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135 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very wise and interesting read, with a few niggles
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...
Published on 17 July 2012 by hfffoman

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340 of 375 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thinking Well, Thinking Poorly
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...
Published on 9 Feb 2012 by M. D. Holley


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135 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very wise and interesting read, with a few niggles, 17 July 2012
By 
hfffoman (Kent) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thinking, Fast and Slow (Paperback)
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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. I have read plenty of books by acclaimed scientists and they don't boast about how good their work as much as Kahneman does. Some people may not mind this, or may not even notice it. Maybe I am being too sensitive but I did find it irritating so I think it is fair to mention it.

One final, very small, niggle. The book often uses names for psychological findings - the endowment effect, the halo effect, loss aversion, and many others. Usually these are widely accepted terms. However, Kahneman insists on coining a few of his own that are not accepted terms. The most notable, where he names different types of thinking "System 1" and "System 2", is central to the book and, although he gives a reasonable justification for it, it gave me a slight feeling of quackery which is a shame as this is an extremely intelligent book and not quackery at all. Someone has since pointed out to me that the terms System 1 and System 2 may become mainstream in which case I owe Kahnemann an apology and happily give it to him.

Because of the niggles, I started by giving the book 4 stars, but on reflection, it is so full of wise discussion and useful advice, I realized I was being churlish and gave it the extra star.

If you are interested in the subject I would strongly recommend reading both this and Predictably Irrational. Neither the style nor the material is the same. If you only want to read one book, or are new to the subject, you might prefer Predictably Irrational as it is more fun to read, and its ideas will grab you more quickly. I read Predictably Irrational in a couple of sittings but Fast and Slow Thinking took me 3 weeks as it is 400 pages of small print and I usually felt tired after reading 1-2 chapters. On the other hand, Thinking Fast and Slow will thoroughly reward the greater investment of effort. Another excellent book which predates this by 14 years is Hare Brain Tortoise Mind by Guy Claxton. This has a different take on the subject and, unfortunately, does not seem to be acknowledged anywhere.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Product of a lifetime's work - will help you understand human thought processes, 7 Aug 2013
By 
EllyBlue (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thinking, Fast and Slow (Paperback)
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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
By 
Andrew M. Jones "andy-jones" (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thinking, Fast and Slow (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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340 of 375 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thinking Well, Thinking Poorly, 9 Feb 2012
By 
M. D. Holley (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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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. Having found many instances of irrational thinking, particularly where statistics are concerned, Mr Kahneman seems to become obsessed with irrationality, and seeks to find the same pattern in all aspects of human behaviour. He becomes more and more overconfident with the tidy and coherent story he has constructed, and produces some spectacularly silly theories as a result.

I would give the second half of the book barely one star. But read it for the first 200 pages, which fully deserve five stars!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting and really fascinating, 20 Sep 2012
By 
FLB (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thinking, Fast and Slow (Paperback)
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I must confess to having a not so secret penchant for self help books.....not that I feel depressed or in need of much help, but I do look upon them as personal development!

This book was really interesting....I always think of myself as having Spock like logic (though my husband would beg to differ I am sure) but yes, I do think that I apply logic and work out answers in a methodical manner - now I doubt that I ever make a logical decision having read this book!

It made me laugh in places, the analogies it gave and the examples and quizzes that I undertook.....really amusing and surprising - all wrapped up in a nice and easy to read book!

My lack of a fifth star is purely because I found it dropped off towards the end and got a bit too - dubious....but up until that point I would have given it 5.

Well worth reading for anyone who is interested in the mechanisms of the human mind!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As advised, I'm reading this slowly, 16 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Thinking, Fast and Slow (Paperback)
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The advice given when starting this book is to buy fast and read slow. I certainly did the former, and must be doing something right because I'm only 100 pages in after having this book for over 2 months.

Essentially a look at the human thought process, the writer does a heck of a lot of empirical research into why we choose what we do, and whether our choice is firstly our own, and secondly rational.

To do this, he illustrates the dual process theory. Where the brain is essentially working on two systems. One that operates on a "path of least resistance" that we rely on for answering questions of intuition and basic operational functions. Essentially the instinctive. The other, System 2, is more rational, logic driven and expends more energy and effort to operate.

The insight via the many practical empirical examples are something out of a psychometric test and test your logic, reasoning, verbal ability and cognitive dissonance. For this reason, read it slow. Ensure you understand the result of each "test" before moving on and you'll have an extremely interesting and insightful read.

What I appreciate about the author is that he could have made the book extremely wordy, but choose against that. [Even citing the reason why in the book]. Making it easily accessible to non-academics and without needing a thesaurus/wikipedia to hand as you do with some business or science books.

I would recommend this book to everyone who likes to think they're in control of their decisions. What you are sure to get out of this book, is invaluable and I can't imagine the time it took to collate all this information together. And it's all there for you, at least for a starting point, without any more effort that buying the book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For a very restricted audience. It offers some interesting ideas., 29 Aug 2012
By 
Andy_atGC (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thinking, Fast and Slow (Paperback)
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This is an academic study not only into the human psyche but into the wider field of human activity in all of its multitudinous aspects, whether it be at work, at home or at play.

It is not an easy or a casual read but it helps us better understand the choices we make in our daily lives, the reasons we make them and our rationale for doing so. Many of its arguments are by way of example and may, in some instances, depend upon terminology or carefully selected imagery. If an idea is worded in a certain way, would we be more inclined to accept the argument of A or that of B. In fact, there may be no difference between the two, only in the way in which they were presented but, by using certain phrasing, to those acting rashly or not prepared to carefully consider its content there may appear to be some advantage in choosing A rather than B although none exists in reality.

Much of its contents, as you may expect of a Nobel Prize winner, utilises one or more formulaic principles or concepts that may be understood by psychologists, mathematicians or statisticians but not by the man in the street, which is a little unfortunate. However, there are two large appendices plus a Notes section at the rear containing more than 400 explanations, source notes etc to assist its readers. In that the book was written to help us better understand our thought processes, perhaps more so for those in management than for Mr Average, its very nature may be a problem.

Probably not one ever to be in the Top Ten, it does have a potential audience.
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187 of 210 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick thinking, 12 Nov 2011
By 
Hande Z (Singapore) - See all my reviews
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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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for all, 2 Feb 2014
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Psychology, economics, policy making are all in this book, and none of it is written in an alienating manner. Very clear cut explanation of concepts. I particularly like that every chapter ends with some conversation points which tell you how to discuss what you just learned. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good resource, 22 Sep 2012
By 
Amazon Customer "Sussman" (London CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thinking, Fast and Slow (Paperback)
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Although this book is born out of academic work, I do not believe that is work is `highbrow'; there are some terms that a lay person may struggle over, that said with a little internet research this is a book can understood. I believe that is book is a must read for everyone and not just people who are work with the concepts covered in this book.
I believe that the examples and theories placed within will help one improve their understanding of themselves and others. A book that is a good resource for anyone involved in analysing information, negotiating and making critical decisions. Some reviewers have been critical of contents as presented and in part by `perceived' bias of the author making the data speak, and interoperate the data to support the concepts that are presented. My view is that the reader should judge, merits or not for themselves.
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Thinking, Fast and Slow
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (Paperback - 10 May 2012)
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