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Thinking, Fast and Slow [Paperback]

Daniel Kahneman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (377 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 May 2012

The New York Times Bestseller, acclaimed by author such as Freakonomics co-author Steven D. Levitt, Black Swan author Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Nudge co-author Richard Thaler, Thinking Fast and Slow offers a whole new look at the way our minds work, and how we make decisions.

Why is there more chance we'll believe something if it's in a bold type face?

Why are judges more likely to deny parole before lunch?

Why do we assume a good-looking person will be more competent?

The answer lies in the two ways we make choices: fast, intuitive thinking, and slow, rational thinking. This book reveals how our minds are tripped up by error and prejudice (even when we think we are being logical), and gives you practical techniques for slower, smarter thinking. It will enable to you make better decisions at work, at home, and in everything you do.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (10 May 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0141033576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141033570
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (377 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

There have been many good books on human rationality and irrationality, but only one masterpiece. That masterpiece is Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow.Kahneman, a winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, distils a lifetime of research into an encyclopedic coverage of both the surprising miracles and the equally surprising mistakes of our conscious and unconscious thinking. He achieves an even greater miracle by weaving his insights into an engaging narrative that is compulsively readable from beginning to end. My main problem in doing this review was preventing family members and friends from stealing my copy of the book to read it for themselves...this is one of the greatest and most engaging collections of insights into the human mind I have read (William Easterly Financial Times)

Absorbing, intriguing...By making us aware of our minds' tricks, Kahneman hopes to inspire individuals and organisations to identify strategies to outwit them (Jenni Russell Sunday Times)

Profound . . . As Copernicus removed the Earth from the centre of the universe and Darwin knocked humans off their biological perch, Mr. Kahneman has shown that we are not the paragons of reason we assume ourselves to be (The Economist)

[Thinking, Fast and Slow] is wonderful, of course. To anyone with the slightest interest in the workings of his own mind, it is so rich and fascinating that any summary would seem absurd (Michael Lewis Vanity Fair)

It is an astonishingly rich book: lucid, profound, full of intellectual surprises and self-help value. It is consistently entertaining and frequently touching, especially when Kahneman is recounting his collaboration with Tversky . . . So impressive is its vision of flawed human reason that the New York Times columnist David Brooks recently declared that Kahneman and Tversky's work 'will be remembered hundreds of years from now,' and that it is 'a crucial pivot point in the way we see ourselves.' They are, Brooks said, 'like the Lewis and Clark of the mind' . . . By the time I got to the end of Thinking, Fast and Slow, my skeptical frown had long since given way to a grin of intellectual satisfaction. Appraising the book by the peak-end rule, I overconfidently urge everyone to buy and read it. But for those who are merely interested in Kahenman's takeaway on the Malcolm Gladwell question it is this: If you've had 10,000 hours of training in a predictable, rapid-feedback environment-chess, firefighting, anesthesiology-then blink. In all other cases, think (The New York Times Book Review)

[Kahneman's] disarmingly simple experiments have profoundly changed the way that we think about thinking . . . We like to see ourselves as a Promethean species, uniquely endowed with the gift of reason. But Mr. Kahneman's simple experiments reveal a very different mind, stuffed full of habits that, in most situations, lead us astray (Jonah Lehrer The Wall Street Journal)

This is a landmark book in social thought, in the same league as The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith and The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud (Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of 'The Black Swan')

Daniel Kahneman is among the most influential psychologists in history and certainly the most important psychologist alive today...The appearance of Thinking, Fast and Slow is a major event (Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct)

Daniel Kahneman is one of the most original and interesting thinkers of our time. There may be no other person on the planet who better understands how and why we make the choices we make. In this absolutely amazing book, he shares a lifetime's worth of wisdom presented in a manner that is simple and engaging, but nonetheless stunningly profound. This book is a must read for anyone with a curious mind (Steven D. Levitt, co-author of 'Freakonomics')

This book is a tour de force by an intellectual giant; it is readable, wise, and deep. Buy it fast. Read it slowly and repeatedly. It will change the way you think, on the job, about the world, and in your own life (Richard Thaler, co-author of 'Nudge')

[A] tour de force of psychological insight, research explication and compelling narrative that brings together in one volume the high points of Mr. Kahneman's notable contributions, over five decades, to the study of human judgment, decision-making and choice . . . Thanks to the elegance and force of his ideas, and the robustness of the evidence he offers for them, he has helped us to a new understanding of our divided minds-and our whole selves (Christoper F. Chabris The Wall Street Journal)

Thinking, Fast and Slow is a masterpiece - a brilliant and engaging intellectual saga by one of the greatest psychologists and deepest thinkers of our time. Kahneman should be parking a Pulitzer next to his Nobel Prize (Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, author of 'Stumbling on Happiness', host of the award-winning PBS television series 'This Emotional Life')

A major intellectual event . . . The work of Kahneman and Tversky was a crucial pivot point in the way we see ourselves (David Brooks The New York Times)

Kahneman provides a detailed, yet accessible, description of the psychological mechanisms involved in making decisions (Jacek Debiec Nature)

This book is one of the few that must be counted as mandatory reading for anyone interested in the Internet, even though it doesn't claim to be about that. Before computer networking got cheap and ubiquitous, the sheer inefficiency of communication dampened the effects of the quirks of human psychology on macro scale events. No more. We must now confront how we really are in order to make sense of our world and not screw it up. Daniel Kahneman has discovered a path to make it possible (Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not a Gadget)

For anyone interested in economics, cognitive science, psychology, and, in short, human behavior, this is the book of the year. Before Malcolm Gladwell and Freakonomics, there was Daniel Kahneman who invented the field of behavior economics, won a Nobel...and now explains how we think and make choices. Here's an easy choice: read this (The Daily Beast)

I will never think about thinking quite the same. [Thinking, Fast and Slow] is a monumental achievement (Roger Lowenstein Bloomberg/Businessweek)

A terrific unpicking of human rationality and irrationality - could hardly have been published at a better moment. Kahnemann is the godfather of behavioural economics, and this distillation of a lifetime's thinking about why we make bad decisions - about everything from money to love - is full of brilliant anecdote and wisdom. It is Kahnemann's belief that anyone who thinks they know exactly what is going on hasn't understood the question; as such it's the perfect gift for opinionated family members everywhere. (Tim Adams Observer Books of the Year)

The book I most want to be given is Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. I'm a speedy thinker myself, so am hoping to be endorsed in that practice. (Sally Vickers Observer Books of the Year)

In this comprehensive presentation of a life's work, the world's most influential psychologist demonstrates that irrationality is in our bones, and we are not necessarily the worse for it (10 Best Books of 2011 New York Times)

Selected by the New York Times as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2011 (New York Times)

About the Author

Daniel Kahneman is a Senior Scholar at Princeton University, and Emeritus Professor of Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
111 of 116 people found the following review helpful
By hfffoman TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book summarises the latest psychological research on human judgement, in particular how we think irrationally, jump to conclusions and fall prey to failures of intuition.

To give you a feel, here is an example from chapter 17. Have a look at this statement and see if you can guess why it might be true:

"Highly intelligent women tend to marry men who are less intelligent than they are"

Did you find a nice explanation? The book will show you why no explanation is necessary. It is a statistical necessity. It will also explain why it is very difficult to avoid believing spurious explanations and how pervasive and dangerous they can be.

That is just one tiny example. The book is absolutely packed with fascinating and thought provoking discussion of a wide range of similar topics. It is almost a must-read for anyone interested in human judgement or broader questions about how the mind works and one of very few books I keep on a special shelf for reading again.

There were a few things that niggled with me. I will mention these but please don't be put off. Even with the niggles it is an intelligent and valuable book.

The writing is clear and easy to understand. However it is a bit repetitive. After I got a feel for where the repetition was coming I often found myself skipping or skimming half a paragraph. Comparing this with Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, a book covering similar ground, Ariely's book gets its points across in a much punchier way and presents a similar amount of material in (I guess) half as many words.

The author gives other researchers credit where it is due but when talking about his own work I feel he overdoes his self-publicity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By joc66 TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book by Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman is the product of a lifetime's work examining the intricacies of the operations of the human brain. Two different types of thinking are identified early on - system one or fast thinking, which accounts for intuitions, gut reactions etc and system two, or slow thinking, the more considered, rational side of our thought processes. Having explained what these two systems are, Kahneman explains the relationship between them and how they can interact with one another, and also how over-reliance on either one or the other can actually lead to us making mistakes in our judgements.
The writing style is fairly easy to read if a bit wordy in places. I like the way that chapters often begin with little thought experiments or conundrums to illustrate a point, and I also like the collection of "soundbites" at the end of each chapter which remind you of the points made in the chapter. At times, I felt that Kahneman spent a bit too long describing psychological experiments. I know that this was done to explain/illustrate the points being made, but at times it felt like the reader was being given a more detailed explanation than was necessary.
Overall, if you enjoy books by renowned experts in their field but written for a wider audience, then you are very likely to enjoy this. It definitely has the feel of a classic about it, and having read it, you will probably feel a little bit less certain about your convictions and have rather more self-knowledge than you did before you started, which is probably no bad thing, Definitely a recommended read - for slow considered reading rather than a page-turner - this isn't lightweight stuff but enjoyable and thought-provoking.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking : brilliantly explained 3 July 2012
Format:Paperback
This is an extraordinary book. When you are recommended a book written by a nobel prize winner your heart either soars with expectation or sinks with anticipated disappointment. The book doesn't disappoint in the
depth of the content - but the lucidity of the exposition is a joy to read. Kanneman uses the metaphor of two systems in one brain to explain the difference between humans and the kind of people economists use as models of people and also the difference between the person in the moment - experiencing self - and the person who looks back on an experience - the remembering self. The book is utterly captivating but moreover is utterly convincing. This is probably the best behavioural economics/psychology book I have read and there are some very good ones about. If you only end up reading one economics book in your life then this is surely it.
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331 of 366 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thinking Well, Thinking Poorly 9 Feb 2012
By M. D. Holley TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
You are at the cinema watching the latest film. Fifteen minutes before the end, the projector explodes and the screening is terminated prematurely. You feel that the experience was ruined. However, Daniel Kahneman knows better - he asserts that you are mistaken! Your own mind has deceived you. A combination of `duration neglect' and the `peak end rule' is responsible. You have difficulties distinguishing your memories from your experiences. He claims you found the experience blissful (despite having missed the end), no matter what you believe.

This is an example of one of the rather silly assertions which can be found towards the end of this 418 page book. There are quite a few equally foolish theories throughout the last 200 pages.

This is a book of two halves. The first half is absolutely inspirational. The writing style here is excellent. In order to illustrate his points, the author provides many exercises for the reader to perform. In doing these you conduct little experiments on your own brain, which will astonish you time and again by the obvious errors and self deceptions it keeps making. By page 200 I was feeling this was one of the very best books I have ever read. The material shows beyond doubt that the mind of the human is full of flaws, biases and delusions.

And then comes the second half. The writing becomes more turgid, the little exercises stop coming, and the lessons become more and more flaky, culminating in the example I give at the beginning. What went wrong?

Mr Kahneman points out that the human brain is biased towards finding coherence where there is none, and that we are susceptible to a frightening level of overconfidence. No where is this better illustrated than in the second half of his own book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Which is better: thinking things through or acting on instinct?
This is just the most amazingly informative, interesting book which has the added bonus of being really easy to read. It's fantastic - everyone should read this. Read more
Published 16 hours ago by SH
4.0 out of 5 stars It all makes sense with hindsight
Daniel Kahneman is a behavioural economist. He’s spent decades studying the effects of social, cognitive and emotional factors on the decisions we make – economic and otherwise. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Alan Barker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
not difficult to read, I was worried I would not understand. really interesting and clearly written.
Published 8 days ago by SRT
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A thoughtful book.
Published 12 days ago by dan cahill
5.0 out of 5 stars Really insightful
Amazing and thought provoking book that covers a wide range of aspects of life to a great detail. It becomes obvious why this is a bestseller from the start and theres some key... Read more
Published 18 days ago by stephenpperry
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
NO PROBLEMS
Published 19 days ago by MANUEL GLEZ CHAVEZ FUND INV.TRAT.ESQUIZOFRE
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend!
Product as expected. Prompt delivery. Highly recommend!
Published 21 days ago by M Eirwen Benjamin
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Only trouble I had was not being intelligent enough to grasp all of his theories entirely!
Published 27 days ago by BEBBINGTON
2.0 out of 5 stars I found this book quite laborious to read. And ...
I found this book quite laborious to read.

And on top of that just not practical enough.

I didn't really benefit from it.
Published 29 days ago by Keep life simple
5.0 out of 5 stars superb
excellent book, easy to read, very well written, highly recommended
Published 29 days ago by a r taranath
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