Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist and Nobel laureate, synthesises and summarises the decades of study on intuitive and methodical thinking in his best-selling book, “Thinking Fast and Slow.”
Kahneman (Emeritus, Psychology and Public Affairs, Princeton University) is the author of various scholarly works that provide readers with a deeper understanding of the research process, as well as the results of psychological studies.
A key concept he introduces is the division between what he calls “System 1” — rapid, instinctive cognition — and “System 2” — deliberate, conscious thought.
According to the author, most of the time we use System 1 and only switch to System 2 when we absolutely have to or want to. We don’t want to give careful consideration to a problem, which is why System 2 is constantly referred to as “lazy” by Kahneman.
Daniel Kahneman goes on to go into the specifics of our dual-processing brains, demonstrating their efficacy in a variety of scenarios. Our System 1 is extremely sensitive to uncertainty and distrustful of ambiguity, as has been frequently demonstrated by psychological research.
When he does employ jargon, such as the phrase “heuristics,” Kahneman contends that it should become commonplace.
Regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, and the optimistic bias are just a few examples of the fundamental principles in psychology and statistics that he discusses to illustrate his larger concerns about human cognition and decision-making.
Some of the latter chapters dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probability are heavier than others but the portions that deal with the economic and political ramifications of the research are compelling.
The book, however, summarises fascinating research that demonstrates the enormous complexity of everyday thought and identifies the personalities of the mental gatekeepers.