Thinking Fast and Slow

ThinkingAs a mere civilian, it’s hard to critique a book that is made up of the research of two Nobel Prize winners.  My Psych 100 isn’t really up to the job!

Thinking Fast and Slow explains the author’s theories around System 1 and System 2 of the brain.  The part of our brain that reacts, quickly, instinctively and the part of the brain that reacts slowly, with rationality, and able to process statistics (I’m oversimplifying).  This book was a great companion to Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise.  While Silver talks about the phenomenon of humans being unable to instinctively process statistical probabilities, Kahneman fills in the ‘why’.

In general the author keeps the material at a relatable level, which is a challenge, given the depth of the material.  I would love to hear the opinion of a psychologist or an economic psychologist.

As you might expect in cramming a whole career’s worth of research into a book (even a popular non-fiction book), the level of the material sometimes goes a little over the reader’s head (at least this reader) and can get a little dry.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the workings of the mind.  Personally, I read it while taking a stats class and soon after reading The Signal and the Noise and I found it invaluable.  In fact, the book came up several times in conversation while I was reading it.

However, I would recommend that you read the book.  I listened to the audiobook and felt I missed out on many critical pieces.  It’s also worth noting that if you’re interested in it for any academic use, the Kindle edition doesn’t have page numbers and the reviews indicate that the end notes are unusable.

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