Thinking, Fast and Slow By Daniel Kahneman

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Thinking, Fast and Slow By Daniel Kahneman

This is an invaluable book that every person who considers him/herself educated should read – even study. Indeed, it is a scandal that mastering the material in this book isn’t considered an essential component of a high school education.

The author was awarded the Nobel in Economics for his work on what he calls decision theory, or the study of the actual workings of the typical human mind in the evaluation of choices, and the book itself presents the findings of many decades of psychological studies that expose the endemic fallacious thinking that we are all prone to, more or less. The lives of all of us could be improved by lessons learned from this book, not just individually, through self-education, but also on the large scale, if the large scale decision makers in this society in and out of government could be educated as well. In fact, it is largely because these large scale decision makers are no better than the rest of us in their ability to think straight and plan well, that society is as screwed up as it is, and that essentially all of its institutions are diseased and corrupt. The lesson there, however, is that decision making needs to be returned to the individual – that the powers that be need to be deprived of their powers to mess up the lives of the rest of us.

Despite the many virtues of this book – it is well-written, engaging, and its academic author reasonably restrained in the tendencies of his tribe to blathering in abstractions – it is a bit disappointing at the very end, when the author proves unable to synthesize all his material into a comprehensive theory of the thinking, and deciding mind – or at least into a set of carefully formulated principles that provide a succinct summary of the principles of human thinking, both typical and ideal.

Kahneman uses throughout a construct that implies that we are of two minds: System 1 is the fast-thinking, intuitive, mind, prone to jumping to conclusions; while System 2 is the slow-thinking analytical mind, that is brought into play, if at all, only to critique and validate the conclusions that we have jumped to. System 2, we are told, is lazy, and if often just rubber-stamps the snap judgements of System 1, or if pressed, rationalize them, instead of digging critically as well as constructively into the complex underpinnings of the material and sorting them out as best it can.

✅ Genre: Self-help Book.

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✅ Matt cover (Paperback).


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