Thinking Fast And Slow - Book Review

May 22 08:32 2012 Roberto Sedycias Print This Article

Have you ever thought about thinking? Daniel Kahneman has done a great deal of thinking about how we think and the result is a seminal work into the interconnections between a snap judgment and one where we take the time to look at it from all sides.

The problem is that life is not about either Thinking Fast and Slow,Guest Posting it is about how they interact and the results of that interaction.

Written by Nobel Economics laureate Daniel Kahneman it is, if you will, about the "economics of thought." For example, the author notes, one may make a quick decision about a vacation trip or dining out and may then spend several hours, days or weeks planning that trip and all of its needs or taking the hour or two needed to decide which restaurant at which to eat.

If you put this on an economic scale it is where the "traditional supply line" crosses the "traditional demand line" that determines how we think and how we apply our thinking processes.

The winner of four major book awards for 2011, New York Times Review, Globe and Mail Best, The Economist's 2011 and the Wall Street Journal's Best Non-Fiction, this tightly written work is the first real challenge to the traditional ideas of how we think about critical problems.

For example, if you use the "fast" thinking model where you make a judgment and then carry out that judgment without further thought to any potential issues that may arise could lead you into problems. Here's an example from an old movie that applies directly to this type of thinking, a scene from "Romancing the Stone" in 1985: At one point, the hero parks his SUV in the middle of the road, just leaving it there while his collection of livestock is left in its cage and meantime, the heroine, who just jumps onto an airline, without ever having left the country before, gets onto the wrong bus which rams the SUV freeing the livestock, wrecking both vehicles. There's a lot of bang-shoot-em-up that follows, but in a macro sense, this is "fast" thinking at its peak. Eventually, something good comes of it, but it does take a bit of the "Slow" thinking and a strong grip by the hero to not only end up with the ultimate goal but a decent pair of boots.

Granted this is a case from the movies and it shows were near vertical fast thinking, running into almost linear slow thinking nearly fail to make the crossing but where they do the result is useful. And, granted this is a Hollywood action thriller and the only reason it is used here is as an example.

If you think about the example and apply Kahneman's work to the rest of the way that daily decisions and thoughts are made, it makes one realize that one some thought can have impacts in areas that are far away from the main line of linear thought. In other words, Kahneman shows, thinking is actually non-linear and involves fast-steps, slow-steps and areas that seem to have to bearing on a problem to begin with but which, when analyzed, are essential to the entire process in general.

Kahneman offers practical insights into the work of critical thought and, in his way, has given "critical thought analysis," whose science some social scientists have devoted tomes to, a new, quicker way to achieve a positive end.

In a lifetime of work, Kahneman's seminal work may not even be the one for which he won his economics prize, but for his work on thought.

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Roberto Sedycias
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Roberto Sedycias works as an IT consultant for

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