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Thinking, fast and slow


I have just finished reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. I found this book compelling reading.  In every chapter, I was confronted with the pitfalls and limitations of my own thinking patterns. I was then helped to see that I was not alone. I was given insights through provocative examples, descriptions of experiments and finally (and I believe powerfully) by conversational sentences in plain (‘water cooler’) language to illustrate the concepts presented in the chapter.


I believe this book is one that should be obligatory reading for all.  In my own limited experience, I put it with The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould. I am certain each person has their own list for their own reasons. However, a book that puts a mirror up to how we think and helps us see both the good and the bad is, in my view, of fundamental importance.  This can only enrich our conversations, our approaches, our tolerance and our understanding of our human experience.

We are asked to see the world through three conceptual pairs: System1-System 2, Econs-Humans, and Experiencing self- Remembering self.  On almost every page, I frequently felt I was falling into well laid traps (perhaps this is more a  reflection of my own limitations), even though early on I understood the pattern and themes of the book. This somewhat painful realization, however, was instructive and translated into examination of past decisions I have made, more critical assessment of the news media, and a general increased sensitivity to the various biases and pitfalls described in the book. How long this lasts, I cannot predict. However, I believe we would all benefit from realising the ignorance of our ignorance.




Categories: books

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