Customer Reviews


364 Reviews
5 star:
 (228)
4 star:
 (79)
3 star:
 (34)
2 star:
 (9)
1 star:
 (14)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


107 of 112 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 Roland Davis

versus
325 of 359 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


‹ Previous | 1 2 337 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb - one of the best books I have read, 16 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was a deep meaningful book - best holiday read but one I still dip in and out of after the first read. Really interesting and thought provoking. Changed my perception on certain aspects of life - inspiring. A friend was recently going through a tough time so I ordered a copy for her too. Would highly recommend. Probably the best book I have read in years, if you like this type of thing!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 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 
joc66 (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not much new, too US centric, 22 April 2013
By 
gerryg - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I found the book to be too verbose, trying too hard to convince me of the points being made. I also found many of the examples designed to give authenticity failed because they relied too much on knowing things about the USA.

The basic premise is that we suffer from irrationality, don't realise it and should work harder on that. Clearly I'd be in a minority if I disagreed and I don't.

For me, all done much better and before by Stuart Sutherland in Irrationality
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit slow paced and repetitive, 27 Feb 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's a good book, insightful and interesting but let down slightly by a (for my taste) overly 'folksy' style. (I think the butler did it)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good at times, but not fantastic, 11 Feb 2013
have read a fair number of books on behavioural economics in the past and was really looking forward to reading this one.

It is a good book, a lot of what Kahneman has written about in here has been the foundation off the subject, and was no doubt the reason that he was awarded the Nobel Prize. There is lots of good stuff in here about how people make choices, and how the various systems in the mind can benefit and hinder the way people make those choices.

However, the book can ramble on a bit, and would have benefitted from better editing. Much preferred reading Nudge and the Decisive Moment.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Thinking; fast and slow.' Daniel Kahneman., 29 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What a piece of work this is! Love, devotion, insight into the human mind and how it works and a compassion for the pressures endured by us all in our daily lives; it is all there for us lesser mortals to come to grips with the follies and foibles of our decision making processes. It also takes into account our natural laziness, which I must hold my hands up and say, yes; mea culpa, usually to my own detriment.

Thanks again Amazon.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 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
(REAL NAME)   
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


86 of 102 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly Mixed Bag, 25 Jan 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I dont normally write reviews but felt I should with this book.

Im probably your average reader - an interest in psychology and to some degree, self help/improvement publications.

I have done a fair bit of academic reading, so understand the difference between an academic style of writing and a book for 'the masses'. This is where I think the book falls down. Some chapters of the book really are extremely well worded and presented to the reader - concepts are clear and not unnecessarily complicated. Other chapters lapse into a pseudo-academic style which I found tedious and tiresome. I don't really need all the statistical data and complicated information behind the proposals Kahneman makes - I want him to package it up into a readable format which dose not require me to read it three times to 'get' what he means. It really is as though someone else wrote parts of the book, as its style does seem to change significantly in places.

So, some sections are quite brilliant and inspirational, worthy of 6 starts from me....but other chapters mar the reading experience, making it quite a chore. A mixed bag........
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and important, 19 Jan 2012
By 
Pardo (Kent) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I think I am beginning to bore my friends, family and co-workers with the number of times I begin a sentence: "Actually, I read something fascinating the other day, in a book called Thinking, Fast and Slow ..." but it is impossible not to after reading this book. It is filled with brilliant insights into the way we think and behave, and why that is usually not entirely rational, even when we think it is.

Apart from being an engaging and interesting read it is filled with little insights that will help you think more clearly an spot the flaws in a plan that others might have missed. Of course, that might not make you very popular at work, but at least you'll be able to back up your argument about whey everyone else is wrong by quoting a Nobel Laureate.

If you like Dan Ariely's work you must read this - Kahneman is where it all began. The book is slightly denser than Ariely but not in any way a hard read and he is an engaging author and very generous with his praise of other writers and thinkers. Peppered with memorable stories and case studies - my favourite is the one about the study of a parole board that showed that overall the chance of being granted payroll was 35% but if your case came up just after the Board had eaten that went up to 60% but if it was just before they broke for lunch it was 0%. The impact of blood-sugar levels on the brain - when its energised it can think and weigh evidence, when it's depleted it reverts to the easiest option, which in a parole decision is "no" because its the safest one. But then, as he shows later, the fact that the brain is able to weigh evidence and make seeming sound decision doesn't mean that it will be the right decision because there are all sorts of things the we either ignore or give undue weight to - think about the way that we all know that the "base line" chance of any new business surviving is about 1 in 5 but we'er all convinced that our new idea will be the 1 in five.

I could go on about this book - I frequently do. In short - read it - it is the is the most genuinely brilliant book I've read in years.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


86 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disbelief is not an option, 10 Nov 2011
By 
And neither, for me, is dislike of this wonderful book an option. By the time Daniel Kahneman reassures the reader that the results of the various priming studies he has just been discussing are neither made up nor statistical flukes - and that "disbelief is not an option" - I was more than ready to take this as an avuncular and not an inquisitorial admonition. There is a warmth in the writing, and not only from scholarly passion for the subject. As well as being a masterly exploration of a fascinating part of human nature, this book is a tribute to a remarkable collaboration with Amos Tversky, and dedicated to his memory. That his name does not appear in the formal acknowledgements at the end of the book is no oversight: his spirit infuses the text, surfacing every so often in the plural subject "Amos and I" as Kahneman describes with relish some piece of scientific research they conducted together.

In a book that exposes errors we often don't realize we're making, it is fitting that the author himself fesses up. Kahneman admits that early in his career, like many psychologists, he was often guilty of choosing samples that were too small, getting results that made no sense and which - it eventually dawned on him - were actually artifacts of his research method: "My mistake was particularly embarrassing because I taught statistics and knew how to compute the sample size that would reduce the risk of failure". He learned to be wary of intuition and tradition, and, unlike most psychologists, went on to collect a Nobel prize, for work done with Tversky on judgment under uncertainty and prospect theory (published in two widely cited papers that are reproduced as appendixes).

Truly random errors can't be predicted, of course. The human mind, however, is somewhat more accommodating to scientific study in that it distorts reality in systematic ways, and these errors - or biases - "recur predictably in particular circumstances". A recurrent theme of the book centres on one particularly strong bias, towards causal explanations and away from statistical analysis. People "are prone to apply causal thinking inappropriately, to situations that require statistical reasoning". One clue to this tendency is that while even children are good intuitive grammarians, pretty much all adults (including professional statisticians) are poor intuitive statisticians. We prefer stories to sets of data, agency over chance, and we care more about coherence than either the quantity or quality of the data on which the story is based.

For someone who warns us to beware of stories, Kahneman's is a compelling narrative, at the heart of which are two characters who in turn entertain and exasperate, who sometimes work well together and who are sometimes in conflict, but without whom we would not be human. They go by the prosaic labels System 1 and System 2 and are vital for understanding how we make judgements and decisions.

In brief, the automatic System 1 and the effortful System 2 "respectively produce fast and slow thinking". System 1 is brilliant at identifying causal connections between events, while System 2, your conscious self, is the part of the mind that can concentrate on thinking a problem through. System 1 is always on, generating "intuitive feelings and opinions about almost everything that comes your way", and while it is never stumped it is "gullible and biased to believe". Given these aspects of System 1's character, the "laziness of System 2 is an important fact of life": System 2 ("in charge of doubting and unbelieving") could step in to stop you jumping to an unwarranted conclusion. It often fails to intervene, however, because it's often terribly busy and finds it hard to multitask. Besides, following "our intuitions is more natural, and somehow more pleasant, than acting against them". As for attitudes, "System 2 is more of an apologist for the emotions of System 1 than a critic of those emotions - an endorser rather than an enforcer".

"The measure of success for System 1 is the coherence of the story it manages to create. The amount and quality of the data on which the story is based are largely irrelevant. When information is scarce, which is a common occurrence, System 1 operates as a machine for jumping to conclusions."

My guess is that regression to the mean has not set many pulses racing (examinations apart), and yet it provided Kahneman with "one of the most satisfying eureka experiences" of his career, when he "stumbled onto a significant fact of the human condition: the feedback to which life exposes us is perverse. Because we tend to be nice to other people when they please us and nasty when they do not, we are statistically punished for being nice and rewarded for being nasty." Performance varies, and the chance element will both regress to the mean and be ignored: a golfer who has a good first day in a competition is likely to do less well on the second (despite all the praise), and a golfer who has a bad first day is likely to improve (despite all the flak). Most spectators and commentators ignore statistics and rely on intuition to predict the scores on the second day, and as a result will "tend to be overconfident and overly extreme". It goes without saying that golf tournaments are not the only situations when intuitive predictions "need to be corrected because they are not regressive and therefore are biased".

This book will be of interest to anyone who has woken up this morning, and is therefore experiencing, first hand, the push and pull of fast and slow thinking. Psychologists, however, should be warned about a potentially demoralizing conclusion: despite Kahneman's evident enthusiasm for his subject, it seems "that teaching psychology is mostly a waste of time". Reading this book most certainly isn't, although I do have a couple of further health warnings regarding this review: (a) I haven't quite finished reading the whole book and (b) I've just begun a chapter entitled "The Illusion of Understanding"...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 337 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews