Thinking, Fast and Slow Book Summary

In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical.

We generally make decisions quickly with the System 1, often because System 2 is simply–lazy. It takes effort to think things out rationally, and our rational minds are not always up to the job.

This book is a long, comprehensive explanation of why we make decisions the way we do.

Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.

One of the most interesting aspects of the ways we think, is the concept ofavailability. Often, when subjected to a difficult question, we answer immediately. But really, we do not answer the question at hand–we have made a subtle switch to a simpler question, without even realizing it. Kahneman describes this quick switch to an available answer, in quite a bit of detail. Another interesting aspect is what he calls “hedonic” theory. Our memories of pleasant and unpleasant experiences are very much colored by their peak intensities and their ends–but definitely not by their durations. In other words, a short, very unpleasant experience is remembered as being much worse than an very long duration, unpleasant experience.

He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Thinking, Fast and Slow will transform the way you think about thinking.

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