-winning PBS television series “This Emotional Life”

“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, University of Chicago Professor of Economics and co-author of Nudge

“This is a landmark book in social thought, in the same league as The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith and The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud.”—Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan

“Daniel Kahneman is among the most influential psychologists in history and certainly the most important psychologist alive today. He has a gift for uncovering remarkable features of the human mind, many of which have become textbook classics and part of the conventional wisdom. His work has reshaped social psychology, cognitive science, the study of reason and of happiness, and behavioral economics, a field that he and his collaborator Amos Tversky helped to launch. The appearance of Thinking, Fast and Slow is a major event.” —Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Better Angels of our Nature

Library Journal
Kahneman (psychology, emeritus, Princeton) won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work with Amos Tversky on decision making. In this large, readable book, Kahneman presents provocative theories and groundbreaking research and, moreover, clearly explains both. He postulates two systems of thinking that operate simultaneously but often at odds: intuitive and deliberative, or fast and slow, respectively. Fast judgments dominate to a greater extent than we know and to our disadvantage. A key discovery that overcame an effect Kahneman terms "theory induced blindness" (which refers mainly to fast-thinking mistakes but can occur in slow thinking when our assumptions are wrong or simply interfere with seeing) was that outcomes are better defined by gains and losses than by sums of wealth. "Prospect theory," an idea Kahneman developed with Tversky, posits that, when all our options are bad, we tend to take riskier paths. With Kahneman's expert help, readers may understand this mix of psychology and economics better than most accountants, therapists, or elected representatives. VERDICT A stellar accomplishment, a book for everyone who likes to think and wants to do it better. [See Prepub Alert, 5/9/11]—E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC
Kirkus Reviews

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as "lazy": We don't want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some ("heuristics," for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429969352
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 3,752
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman is Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Princeton University and a professor of public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He received the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his pioneering work with Amos Tversky on decision-making.

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Read an Excerpt


THINKING, FAST AND SLOW 

 

Introduction

 

Every author, I suppose, has in mind a setting in which readers of his or her work could benefit from having read it. Mine is the proverbial office water-cooler, where opinions are shared and gossip is exchanged. I hope to enrich the vocabulary that people use when they talk about the judgments and choices of others, the company’s new policies, or a colleague’s investment decisions. Why be concerned with gossip? Because it is much easier, as well as far more enjoyable, to identify and label the mistakes of others than to recognize our own. Questioning what we believe and want is difficult at the best of times, and especially difficult when we most need to do it, but we can benefit from the informed opinions of others. Many of us spontaneously anticipate how friends and colleagues will evaluate our choices; the quality and content of these anticipated judgments therefore matters. The expectation of intelligent gossip is a powerful motive for serious self-criticism, more powerful than New Year resolutions to improve one’s decision making at work and at home.

To be a good diagnostician, a physician needs to acquire a large set of labels for diseases, each of which binds an idea of the illness and its symptoms, possible antecedents and causes, possible developments and consequences, and possible interventions to cure or mitigate the illness. Learning medicine consists in part of learning the language of medicine. A deeper understanding of judgments and choices also requires a richer vocabulary than is available in everyday language. The hope for informed gossip is that there are distinctive patterns in the errors people make. Systematic errors are known as biases: they recur predictably in particular circumstances. When the handsome and confident speaker bounds to the stage, for example, you can anticipate that the audience will judge his comments more favorably than he deserves. The availability of a diagnostic label for this bias—the halo effect—makes it easier to anticipate, recognize, and understand.

When you are asked what you are thinking about, you can normally answer. You believe you know what goes on in your mind, which often consists of one conscious thought leading in an orderly way to another. But that is not the only way the mind works, or indeed is that the typical way. Most impressions and thoughts arise in your conscious experience without your knowing how they got there. You cannot trace how you came to the belief that there is a lamp on the desk in front of you, or how you detected a hint of irritation in your spouse’s voice on the telephone, or how you managed to avoid a threat on the road before you became consciously aware of it. The mental work that produces impressions, intuitions, and many decisions goes on in silence in our mind.

Much of the discussion of this book is about biases of intuition. However, the focus on error does not denigrate human intelligence, any more than the attention to diseases in medical texts denies good health. Most of us are healthy most of the time, and most of our judgments and actions are appropriate most of the time. As we navigate our lives, we normally allow ourselves to be guided by impressions and feelings, and the confidence we have in our intuitive beliefs and preferences is usually justified. But not always. We are often confident when we are wrong, and an objective observer is more likely to detect our errors than we are.

So this is my aim for water-cooler conversations: improve the ability to identify and understand errors of judgment and choice, in others and eventually in ourselves, by providing a richer and more precise language to discuss them. In at least some cases, an accurate diagnosis may suggest an intervention to limit the damage that bad judgments and choices often cause.

 

Origins

 

This book presents my current understanding of judgment and decision making, which has been shaped by psychological discoveries of recent decades. However, I trace the central ideas to the lucky day in 1969 when I asked a colleague to speak as a guest to a seminar I was teaching in the Department of Psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Amos Tversky was considered a rising star in the field of decision research—indeed, in anything he did—so I knew we would have an interesting time. Many people who knew Amos thought he was the most intelligent person they had ever met. He was brilliant, voluble, and charismatic. He was also blessed with a perfect memory for jokes and with an exceptional ability to use them to make a point. There was never a dull moment when Amos was around. He was then thirty-two; I was thirty-five.

Amos told the class about an ongoing program of research at the University of Michigan that sought to answer this question: Are people good intuitive statisticians? We already knew that people are good intuitive grammarians: at age four a child effortlessly conforms to the rules of grammar as she speaks, although she has no idea that such rules exist. Do people have a similar intuitive feel for the basic principles of statistics? Amos reported that the answer was a qualified yes. We had a lively debate in the seminar and ultimately concluded that a qualified no was a better answer.

Amos and I enjoyed the exchange and concluded that intuitive statistics was an interesting topic and that it would be fun to explore it together. That Friday we met for lunch at Café Rimon, the favorite hangout of bohemians and professors in Jerusalem, and planned a study of the statistical intuitions of sophisticated researchers. We had concluded in the seminar that our own intuitions were deficient. In spite of years of teaching and using statistics, we had not developed an intuitive sense of the reliability of statistical results observed in small samples. Our subjective judgments were biased: we were far too willing to believe research findings based on inadequate evidence, and prone to collect too few observations in our own research. The goal of our study was to examine whether other researchers suffered from the same affliction.

We prepared a survey that included realistic scenarios of statistical issues that arise in research. Amos collected the responses of a group of expert participants in a meeting of the Society of Mathematical Psychology, including the authors of two statistical textbooks. As expected, we found that our expert colleagues, like us, greatly exaggerated the likelihood that the original result of an experiment would be successfully replicated even with a small sample. They also gave very poor advice to a fictitious graduate student about the number of observations she needed to collect. Even statisticians were not good intuitive statisticians.

While writing the article that reported these findings Amos and I discovered that we enjoyed working together. Amos was always very funny and in his presence I became funny as well, so we could spend hours of solid work in continuous amusement. The pleasure we found in working together made us exceptionally patient; it is much easier to strive for perfection when you are never bored. Perhaps most important, we checked our critical weapons at the door. Both Amos and I were critical and argumentative, he even more than I, but during the years of our collaboration neither of us ever rejected out of hand anything the other had said. Indeed, one of the great joys I found in the collaboration was that Amos frequently saw the point of my vague ideas much more clearly than I did. Amos was the more logical thinker, with an orientation to theory and an unfailing sense of direction. I was more intuitive, and rooted in the psychology of perception, from which we borrowed many ideas. We were sufficiently similar to understand one another other easily, and sufficiently different to surprise each other. We developed a routine in which we spent much of our working days together, often on long walks. For the next fourteen years our collaboration was the focus of our lives, and the work we did together during those years was the best either of us ever did.

We quickly adopted a practice that we maintained for many years. Our research was a conversation, in which we invented questions and jointly examined our intuitive answers. Each question was a small experiment, and we carried out many experiments in a single day. We were not seriously looking for the correct answer to the statistical questions we posed. Our aim was to identify and analyze the intuitive answer, the first one that came to mind, the one we were tempted to make even when we knew it to be wrong. We believed—correctly as it happened—that any intuition that the two of us shared would be shared by other people as well, and that it would be easy to demonstrate its effects on judgments.

We once discovered with great delight that we had identical silly ideas about the future professions of several toddlers we both knew: we could identify the argumentative three-year-old lawyer, the nerdy professor, the empathetic and mildly intrusive psychotherapist. Of course these predictions were absurd, but we still found them appealing. It was also clear that our intuitions were governed by the resemblance of each child to the cultural stereotype of a profession. The amusing exercise helped us develop a theory that was emerging in our minds at the time, about the role of resemblance in predictions. We went on to test and elaborate that theory in dozens of experiments, as in the following example.

As you consider the next question, please assume that Steve was selected at random from a representative sample:

 

An individual has been described by a neighbor as follows: “Steve is very shy and withdrawn, invariably helpful but with little interest in people, or in the world of reality. A meek and tidy soul, he has a need for order and structure, and a passion for detail.” Is Steve more likely to be a librarian or a farmer?

 

The resemblance of Steve’s personality to a stereotypical librarian strikes everyone immediately, but equally relevant statistical considerations are almost always ignored. Did it occur to you that there are more than twenty male farmers for each male librarian in the United States? Because there are so many more farmers, it is almost certain that more “meek and tidy souls” will be found on tractors than at library information counters. However, we found that participants in our experiments ignored the relevant statistical facts and relied exclusively on resemblance. We proposed that they used resemblance as a simplifying heuristic (roughly, a rule of thumb) to make a difficult judgment. The reliance on the heuristic caused predictable biases (systematic errors) in their predictions.

On another occasion, Amos and I wondered about the rate of divorces among professors in our university. We noticed that the question triggered a search of memory for cases of divorced professors we knew or knew about, and that we judged the size of categories by the ease with which instances came to mind. We called this reliance on the ease of memory search the availability heuristic. In one of our studies we asked participants to answer a simple question about words in a typical English text:

 

Consider the letter K.

Is K more likely to appear as the first letter in a word OR as the third letter in a word?

 

As any Scrabble player knows, it is much easier to come up with words that begin with a particular letter than to find words that have the same letter in the third position. This statement is true for every letter of the alphabet. We therefore expected respondents to exaggerate the frequency of letters appearing in the first position—even those letters (such as K, L, N, R, V) which in fact occur more frequently in the third position. Here again, the reliance on a heuristic produces a predictable bias in judgments. For example, I recently came to doubt my long-held impression that adultery is more common among politicians than among physicians or lawyers. I had even come up with explanations for that “fact,” including the aphrodisiac effect of power and the temptations of life away from home. I eventually realized that the transgressions of politicians are much more likely to be reported than the transgressions of lawyers and doctors. My intuitive impression could be due entirely to journalists’ choices of topics and to my reliance on the availability heuristic.

Amos and I spent several years studying and documenting biases of intuitive thinking in various tasks—assigning probabilities to events, forecasting the future, assessing hypotheses, and estimating frequencies. In the fifth year of our collaboration we presented our main findings in Science magazine, a publication read by scholars in many disciplines. The article (which is reproduced in full at the end of this book) was titled “Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases.” It described the simplifying shortcuts of intuitive thinking, and explained some 20 biases as manifestations of these heuristics—and also as demonstrations of the role of heuristics in judgment.

Historians of science have often noted that at any given time scholars in a field of research tend to share basic assumptions about their subject. Social scientists are no exception; they rely on a view of human nature that provides the background of most discussions of specific behaviors, but is rarely questioned. Social scientists in the 1970s broadly accepted two ideas about human nature. First, people are generally rational, and their thinking is normally sound. Second, emotions such as fear, affection, and hatred explain most of the occasions on which people depart from rationality. Our article challenged both assumptions without discussing them directly. We documented systematic errors in the thinking of normal people, and we traced these errors to the design of the machinery of cognition rather than to the corruption of thought by emotion.

Our article attracted much more attention than we had expected, and it remains one of the most highly cited works in social science (more than three hundred scholarly articles referred to it in 2010). Scholars in other disciplines found it useful, and the ideas of heuristics and biases have been used productively in many fields, including medical diagnosis, legal judgment, intelligence analysis, philosophy, finance, statistics, and military strategy.

For example, students of policy have noted that the availability heuristic helps explain why some issues are highly salient in the public’s mind while others are neglected. People tend to assess the relative importance of issues by the ease with which they are retrieved from memory—and this is largely determined by the extent of coverage in the media. Frequently mentioned topics populate the mind even as others slip away from awareness. In turn, what the media choose to report corresponds to their view of what is currently on the public’s mind. It is no accident that authoritarian regimes exert substantial pressure on independent media. Because public interest is most easily aroused by dramatic events and by celebrities, media feeding frenzies are common. For several weeks after Michael Jackson’s death, for example, it was virtually impossible to find a television channel broadcasting on another topic. In contrast, there is little coverage of critical but unexciting issues that provide less drama, such as declining educational standards or overinvestment of medical resources in the last year of life. (As I write this, I notice that my choice of “little-covered” examples was guided by availability. The topics I chose as examples are mentioned quite often; equally important issues that are less available did not come to my mind.)

We did not fully realize it at the time, but a key reason for the broad appeal of “heuristics and biases” outside psychology was an incidental feature of our work: we almost always included in our articles the full text of the questions we had asked ourselves and our respondents. These questions served as demonstrations for the reader, allowing him to recognize how his own thinking was tripped up by cognitive biases. I hope you had such an experience as you read the question about Steve the librarian, which was intended to help you appreciate the power of resemblance as a cue to probability, and to see how easy it is to ignore relevant statistical facts.

The use of demonstrations provided scholars from diverse disciplines—notably philosophers and economists—an unusual opportunity to observe possible flaws in their own thinking. Having seen themselves fail, they became more likely to question the dogmatic assumption, prevalent at the time, that the human mind is rational and logical. The choice of method was crucial: if we had only reported results of conventional experiments, the article would have been less noteworthy and less memorable. Furthermore, skeptical readers would have distanced themselves from the results by attributing judgment errors to the familiar fecklessness of undergraduates, the typical participants in psychological studies. Of course, we did not choose demonstrations over standard experiments because we wanted to influence philosophers and economists. We preferred demonstrations because they were more fun, and were lucky in our choice of method as well as in many other ways. A recurrent theme of this book is that luck plays a large role in every story of success; it is almost always easy to identify a small change in the story that would have turned a remarkable achievement into a mediocre outcome. Our story was no exception.

The reaction to our work was not uniformly positive. In particular, our focus on biases was criticized by numerous authors as suggesting an unfairly negative view of the mind. As expected in normal science, some investigators refined our ideas and others offered plausible alternatives. By and large, though, the idea that our minds are susceptible to systematic errors is now generally accepted. Our research on judgment had far more effect on social science than we thought possible when we were working on it.

Immediately after completing our review of judgment we switched our attention to decision making under uncertainty. Our goal was to develop a psychological theory of how people make decisions about simple gambles. For example: Would you accept a bet on the toss of a coin where you win $130 if the coin shows heads and lose $100 if it shows tails? These elementary choices have long been used to examine broad questions about decision making, such as the relative weight that people assign to sure things and to uncertain outcomes. Our method did not change: we spent many days making up choice problems, and examining whether our intuitive preferences conformed to the logic of choice. Here again, as in judgment, we observed systematic biases in our decisions, intuitive preferences that consistently violated the rules of rational choice. Five years after the Science article, we published “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk,” a theory of choice that is by some counts even more influential than our work on judgment, and is one of the foundations of behavioral economics.

Until geographical separation made it too difficult to go on, Amos and I enjoyed the extraordinary good fortune of a shared mind that was superior to our individual minds and of a relationship that made our work fun as well as productive. Our collaboration on judgment and decision making was the reason for the Nobel Prize that I received in 2002, which Amos would have shared had he not died, aged fifty-nine, in 1996.

 

Where We Are Now

This book is not intended as an exposition of the early research that Amos and I conducted together, a task that has been ably carried out by many authors over the years. My main aim here is to present a view of how the mind works that draws on recent developments in cognitive and social psychology. One of the more important of these developments is that we now understand the marvels as well as the flaws of intuitive thought.

Amos and I did not address accurate intuitions, beyond the casual statement that judgment heuristics “are quite useful, but sometimes lead to severe and systematic errors.” We focused on biases, both because we found them interesting in their own right and because they provided evidence for the heuristics of judgment. We did not ask ourselves whether all intuitive judgments under uncertainty are produced by the heuristics we studied; it is now clear that they are not. In particular, the accurate intuitions of experts are better explained by the effects of prolonged practice than by heuristics. We can now draw a richer and more balanced picture, in which skill and heuristics are alternative sources of intuitive judgments and choices.

The psychologist Gary Klein tells the story of a team of firefighters that entered a house in which the kitchen was on fire. Soon after the men started hosing down the kitchen, the commander heard himself shout, “Let’s get out of here!” without realizing why. The floor collapsed almost immediately after the firefighters escaped. Only after the fact did the commander realize that the fire had been unusually quiet and that his ears had been unusually hot. Together, these impressions prompted what he called a “sixth sense of danger.” He had no idea what was wrong, but he knew something was wrong. It turned out that the heart of the fire had not been in the kitchen, but in the basement beneath where the men had stood.

We have all heard such stories of expert intuition: the chess master who walks past a street game and announces “White mates in three” without stopping, or the physician who makes a complex diagnosis after a single glance at a patient. Expert intuition strikes us as magical, but it is not. Indeed, each of us performs feats of intuitive expertise many times each day. Most of us are pitch-perfect in detecting anger in the first word of a telephone call, recognize as we enter a room that we were the subject of the conversation, and quickly react to subtle signs that the driver of the car in the next lane is dangerous. Our everyday intuitive abilities are no less marvelous than the striking insights of an experienced firefighter or physician—only more common.  

The psychology of accurate intuition involves no magic. Perhaps the best short statement of it is due to the great Herbert Simon, who studied chess masters and showed that after thousands of hours of practice they come to see the pieces on the board differently from the rest of us. You can feel Simon’s impatience with the mythologizing of expert intuition when he writes: “The situation has provided a cue: this cue has given the expert access to information stored in memory, and the information provides the answer. Intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition.”

We are not surprised when a two-year-old looks at an animal and correctly says “doggie!” because we are used to the miracle of children learning to recognize and name things. Simon’s point is that the miracles of expert intuition have the same character. Valid intuitions develop when experts have learned to recognize familiar elements in a new situation and to act in a manner that is appropriate to it. Good intuitive judgments come to mind with the same immediacy as “doggie!”

Unfortunately, professionals’ intuitions do not all arise from true expertise. Many years ago I visited the chief investment officer of a large financial firm, who told me that he had just invested some tens of millions of dollars in the stock of Ford Motor Company. When asked how he had made that decision, he replied that he had recently attended an automobile show and had been impressed. “Boy, do they know how to make a car!” was his explanation. He made it very clear that he trusted his gut feeling and was satisfied with himself and with his decision. I found it remarkable that he had apparently not considered the one question that an economist would call relevant: Is Ford stock currently underpriced? Instead, he had listened to his intuition; he liked the cars, he liked the company, and he liked the idea of owning its stock. From what we know about the accuracy of stock picking, it is reasonable to believe that he did not know what he was doing.

The specific heuristics that Amos and I studied provide little help in understanding how the executive came to invest in Ford stock, but a broader conception of heuristics now exists, which offers a good account. An important advance is that emotion now looms much larger in our understanding of intuitive judgments and choices than it did in the past. The executive’s decision would today be described as an example of the affect heuristic, where judgments and decisions are guided directly by feelings of liking and disliking, with little deliberation or reasoning.

When confronted with a problem—choosing a chess move or deciding whether to invest in a stock—the machinery of intuitive thought does the best it can. If the individual has relevant expertise, she will recognize the situation, and the intuitive solution that comes to her mind is likely to be correct. This is what happens when a chess master looks at a complex position: the few moves that immediately occur to him are all strong. When the question is difficult and a skilled solution is not available, intuition still has a shot: an answer may come to mind quickly—but it is not an answer to the original question. The question that the executive faced (should I invest in Ford stock?) was difficult, but the answer to an easier and related question (do I like Ford cars?) came readily to his mind and determined his choice. This is the essence of intuitive heuristics: when faced with a difficult question we quite often answer an easier one instead, usually without noticing the substitution.

The spontaneous search for an intuitive solution sometimes fails—neither an expert solution nor a heuristic answer comes to mind. In such cases we often find ourselves switching to a slower, more deliberate and effortful form of thinking. This is the slow thinking of the title. Fast thinking includes both variants of intuitive thought —the expert and the heuristic—as well as the entirely automatic mental activities of perception and memory, the operations that enable you to know there is a lamp on your desk, or retrieve the name of the capital of Russia.

The distinction between fast and slow thinking has been explored by many psychologists over the last twenty-five years. For reasons that I explain more fully in the next chapter, I will describe mental life by the metaphor of two agents, called System 1 and System 2, which respectively produce fast and slow thinking. I speak of the features of intuitive and deliberate thought as if they were traits and dispositions of two characters in your mind. In the picture that emerges from recent research, the intuitive System1 is more influential than your experience tells you, and it is the secret author of many of the choices and judgments that you make. Most of this book is about the workings of System 1 and the mutual influences between it and System 2.

 

What Comes Next

 

The book is divided into five parts. Part 1 presents the basic elements of a two-systems approach to judgment and choice. It elaborates the distinction between the automatic operations of System 1 and the controlled operations of System 2 and shows how associative memory, the core of System 1, continually constructs a coherent interpretation of what is going on in our world at any instant. I attempt to give a sense of the complexity and richness of the automatic and often unconscious processes that underlie intuitive thinking, and of how these automatic processes explain the heuristics of judgment. A goal is to introduce a language for thinking and talking about the mind.

Part 2 updates the study of judgment heuristics and explores a major puzzle: Why is it so difficult for us to think statistically? We easily think associatively, we think metaphorically, we think causally, but statistics requires thinking about many things at once, which is something that System 1 is not designed to do.

The difficulties of statistical thinking contribute to the main theme of Part 3, which describes 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 the uncertainty of the world we live in. We are prone to overestimate how much we understand about the world and to underestimate the role of chance in events. Overconfidence is fed by the illusory certainty of hindsight. My views on this topic have been influenced by Nassim Taleb, the author of The Black Swan. I hope for watercooler conversations that intelligently explore the lessons that can be learned from the past, while resisting the lure of hindsight and the illusion of certainty.

The focus of Part 4 is a conversation with the discipline of economics on the nature of decision making and on the realism of the assumption that economic agents are rational. This section of the book provides a current view, informed by the two-system model, of the key concepts of prospect theory, the model of choice that Amos and I published in 1979. Subsequent chapters address several ways human choices deviate from the rules of rationality. I deal with the unfortunate tendency to treat decision problems in isolation, and with framing effects, where decisions are shaped by inconsequential features of choice problems. These observations, which are readily explained by the features of System 1, present a deep challenge to the rationality assumption favored in standard economics.

Part 5 describes recent research that has introduced a distinction between two selves, the experiencing self and the remembering self, which do not have the same interests. For example, we can expose people to two painful experiences. One of these experiences is strictly worse than the other, because it is longer. But the automatic formation of memories—a feature of System 1—has its rules, which we can exploit so that the worse episode leaves a better memory. When people later choose which episode to repeat, they are, naturally, guided by their remembering self and expose themselves (their experiencing self) to unnecessary pain. The distinction between two selves is applied to the measurement of well-being, where we find again that what makes the experiencing self happy is not quite the same as what satisfies the remembering self. How two selves within a single body can pursue happiness raises some difficult questions, both for individuals and for societies that view the well-being of the population as a policy objective.

A concluding chapter explores, in reverse order, the implications of three distinctions drawn in the book: between the experiencing and remembering selves, between the conception of agent in classical economics and in behavioral economics (which borrows from psychology), and between the automatic System 1 and the effortful System 2. I return to the virtues of educating gossip and to what organizations might do to improve the quality of judgments and decisions that are made on their behalf.

Two articles I wrote with Amos are reproduced as appendixes to the book. The first is the review of judgment under uncertainty that I described earlier. The second, published in 1984, summarizes prospect theory as well as our studies of framing effects. The articles present the contributions that were cited by the Nobel committee—and you may be surprised by how simple they are. Reading them will give you a sense of how much we knew a long time ago, and also of how much we have learned in recent decades.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

Part I Two Systems

1 The Characters of the Story 19

2 Attention and Effort 31

3 The Lazy Controller 39

4 The Associative Machine 50

5 Cognitive Ease 59

6 Norms, Surprises, and Causes 71

7 A Machine for Jumping to Conclusions 79

8 How Judgments Happen 89

9 Answering an Easier Question 97

Part II Heuristics and Biases

10 The Law of Small Numbers 109

11 Anchors 119

12 The Science of Availability 129

13 Availability, Emotion, and Risk 137

14 Tom W's Specialty 146

15 Linda: Less is More 156

16 Causes Trump Statistics 166

17 Regression to the Mean 175

18 Taming Intuitive Predictions 185

Part III Overconfidence

19 The Illusion of Understanding 199

20 The Illusion of Validity 209

21 Intuitions vs. Formulas 222

22 Expert intuition: when can we trust it? 234

23 The Outside View 245

24 The Engine of Capitalism 255

Part IV Choices

25 Bernoulli's Errors 269

26 Prospect Theory 278

27 The Endowment Effect 289

28 Bad Events 300

29 The Fourfold Pattern 310

30 Rare Events 320

31 Risk Policies 334

32 Keeping Score 342

33 Reversals 353

34 Frames and Reality 363

Part V Two Selves

35 Two Selves 377

36 Life as a Story 386

37 Experienced Well-Being 391

38 Thinking about Life 398

Conclusions 408

Appendix A Judgment Under Uncertainty 419

Appendix B Choices, Values, and Frames 433

Notes 449

Acknowledgments 483

Index 485

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 142 Customer Reviews
  • 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!

    28 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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 150 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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.

    15 out of 16 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.

    11 out of 42 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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