Thinking, Fast and Slow
My initial reaction to my wife confronting me about a character flaw is disbelief. Surely she doesn’t know me to be pointing it out. According to Daniel Kahneman in Thinking, Fast and Slow, she’s probably right. In fact, we have an awful time observing ourselves in many areas where most casual observers can pinpoint problems immediately. Why is that?
Thinking, Fast and Slow is an incredible book about how we think in two main ways (fast/slow, system 1/system 2, unconscious/conscious, experiencing self/remembering self) and how that can get us into trouble.
This book contains countless examples of situations that ignite your two methods of thinking. More often than not, the situation would be provided and then Kahneman would walk through exactly what happened in your mind. Our fast method of thinking is what comes to us without our conscious thought. The second method takes a little more time, is usually lazy and doesn’t want to work/think, and igniting it can cause pupil dilation.
For the Books of Titans project, there have been some books that have been important and some that have been enjoyable. Thinking, Fast and Slow was both, and not many books fit that distinction.
It is important because it opens your mind to how it works. I was challenged and amazed throughout the book. For most books, I can list out the two or three key points that made an impact, but for this one, the list would be too long for this review. It is enjoyable because it offers insight to something you think you are intimately acquainted with (your mind), but in reality you aren’t.
There have also been a few books for the Books of Titans project that are so good, they cover the lessons and key takeaways of a number of other good books. This is one of those books. My 2017 reading list contained five or so psychology books similar to this one, but this one blew the others out of the water. In fact, I would way the others can be skipped (Mistakes were Made, The Power of Persuasion, The Age of Propaganda, Hooked) and this one read instead.
I consider this to be the second-best book I’ve read over the past two years as part of this project with Man’s Search for Meaning the only one to beat this. It took me a long time to read the book. I took a copious amount of notes, underlined extensively, and learned a lot. While posting about this book, I also received a number of messages that this book was influential in a number of lives and crucial to some master’s theses.