Thinking Fast and Slow: About Human Irrationality and Overconfidence bias

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Why should you read Thinking Fast and Slow? Because you are a psychologist. Or because you are not. Because you are so intrigued by the irrational of the rational human being’s minds. Or, because you just think that you already know everything about it.

Find below the summary of book and a selection of most relevant nuggets (visual quotes from books).


HUMAN IRRATIONALITY THINKING FAST AND SLOW

'Nobody, not even experts, can escape from this trap.' Daniel Kahneman Click To Tweet


Curious, judgmental, ignorant, analyst, apathetic. Thinking Fast and Slow will grab your attention, starting with very the first page.

And that’s because Thinking Fast and Slow is not the kind of book you lose it on a shelf among the others. The information will grab you by the collar until you realize you’re already in the midst of debates about the human mind.

But, let’s start with the beginning.

Who is Daniel Kahneman? If you don’t already know the answer to this question, allow me to give you some information about him. The renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. New York Times bestseller’s author.

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And if that’s not enough, let’s take a look around and see how Thinking Fast and Slow was rated. It was selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, and one of The Wall Street Journal‘s Best Nonfiction Books.

To be honest, first I’ve read Thinking Fast and Slow, and then I’ve checked the references. The greatest part was that, once I’ve started reading it, I’ve lost the track of time. And that’s a very good thing. This is what I call a good reading.

At the core of “Thinking Fast and Slow” I found a great theme: human irrationality. Around this theme you’ll find designed plenty of intriguing key-concepts like overconfidence, cognitive biases or peak-end rule.

What especially caught my attention was the analysis done on overconfidence. The main message regarding it is: nobody, not even experts, can escape from this trap. We are all prone to an exaggerated sense of how well we understand the world.

Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it. 

Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it.

While reading “Thinking Fast and Slow” you will be carried on three levels:

  1. “Cognitive biases” — meaning that unconscious errors of reasoning tend to distort our judgment of the world. This theory is revealed by the “anchoring effect” which describes our tendency to be influenced by irrelevant numbers that we happen to be exposed to.
  2. Decision making – do people “maximize utility”? Under uncertain conditions people tend to behave differently than the way economic models have traditionally assumed; So, in this context, you’ll deal with a new concept: “prospect theory.”
  3. “Hedonic psychology”: the science of happiness, its nature and its causes.

Right from the start the title will intrigue you. Voluntarily or not, I bet that you are looking for information regarding: what this “fast, slow thinking” is all about?

Two characters – System 1 and System 2.  Two different stories, one single mind. Who will be the hero?  “The fast one” seems to be the simple answer. But the mind adventure is more complex.

So, let’s take a look much closer to these systems and see how these drive the way we think:

  • Who is System 1? The fast, intuitive, and emotional one. This one is evidently affected by the mood. Good mood, intuition, creativity, are working together in a cluster. On the other hand, sadness, vigilance, suspicion, an analytic approach, and an increased effort, are also going together. So, how does it work? “When in a good mood, people become more intuitive and more creative but also less vigilant and more prone to logical errors”;
  • Who is System 2? The slower system seems to be more deliberative, and more logical. It acts more as an analytical engine. “The extent of deliberate checking and search is a characteristic of System 2, which varies among individuals.”

Are you still confused about this systems’ game? You may also check “Linda’s problem experiment”. You’ll find here these controversial systems well explained in a very practical context.

I give you only a small clue regarding what this experiment is all about: a simple question is just a substitute for a complex one. Starting from this point, you’ll soon find yourself involved in an interesting debate.

'Odd as it may seem, I am my remembering self.' Daniel Kahneman Click To Tweet

Odd as it may seem, I am my remembering self, and the experiencing self, who does my living, is like a stranger to me.

This was the premise for the harrowing colonoscopies’ experiments.

Reading about it, your pupils will maybe significantly increase and you will feel a strange pain in your stomach. (Don’t worry. You can call this empathy. It usually happens to any human being).

After you finished reading about these, take a deep breath. And try to see the message behind the text. I’m sure that you realize now the metaphor of this example and how it is related to life.

While you’ll scroll through chapters, question after question will parade through your mind:

  • Can we trust our intuitions?
  • Can we tap into the benefits of slow thinking?
  • How do we make choices both in business and personal lives?

And the answers will come one by one.

While you’ll reading “Thinking Fast and Slow”, I’m sure that you’ll agree and disagree from time to time with Kahneman.  And I bet you’ll feel the need to express this as loud as you can.

Take your time, check the nuggets and spend some moments to think on this argumentation about human mind.

Soon you’ll wake up seeing the world and seeing yourself from a different perspective.


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Get Daniel Kahneman's Zero to One from AmazonDaniel Kahneman's Zero to One from Audible


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