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Thinking, Fast and Slow [Hardcover]

Daniel Kahneman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (322 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Nov 2011

Daniel Kahneman, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work in psychology challenging the rational model of judgment and decision making, is one of the world's most important thinkers. His ideas have had a profound impact on many fields-including business, medicine, and politics-but until now, he has never brought together his many years of research in one book.

In 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 and make choices. One system is fast, intuitive, and emotional; the other is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. 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 behaviour. The importance of properly framing risks, the effects of cognitive biases on how we view others, the dangers of prediction, the right ways to develop skills, the pros and cons of fear and optimism, the difference between our experience and memory of events, the real components of happiness-each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.

Drawing on a lifetime's experimental experience, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our professional 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 take decisions and experience the world.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (3 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846140552
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846140556
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.6 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (322 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,886 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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
86 of 89 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.

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. I have read plenty of books by acclaimed scientists and they don't boast about how good their work as much as Kahneman does.
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310 of 343 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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181 of 201 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick thinking 12 Nov 2011
By Hande Z
Format:Hardcover
Daniel Kahneman has produced an excellent book. He continues to build and expand on the famous paper he and Amos Tversky published in 1974 ("Judging Under Uncertainty", a copy of which is usefully appended to this book) and has since spawned innumerable books on the theme (eg Wray Herbert's "On Second Thought"), and even related themes like Nassim Taleb's "Black Swan". "Thinking Fast and Slow" is not a textbook; it is intended for the layman who wants to have a clear and deep understanding of man's cognitive functions. Most of Kahneman's studies will amaze readers not familiar with this subject. For example, when tested, it is still remarkable that the clinical judgments of trained professionals are less accurate than statistical predictions based on a few scores or ratings. Hence counsellors who interviewed students were less accurate in their predictions on the students' performance than statistical predictions using only a few denominators such as High School grades and aptitude test results. The reason Kahneman, a psychologist, was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics was that his (and Tversky's) thesis was applied by economists to understand why economic and financial predictions so often go wildly wrong when they were (or so it was believed) so carefully and rationally made.

This review also hopes to point readers to a book I read as a student in 1967. It's called "Straight and Crooked Thinking" by R H Thouless. That book has so many similar points and Thouless was a teaching psychologist from Cambridge University in the UK. Although Thouless' book concerns flaws in the use of language and logic in thinking, it also discusses the effect of hidden bias and prejudice. Straight and Crooked Thinking has just been published in the 5th edition by R H Thouless' grandson, C R Thouless. The first was published in 1930. Kahneman's book will likely be as long lived.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary reading
This book is worth reading if you have any interest in how we (including you!) think, and how the world works (or doesn't as the case may be). Fascinating and readable.
Published 1 day ago by Rosalie Theresa McGurk
5.0 out of 5 stars insight how the human mind works - in its strange way
it is a book that leaves something into the reader's mind
i like books that aren't a waste of time to read
i recommend it to anybody that likes deep thinking and anybody... Read more
Published 3 days ago by E. mn dell'orbo
5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking, fast and slow
This is an amazing book, everyone who is concerned about the way people think and make decisions would do well to read it. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Hazel LUCAS
1.0 out of 5 stars not satisfied
not the book i thought it was going to be. the book entailed some good points and not some good points wat stod ut to be they relied on luck alot which i don't believe i.
Published 9 days ago by annamarie johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Still reading it but i haven't lost my interest in it one bit. Love that it is divided into small chapters very convenient for me as a slow reader with very little time on my... Read more
Published 9 days ago by sstelioss
3.0 out of 5 stars Wife's Purchase.
My wife wanted this and is working through it. I've not noticed any behaviour changes so perhaps she's still to apply the lessons!
Published 9 days ago by J. Nicholson
5.0 out of 5 stars life changing
based on years of observation it makes you think again about how you see the world and live in it.
Published 9 days ago by Norman
5.0 out of 5 stars alternately amazes
This books creates a whole new way of thinking about Decisions. it is relevant to anyone who is interested in the human thinking machine. Read more
Published 9 days ago by MR SM HARTMAN
5.0 out of 5 stars A really interesting book
Received this book promptly. In perfect condition. And it is the best book I have bought in ages.

It has changed how I think about my actions.
Published 13 days ago by Laura H Miles
5.0 out of 5 stars This could change your life
A potted history of fifty years of Daniel's research, this book will change the way you think about how you think.
Published 13 days ago by Peter Johnston
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