THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

This book is not for the faint of heart.

It was incredibly fascinating but it took me forever to get through. It’s a huge book and more like a text book with the amount of information and writing style.

The experiments and research that Kahneman uses show you how incredible the human mind can be.

The main idea is that the brain forms two different thoughts:

System 1: Fast, automatic, frequent

System 2: Slow, logical, calculating

It’s an interesting debate about the reasoning behind how we make decisions. Kahneman uses multiple experiments to show you how each system arrives at a different results even with the same inputs.

One of my favorite experiments was when they showed a group of volunteers three words that were linked in some way unbeknownst to them. Like flower, worm, water for example (garden).

They told them their was two parts to the experiment, seeing the three words was the first part and the second part was on the other side of the hallway. After seeing the words, they would walk down the hallway but the real test was the speed at which they walked. It was proven that showing words associated with “old”, such as wrinkles, grey hair and bad driving would actually make them walk slower compared to a control group. That’s System 1 at work. What you see is all there is (WYSIATI).

Another piece that struck a chord with me was the Anchoring Effect. Maybe it’s because of the business I’m in but this is an important concept to understand. The idea is that most people when asked if Ghandi was more than 110 years old when he died, will provide a much larger estimate than others who were asked whether Ghandi was more or less 38 years old. It shows that our behaviour is influenced, much more than we know.

Cool book if you can survive that slog. I read one chapter per day which seemed to work for me.

Here are a few other favorite quotes:

“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is when your thinking about it.”

“During the last ten years we have learned many new facts about happiness. But we have also learned that the word happiness does not have a simple meaning and should not be used as if it does.”

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