Thinking, Fast And Slow
The human brain is equipped with two thinking systems, System 1 that is good at thinking fast, and System 2 that is good at thinking slow. System 1, the fast thinker, relies on intuition when it makes a judgment. While it is fast and efficient, it is inept at statistical reasoning and is susceptible to many systematic biases. On the other hand, System 2, the slow thinker that oversees rational thinking, is lazy and often takes System 1’s intuition for granted. More often than not, we are irrational when we make judgments and decisions, and we are definitely not what the author calls “Econs.”
Author : Daniel Kahneman
Daniel Kahneman is a psychologist and a pioneer in behavioral economics. He was awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for bringing psychology and economics together to better understand how humans make decisions under uncertainty. His research has covered social psychology, cognitive science, and behavioral economics. Documenting his pioneering findings in these fields, the 2011 book Thinking, Fast and Slow is an ensemble of Kahneman’s finest works.
Overview | Chapter 1
Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock the book Thinking, Fast and Slow, a milestone in the field of behavioral economics.
Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and author of the book, has combined psychology and economics to examine how humans make judgments and decisions under uncertainty. His trailblazing work won him the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. By collaborating with his colleague Amos Tversky, Kahneman paved the way for a new field of study, Behavioral Economics. Their research broke down the barriers between social psychology, cognitive science, and economics, providing us with a better understanding of the mechanisms of the human brain in judgment and decision making.
Psychologists Keith Stanovich and Richard West were the first to propose that the human brain runs two cognitive processes, fast thinking and slow thinking, which they named System 1 and System 2. These terms were adopted by Kahneman in this book.
System 1 and System 2 are not two physical parts in the human brain but a virtual concept that showcases how thinking works. System 1 is a subconscious, fast-thinking system that relies on intuition, whereas System 2 is a conscious, slow-thinking system that takes voluntary effort to control. System 1 is in charge of the day-to-day tasks that we are familiar with, such as braking or turning according to signals when we drive. On the other hand, System 2 takes over the tasks or problems that System 1 finds alien or fails to solve, such as doing the mental arithmetic of 17 times 38.
Although the human brain has two thinking systems at its disposal, System 2 is, in fact, very lazy. It would not set to work unless the situation compels it to, such as when faced with a problem that System 1 cannot solve. As a result, most of the judgments and decisions that we make for our lives and career are predominantly System 1’s works. System 2 is at best its assistant. In most circumstances, the work distribution between System 1 and System 2 is highly efficient. However, System 1 has many flaws and is prone to systematic errors, which is what Kahneman chose to focus on in this book. He mainly discusses the cognitive attributes and weaknesses of System 1. By understanding System 1’s flaws, we can consciously avoid many cognitive fallacies and become better decision-makers.
Next, we will summarize the book in three parts by focusing on the traits and flaws of System 1 when it makes decisions; and why we are not rational Econs.
Part One: System 1 makes judgments based on intuition
Part Two: System 1 is inept at making statistical judgments
Part Three: We are not rational Econs