Time to slow down and analyze how we decide: Thinking, Fast and Slow

15 Apr

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Can you understand the modern world you live in without having any idea about the following terms and the concepts they convey: ‘inflation’, ‘unemployment’, ‘advertisement’, ‘capitalism’, ‘liberalism’, ‘democracy’, ‘civil rights’, ‘energy’? In order to think about some field, to understand some aspects of our daily lives, and to communicate about them to the others, we need the terms describing them. Just like the terms given in the first sentence of this paragraph, the terms that became a part of our daily communication, we need terms and concepts to understand how our mind works in the modern world and what kind of pitfalls we face while we’re trying make thousands of decisions and form ideas every day.

So it is time that we learn about ‘anchoring effects’, ‘narrow framing’, ‘excessive coherence’, ‘endowment effect’, ‘planning fallacy’, ‘the illusion of validity’, and many other aspects of decision making and thinking, so that we can understand the processes we encounter every day much better.

You’ll have a difficult time after reading “Thinking, Fast and Slow“, because it will probably make you think slowly and question many of the decisions you made in the past, and the ones you are to make in the future. As a Nobel laureate in economics and one of the most cited psychologists / cognitive scientists of all times, Daniel Kahneman hardly needs an introduction. If you have ever read a book or an article about decision making, behavioral economics or cognitive psychology in the last 15-20 years, you have either read something inspired by his studies, or a criticism of him.

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” takes the reader on a very gentle tour during which he or she will see the pitfalls of inner workings of the mind. Kahneman’s text is very fluent, one might even say a ‘page turner’, and without diving into deep and obscure details of academic journals, it gives a very good overview of one of the most important and radical research programs of the 20. century. For the curious and skeptic readers, the book contains many references to the original articles, books and discussions. But the power of the narrative comes from the crystal clear explanation of many interesting, yet very simple experiments. Unless you are already well versed in the field, you are going to come up with very fast and intuitive answers to many of the described questions in the book and you will probably be baffled as the author will go on to dissect the reasoning of yours, which even you were not aware of.

I am personally thankful Daniel Kahnemann for having given me the necessary tools to analyze the decision making processes of mine and others. His book will be definitely one of the references that I’ll keep on referring to and I have already started to create a list of articles and books he gave in the detailed ‘Notes’ section at the end of the book.

PS: I’m also personally thankful to my beloved one who gave this book to me as a birthday present on my 36th birthday, not only because of the contents of the book, but also because having made her selection without consulting my Amazon wishlist 😉

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Posted by on April 15, 2012 in CogSci, psychology


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