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Publisher's Summary

The guru to the gurus at last shares his knowledge with the rest of us. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman's seminal studies in behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, and happiness studies have influenced numerous other authors, including Steven Pinker and Malcolm Gladwell. In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman at last offers his own, first book for the general public. It is a lucid and enlightening summary of his life's work. It will change the way you think about thinking.

Two systems drive the way we think and make choices, Kahneman explains: System One is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System Two is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Examining how both systems function within the mind, Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities as well as the biases of fast thinking and the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and our choices. Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, he shows where we can trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking, contrasting the two-system view of the mind with the standard model of the rational economic agent.

Kahneman's singularly influential work has transformed cognitive psychology and launched the new fields of behavioral economics and happiness studies. In this path-breaking book, Kahneman shows how the mind works, and offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and personal lives - and how we can guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2011 Daniel Kahneman (P)2011 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“A tour de force. . . Kahneman’s book is a must read for anyone interested in either human behavior or investing. He clearly shows that while we like to think of ourselves as rational in our decision making, the truth is we are subject to many biases. At least being aware of them will give you a better chance of avoiding them, or at least making fewer of them.” (Larry Swedroe, CBS News)
“A major intellectual event . . . The work of Kahneman and Tversky was a crucial pivot point in the way we see ourselves.” (David Brooks, The New York Times)
“[Thinking, Fast and Slow] is wonderful, of course. To anyone with the slightest interest in the workings of his own mind, it is so rich and fascinating that any summary would seem absurd.” (Michael Lewis, Vanity Fair)

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Intuition and reason are complementary

Tversky and Kahneman are, without a doubt, two of the most influential psychologists, all categories. Their simple, yet careful and creative experiments revealed how our decision processes are biased in systematic ways. Their research was deservedly awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. In this book, Kahneman summarizes and puts into context his work in a way that only someone who did the research could. Though I was quite familiar with Kahneman's work before reading this book, I learned many new interesting details. Sometimes when reading a long book about something you are interested in, your interest can wane. This book did the opposite. After having read the book, I am even more fascinated by the research described and how it impacts our lives (and it does).

Throughout the book, Kahneman uses the terms "system one and system two". System one is essentially our intuition or gut feeling. It govern most of our decisions and, in general, does a good job, even though it is prone to some biases (which Kahneman and Tversky have been exploring in their careers). System two, on the other hand, is like the sidekick in a movie who thinks she is the star of the movie. Or to use another metaphor I heard from David Eagleman: system two is like the government of a country. It takes credit for all the things that happen in the country, even though the government itself don’t do that much.

In other words, system one sits comfortably in the driving seat for most of our lives. We rely on our gut feelings even when we really shouldn't. System one evaluates arguments and questions in a very lazy way. An argument that sounds good or is presented by a good looking person is probably correct. If you have heard the argument before (even if it was rebutted), it is also probably correct. If the argument is consistent with one memorable episode in your life, then that is a strong argument in its favor (never mind the ten events that contradicted the argument). How you feel also matters a great deal when making decisions using system one. If you feel cranky and hungry, there is just no way that an argument can win you over, but after lunch most arguments suddenly appear much sounder and logical (judges who had just eaten lunch were much more likely to grant parole, than they were just before lunch).

Still sometimes system one gets stuck, and that is when system two comes in. System two requires focused attention. Therefore, it can only do one thing at a time. System two is also more scrutinizing, so if you want to prevent people from fact checking your arguments - do not make them overly complicated because that will just trigger system two - instead make it short, readable, and appealing to the emotions. If you do this, system one might swallow the message and system two won’t know what happened.

These are just some examples of how we work. Read this book and I promise that you will gain much insight into how people work and how they evaluate ideas. You will, of course, learn about all the systematic biases that people, most likely including yourself, employs on a daily basis (confirmation bias, representative bias, availability heuristic, regression to the mean, etc.). Thus, this book, unlike many self-help books, will teach you about yourself and in extension make you more aware of when you might fall into a trap

I am trying to come up with something negative or even just modestly critical to say about this book, but I can’t. It really is an excellent book with content that I believe should be taught in every classroom in the world. Don’t miss it.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Difficult Listen, but Probably a Great Read

What did you like best about Thinking, Fast and Slow? What did you like least?

A very large portion of the time when I am listening to audio books, I am working out or walking the dog. Unfortunately, this audio book is ill suited to those types of activities. The material is interesting and well presented, but frequently too abstract when you have to compensate for frequent minor distractions. It would be best listened to with the accompanying PDF in front of you and the rewind button easily at hand to review what the author has written when he presents examples. Despite the, the book is a good listen if you are interested in probability, statistics, economics, and psychology. I will very likely borrow a written copy of the book at some time in the future to review the sections that were just too difficult for me to fully understand in the audio format.

Were the concepts of this book easy to follow, or were they too technical?

The key problem I found was that the author frequently presents several types of statistical comparisons at once and then asks the listener to compare them. This may be simple in a written format, but in a audible format it can be very difficult, especially without a rewind or stop button easily available. As in most technical books with a little bit of depth, one often needs a little time and review to fully understand the concepts an author is presenting. Saying that does not discredit the author, but means that the listener is going to have to spend a little more time, effort, and preparation to understand what the author is sharing with the listener. Again, listening to the book with the accompanying PDF in front of me and my finger on the index button would have likely made a huge difference in my experience.

215 of 228 people found this review helpful

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Good material - wrong format

What did you like best about Thinking, Fast and Slow? What did you like least?

This is a great book best experienced in another form. Many times the narrator refers to illustrations or figures that are available separately. The digital ebook or paper book version of this is probably a better way to experience this.

88 of 94 people found this review helpful

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Already Purchased Two Copies for Friends

I've already purchased two copies of this for my friends because I considered it so enlightening and eye-opening.

This book is extremely comprehensive, yet none of the material can be considered "filler" nor did I consider any of it to be boring in any way. I've been an avid reader/listener of neuroscience materials for quite some time, and this listen gained me more novel, original knowledge on this subject than I've been able to gather for a long while, and I've been able to apply a large portion of it practically in my own life, which is important to me (unactionable, non-applicable knowledge is useless in my opinion).

The narration is excellent and can be comfortably listened to at speeds higher than 1x if desired (I was listening at 1.25x), which says a lot about how well-spoken and clear the book's narration was. Patrick Egan also did a wonderful job at inflection and was not at all monotonous.

If you like "figuring out" how people think and why they think that way (including your own thinking), then this book is for you. Very good listen indeed!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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How to hack a brain - tips from a seasoned hacker

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book provides some great insights into how our minds work, and when you analyze your own, you will soon realize that yours is also being hacked on a daily basis without you even being aware of it. <br/>Being an IT security expert, it is difficult to not draw parallels to that universe when reading this book, realizing how our minds are being exploited on a daily basis without us even noticing.<br/>Some of the topics and examples are fairly well known and the reader have most likely heard about or experienced them before, but here you get a good explaination for them and how much of it fit together. Those of you who are facinated by skilled mentalists like Derren Brown will gain some insights to some of their

What did you like best about this story?

The easy-to-grasp explainations and the practical examples demonstrating how these traits apply also to the readers mind.

What about Patrick Egan’s performance did you like?

Very good reading voice and overall performance, perfect fit with the right level of authority and credibility.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me wonder where i can get an antivirus for my brain.

Any additional comments?

Mandatory reading for all wanna be mind hackers.

70 of 77 people found this review helpful

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  • andrew
  • OLATHE, KS, United States
  • 01-16-12

THE BOOK on human decision making...Simply Amazing

Although this book is essentially twice as long as any other book in it's category, it's worth it. If you are interested in how humans think and understanding what "intuition" is from a scientific perspective is, click "Add to cart" NOW. I had a lot of fun with it and can honestly say I understand things in my life quite different after this one. You will carry around this new found knowledge with you to the office, the field, conferences, parties.

The general idea of the book is in the understanding of how our two "systems" as he puts it, interact with each other to make decisions in our lives. We have a very quick, responsive system that reminds me very much like a calculator or RAM on a computer and then a more cognitive, "thinking" system that is truly lazy. Basing off the first system inputs, if our surroundings seem parallel with a heuristic or "match", the second system commits to that decision. I apologize because I'm trying to sum up 20 great hours of explanation into a few sentences.

Being that I work in design/user experience for an impacting company I have read a number of these "types" of books. This had the most info and was the easiest to close the cover and go "holy $---, I get it now!" Enjoy!

78 of 87 people found this review helpful

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*The* Book on Behavioral Decision Theory

I've been a junkie on this topic ever since I took the first class Richard Thaler (Author of "Nudge" and heavily cited in this book) ever offered on Behavioral Decision Theory. Kahneman and Tversky are the great pioneers of the subject. Kahneman's book does not disappoint. This subject is so important it should be required reading.

Kahneman does an excellent job of making the subject clear and understandable. The narration is excellent. This is a first-class effort in every way.

30 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • Highland Village, TX, United States
  • 10-29-11

Refers to hardcopy

Overall this is a great piece because you will pick up something new each time you listen to it. But it makes reference to the PDF files attached. This isn't going to help while driving or doing chores.

I had the same problem with Wiseman's "59 seconds" but I solved that with getting a hard copy.

79 of 89 people found this review helpful

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Eye Opening

Would you listen to Thinking, Fast and Slow again? Why?

Still listening. Sometimes the chapters have to be rewound. Brimming with insights. As the argument progresses, one sometimes needs to stop, slow-think in system 2, and then restart. The work cannot be praised enough. At every other turn one is reminded of Socrates, whose premise was that the ideas exist in us. They just need to be drawn out by proper application of the mind. This book is brimming with ideas so well presented that once understood, they very easily become system 1 (with some practice of course). Amazing.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Thinking, Fast and Slow?

Learning the tools by which to understand and apply the book. This would be the first two hours. One moment is hard to pinpoint in such non-fiction as this.

What three words best describe Patrick Egan’s voice?

The narrator could be better. But its ok. The work is very powerful, and the narrator is good enough. This could be something subjective as well so I don't want to judge harshly. I am enjoying the audio book very much. Thank you.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. Several sittings.

Any additional comments?

Very refreshing, original work. Excellent. A tour de force.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • MENLO PARK, CA, United States
  • 03-01-12

Wow. Academic at times, but very thought-provoking

The subject line really says it all. It's not a book I would recommend for everyone---it does become a little academic and dense at times in it's presentation---but I think I found myself talking about this book to others more than any other book I've read the last few years. It was VERY thought-provoking and really had me reflecting on it's content as I walked around and dealt with the rest of my life. I know I'm going to carry many key ideas away from it and into the future.

Honestly, while I respect and enjoy Malcolm Gladwell and those types of books, THIS is the book that I've been looking for!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful