Thinking, Fast and Slow

thinking fast and slowThinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, 5/5

Writing in a style that is almost preternaturally coherent, practical and unpretentious, Kahneman examines the workings of the human mind in terms of System 1 (fast, intuitive, automatic) and System 2 (slow, effortful, rational, analytical).   He uses many entertaining examples and experiments to reveal inconsistencies, fallacies and irrationalities in human heuristics, such as:

~What You See Is All There Is (85): automatically assuming that whatever info you have immediate access to is all the relevant info there is.
~Law of Small Numbers (112): underestimating adequate sample sizes by relying on intuition.
~Bias of Confidence Over Doubt (113): a natural tendency towards overconfidence, not doubt.
~Cause and Chance (114): incorrectly identifying random sequences as causal patterns.
~Anchors (119): being unconsciously influenced by irrelevant numbers.
~Availability (129): being influenced by the ease with which specific instances/examples come to mind.
~Representativeness (149): ignoring base rates in favor of merely assessing how well something’s description fits a sterotype.
~Less is More (156): judging a more specific/complicated conjunction of events as more probable than a simpler event.  For example, thinking it is more probable that Linda is a “feminist bank teller” than a “bank teller.”
~Regression to the Mean (175): extreme values are likely to be followed by less extreme values that are closer to the mean.
~Hindsight Bias (202): misremembering one’s past beliefs/thoughts in order to make them consistent with how events actually turned out.
~Illusion of Validity/Skill (209): believing in the validity of one’s faulty heuristics, despite proof of the opposite.
~Intuitions vs. Formulas (222): when uncertainty and unpredictability create “low-validity environments,” simple algorithms are more accurate than “expert” intuitions.
~Expert Intuition (240): intuitive judgment is reliable when it is the result of receiving immediate feedback during prolonged practice in a regular environment.
~Outside View (245): evaluating individual cases in light of existing statistics for similar cases.

^^^ …happened to me almost every chapter.  Seriously, this book is like a manual for the human brain and should be handed out as required reading to all human users.


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