Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

19 Aug 2014

I’d rate this 5 stars, but the book was so dense with useful information that I felt overloaded at times.

Are you someone who wonders about the nature of knowledge, and how you make decisions? Do you check your statements in order to maintain logical consistency? If so, you will be very interested in this book and the research that Kahneman presents (much of which he pioneered) and its relationship to behavioral economics.

If you aren’t interested in the above, but would like to learn more about how to frame your requests so that people will be more receptive to them, tactics for avoiding verbal and emotional manipulation, or the myth of the human being as a “rational agent”, pick this book up!

I think the most interesting subject was regression to the mean, which definitely makes sense from a statistical point of view, but the example he presented was so clear that it blew my mind.

It goes something like this: he tells a group that it’s better to motivate through positive reinforcement. Someone counters and says that it seems like when he compliments someone for doing well, they do worse later, and when he chews someone out for something, they do better the next time. Kahneman counters citing regression to the mean. If someone is doing above average, the next time it is likely they will be doing worse (towards the average). If someone is doing poorly, the next time it is likely they will do better (towards the average)–brilliant and succinct ammunition for my future discussions.

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