Thinking, Fast and Slow

For a few months at the end of last year, it was near impossible to walk by a book store without noticing a prominently placed copy of Thinking, Fast and Slow, and in short order curiosity got the better of me and I sat down to read this book.  Written by Daniel Kahneman, the winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics, this is no fluffy Malcolm Gladwell book, but is instead a deep and wonderful book that reveals many remarkable insights into the human mind.

The book is roughly divided into three parts.  The first, on “Two Systems” reveals the distinctions between System 1 (Fast and multi-tasking) and System 2 (Slow and single-tasking) thinking, and the phenomena that can be explained by these two systems.  The second, on “Two Species” discusses the differences between Homo Econs (the perfectly rational human assumed by standard economic theory) and Homo Humans (real humans), and the third part is a discussion of “Two Selves”: the experiencing self that experiences events as they unfold and the remembering self that actually makes our choices.  Each of these sections is well supported by experimental studies, as well as small experiments performed on the reader as he/she reads the book that take the points made from abstract to experiential.

Although I’m not sure that I can agree with the blurb about the book being in the same league as The Wealth of Nations or The Interpretation of Dreams, this is a fantastic book that should be read by anyone interested in economics, psychology, or understanding the workings of themselves and the people around them.

Verdict: 5/5

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