Thinking Fast And Slow – An Excellent Read

Posted on February 21, 2012


I’m only halfway through this book, but it’s already proving to be one of the more complete and approachable psychology books I’ve ever read.

The psychology it deals with isn’t about emotions or depression, but rather about how our brains take shortcuts based on patterns that are very useful to our survival, but can easily be manipulated.

The author, Daniel Kahneman, has been involved in countless studies and describes many more that prove beyond any doubt that there are many patterns and shortcuts that our brains use to make decisions that frequently cause us to make less than optimal choices.

One commonly known example is the Anchor Effect, where you can anchor someone around a number, making it less likely that that person will deviate much from that number. So if you are trying to sell a house if you post a high asking price then you will get much higher offers than if you post a low asking price. This may seem obvious, but what is less obvious is the fact that if a realtor sees a high asking price and then is asked to value the property based on their expert opinion, their valuation will be heavily influenced by the asking price but they will not think that they have taken in to account the asking price when determining their valuation.

The Anchor Effect is actually much more far reaching than just that example and the book dives in to many other psychological effects. Largely it frames the exploration around two systems of thinking that allow us to operate in a world that has an enormous amount of sensory stimulation without becoming overwhelmed but while retaining the ability to act on important information when necessary.

All of the information in the book is likely available in various studies, but this book makes the content of those studies much more approachable and comprehensive. I’d highly recommend it.