Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman (2012) Thinking, Fast and Slow. Penguin Books, London.ISBN 978-0-141-03357-0.

I am currently reading this book. I am finding it extremely interesting. Understanding how and why we make choices, is important for everybody. If you are a scientist or aspire to be one in the future, understanding why we accept more readily some experimental results than others, why we are more comfortable with some hypotheses than others, is of fundamental importance, both to guard against bias, and to be able to present our new ideas in a way that will make them more acceptable.

If you are a teacher or aspire to be one in the future, understanding how we can make ideas easier to remember, or how to trigger rational versus intuitive functioning of the brain of those who listen to us, or those who read what we write, will be very useful.

If you are a student, you will will learn when to be on guard, to avoid intuition leading you into wrong answers. You will learn how to write in a way that triggers positive “feelings” in a reader, and why apparently unimportant things like the choice of font may affect how what you write is assessed and graded (without the person doing the grading even noticing…)

Many of these effects are usually subtle, and not too large under “normal” circumstances, but understanding how humans (and other organisms) make decisions is very important when we need to make rational decisions and aim at being objective. The book also discusses to some extent why two contrasting systems for thinking may have evolved.

There is a review of the book by a statistician at http://www.burns-stat.com/review-thinking-fast-slow-daniel-kahneman/

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