Books

Book Review: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

“Let your intuition guide you.” We all have heard that many times, and while such a statement can be true and helpful, sometimes intuition (our automatic system) can fail us because of our biases, framing effects, or by something else. But if you think a deliberate decision making will always guide you right and is infallible, then think again. It isn’t. We are not rational creatures. Thinking, Fast and Slow goes over our thinking processes and decision making (we humans are prediction “machines”), and their strengths and weaknesses along with how they have come to be and why. The book is amazing, and I would say it is something all of us should read now and then to remind how misguided our thinking can be.

The book has a lot of anecdotes and tests, and while I sometimes find such devices in books tiresome, here they worked. They strengthened the readers understanding how our brains work and how misguided our intuition can be. But I have to warn you. This isn’t a feel-good book. It is painful to understand and admit how faulty we are. But instead of hiding our weaknesses, I think it is more courageous to admit how imperfect we can be and use systematic training to surpass those shortcomings. (Not that it always work.)

The book has its failings. It is a bit scattered, and a lot of information and different studies have been packaged into a small space, making the book a chore to read. But what is written between the covers holds true (until proven wrong.) I personally find the ending hilarious, and maybe not in a good way. Daniel Kahneman ended it with an optimistic note, and I do understand why, we need hope, but for me, it felt silly. He proposes that organizations are better at thinking than individual human beings that our hope should lie there, but we all know what group thinking can do or how bureaucracy and hierarchical organizations can fail us, but I guess that is a subject for another book. I say, if you haven’t read this book, do it.

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