Daniel Kahneman is a psychologist and economist notable for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, as well as behavioral economics.
quick & compact
1 Big Idea
Thinking fast and slow is a book on behavioral psychology and decision-making by Daniel Kahneman. In his book, he takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional thinking while system 2 is slower, more deliberative, and rational. These are constantly fighting over control of your behavior and actions. Kahneman teaches the many ways in which this leads to error in memory, judgment, and decisions, and what you can do about it.
2 inspiring quotes
“The easiest way to increase happiness is to control your use of time. Can you find more time to do the things you enjoy doing?”
“The confidence that individuals have in their beliefs depends mostly on the quality of the story they can tell about what they see, even if they see little.”
3 actionable takeaways
When you are “making sense of something”, you are thinking about it… But with two cognitive systems and only one mind, it is good to know which one is in charge at that moment. It is easy to move from system 2 to system 1 without realizing it; this is what happens for example when you are distracted or tired and can’t concentrate on a task.
Action: Do you remember the last time that you switched from system 2 to system 1 when trying to make a decision? In which situations do you think it is important to stay rational instead of emotional when making decisions?
Our memory is a machine that makes constant connections. When we hear one idea, it activates other ideas nearby in our mind. One result is that ideas we have heard repeatedly before can feel intuitively true, only because they spark recognition. Kahneman calls this Cognitive Ease and mostly attributes it to system 1.
Action: Do you caught yourself on believing ideas just because you have heard them before and not necessarily because they are based on facts and rational thinking? What can you do to activate system 2 at such moments and shut off system 1?
After knowing that your brain has two systems on which decisions and thoughts are based, you might think: can I choose which system my brain uses? In his book, Kahneman gives advice on how you can switch between system 1 and system 2 thinking.
Action: To get your brain into system 1, try looking at repetitive information. Our brains have evolved to react positively when a message is repeated to us, as we see nothing bad happens from it. If you want to get your brain using system 2 to solve a problem, expose yourself to information that is presented in a more complex way. Your brain will perk up and start using more energy for the task at hand.