Book Review “Thinking, Fast and Slow”

Topics: Cognitive bias, Daniel Kahneman, Cognitive biases Pages: 2 (868 words) Published: January 13, 2013
I read the international bestseller “Thinking, Fast and Slow” of Daniel Kahneman (Winner of the Nobel Prize) over the last 3-4 weeks. I think it is a very interesting book and it is describing very critically the human brain and mind, which gave me many insights into decision-making and errors we are doing automatically without noticing it every day. He is very often talking about "System 1" and "System 2". System 1 is fast; it's intuitive, associative, metaphorical, automatic, impressionistic, and it can't be switched off. Its operations involve no sense of intentional control, but it's the "secret author of many of the choices and judgments you make" and it's the hero of Daniel Kahneman's book Thinking, Fast and Slow. System 2 is slow, deliberate, effortful. Its operations require attention. System 2 takes over, rather unwillingly, when things get difficult. It's "the conscious being you call 'I'", and one of Kahneman's main points is that this is a mistake. You're wrong to identify with System 2, for you are also and equally and profoundly System 1. Kahneman compares System 2 to a supporting character who believes herself to be the lead actor and often has little idea of what's going on. System 2 is slothful, and tires easily – so it usually accepts what System 1 tells it. It's often right to do so, because System 1 is for the most part pretty good at what it does; it's highly sensitive to subtle environmental cues, signs of danger, and so on. It does, however, pay a high price for speed. It loves to simplify, to assume WYSIATI ("what you see is all there is"), even as it gossips and embroiders and confabulates. It's hopelessly bad at the kind of statistical thinking often required for good decisions, it jumps wildly to conclusions and it's subject to a fantastic suite of irrational biases and interference effects (the halo effect, the "Florida effect", framing effects, anchoring effects, the confirmation bias, outcome bias, hindsight bias, availability bias,...
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