The book "Thinking, Fast and Slow", by author Daniel Kahneman, makes a study about the functioning of the human mind in decision making, which originates in thought and can bring problems or benefit our lives.
Understanding the thought system is a powerful tool for dealing with situations and conditions in the external world and preventing our minds from falling into traps that can harm our choices.
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About the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”
“Thinking, Fast and Slow” is a bestseller written by renowned author Daniel Kahneman and was published in 2011.
The work, which won the best book award by the United States National Academy of Sciences in 2012, presents the author's understanding of judgment and decision-making, based on discoveries in the field of psychology.
About the author Daniel Kahneman
Daniel Kahneman is an economist, Ph.D. in Psychology and winner of the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences in the year 2002.
In addition, Kahneman is professor emeritus at Princeton College of Psychology and was elected the seventh most influential economist in the world by The Economist in 2015.
To whom is this book indicated?
“Thinking, Fast and Slow” is ideal for those who want to know and understand how their mind works in order not to fall into a trap and make the best possible use of thought systems, benefiting in financial and personal terms.
Salespeople and marketing specialists will be attracted to this content, to learn how to work with the anchoring effect in advertisements.
Main ideas of the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”
- When you think, your mind uses two cognitive systems;
- People like to turn simple stories into complex realities. They look for causes in random events, consider rare incidents, and overestimate their experiences;
- Aversion to loss affects how you estimate value and risk;
- Both systems evaluate their life experiences differently.
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Overview: Part I - Your two systems and what each one does
Author Daniel Kahneman starts the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” explaining how our brain and thoughts work.
The first part of the brain is System 1, which can be defined as mental processing that reads emotions and deals with your automatic abilities, such as driving your car or adding two plus two.
System 1 takes over your thinking when you understand simple statements, when you instinctively turn to see where the noise is coming from or when you make a face at something bad.
System 2 applies the effort consciously, such as when you make complicated calculations, start doing new physical activities or looking for a specific person in the crowd. You use this system when you are focusing on specific details, such as counting or figuring out how to fill out your income tax forms.
Also, System 2 thinking is slower, but you need it for thought processes like formal logic.
These mental processes involve a "division of labor" when it comes to thinking if they have a constant interaction.
Overview: Part II - Relationship between systems
In this overview, we will understand how our two brain systems correlate.
According to author Daniel Kahneman in his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, what system you use and how you think depends a lot on the effort you are making.
If you are doing something easy, such as going through a known path, you are using System 1.
If you accelerate the pace, System 2 is turned on to sustain your effort.
Now try to solve an arithmetic problem, and you will probably stop walking completely, your brain can not handle the additional burden.
Recent laboratory studies show that the intense concentration of System 2 lowers the levels of glucose in the body.
System 1 likes to respond with simplicity, so if an apparently correct solution pops up quickly when you face a challenge, System 1 will take that response by default and cling to it, even if later information proves it to be wrong.
If you want to persuade someone, you will go to System 1, which seeks simple and memorable information. To do this, use a bold font in your reports, try to rhyme the slogans in your advertising, and make your business name easy.
Overview: Part III - Making mistakes
In this part of the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, the author Daniel Kahneman explains why our brain makes mistakes.
System 1 prefers that the world be linked and meaningful, so if you are dealing with two distinct facts, it will assume that they are connected. This system seeks to promote explanations based on causes and effects.
Likewise, when you observe a little data, System 1 assumes that you have the complete story. The "what you see is all there is" trend is powerful to carry out your judgments.
For example, if all you have is someone else's appearance, your System 1 will fill in what you do not know - that's the "halo effect". That way, if an athlete looks good, you'll assume he's also skillful.
System 1 is also responsible for "anchoring", in which you unconsciously link your thinking on a topic to information you have recently encountered, even though the two have nothing to do with each other.
Mentioning the number 10 and then asking how many African countries belong to the United Nations, for example, will produce lower estimates than if you mentioned 65 and asked the same question.
System 2 can magnify your mistakes, but it finds reasons for you to continue believing in the answers and solutions you generate.
It is important to note that System 2 does not contradict what System 1 presents, but it is the "endorser" of how System 1 seeks to categorize its world.
Overview: Part IV - Distorted Reality and Optimism
In this overview, we will understand why we distort reality.
Author Daniel Kahneman explains in his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” that the natural tendency to focus on the content of a message and not its relevance affects your ability to judge.
People take vivid examples to shape their fears and plans for the future.
For example, media coverage of dramatic but infrequent events such as accidents and disasters - unlike common threats such as strokes and asthma - places these events as anchors that people use to make inaccurate assessments of where the health risks are.
You have a greater tendency to focus on some remarkable events that have happened, and not on countless events that did not happen.
Because of retrospective bias, you will distort reality by realigning your event memories to match new information. And by telling stories about events in which you are involved, you tend to be overly optimistic and predisposed to over-value your talents in relation to others.
You will also give yourself more weight than you should.
This intense and generalized optimism is useful to the economy in many ways, because entrepreneurs and inventors tend to start new business all the time, despite the huge odds against them.
Overview: Part V - Specialists and Risk
Here, the author Daniel Kahneman alerts us about the efficiency of consulting experts in some areas.
System 1 influences the frankness with which people evaluate their own "intuition and validity", which means that not all experts always provide great advice.
Specialization depends on an individual's ability, feedback, and practice. For example, the repeated practice of firefighters weighing the risks represented by specific types of fires and their experience in extinguishing these fires gives them an impressive ability to read a situation intuitively and identify patterns.
However, do not rely too much on judging experts in areas where challenges vary greatly, where luck determines success and where there is a very large gap between action and feedback.
Those who predict stock values and political disputes, for example, tend to fall into this category.
Most people are averse to loss: you care more about losing $ 100 than earn $ 150.
People also suffer from the donation effect: when something belongs to you, even if it is for a brief period of time , you tend to overestimate your value in relation to the value of things you do not have.
Real estate owners exemplify this effect, often overvaluing their properties.
Overview: Part VI - Two Selves, one Mind
To conclude the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, the author Daniel Kahneman presents to us what our two selves are and what each one does.
Just as two systems interact in your mind, your two selves divide according to the quality of your experiences.
One is the part of you that lives your life. And the other is the part that evaluates the experiences you have, draws lessons from them, and makes decisions about the future.
The things you pay attention to have big implications for your mood.
Active forms of leisure, such as physical activity or spending time with good friends, satisfy much more than passive leisure, for example, watching television.
You can not necessarily change your job or your disposition, but it can change your focus and how you spend your time.
Focus shapes your self-assessments: nothing in life is as important as you think!
What do other authors say about it?
"The Power of Habit", by Charles Duhigg, says that a habit arises through the three-phase loop. The first is cue, a stimulus that sends your brain into automatic mode, and indicates which habit it should use.
Next is the routine, which can be physical, mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward attached to that habit, which helps your brain decide whether it is worth memorizing this specific loop to use it again in the future.
The author Tali Sharot, in “The Influential Mind”, states that the information that surrounds us, and the easy access to it, makes people more susceptible to forming beliefs and resisting changes.
Finally, in “Everything is F*cked”, the author Mark Manson defends the idea that for each action there is an opposite emotional reaction and of equal intensity, creating a mental gap, which is the feeling that something has gone wrong and you deserve to be rewarded.
Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?
- Try to repeat the messages you want to incorporate;
- Do not be influenced by media sensationalism;
- Try to maintain a good mood, so you become more creative and intuitive;
- Be wary of automatic intuitions and hasty conclusions that the mind readily suggests;
- In order not to be suggestive of the suggestions of the day-to-day anchoring effects, work your mind to look for arguments against the anchor in question;
- Be wary of your beliefs about what happened in the past;
- Learn to note the cases where mistakes are likely and strive to avoid major mistakes at important times;
- Do not rely on a very subjective belief as an indication of accuracy about something.
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