Thinking, Fast and Slow Book Summary - Thinking, Fast and Slow Book explained in key points
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Thinking, Fast and Slow summary

Daniel Kahneman

Intuition or deliberation? Where you can (and can't) trust your brain

4.5 (5492 ratings)
28 mins

Brief summary

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman is a groundbreaking book that explores how our brain processes information and makes decisions, using two systems: fast, intuitive thinking and slow, deliberate thinking. It challenges our assumptions about human behavior and offers insights into how we can improve our decision-making skills.

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    Thinking, Fast and Slow
    Summary of 12 key ideas

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    Of two minds: how our behavior is determined by two different systems – one automatic and the other considered.

    There is a compelling drama going on in our minds, a filmlike plot between two main characters with twists, dramas and tensions. These two characters are the impulsive, automatic, intuitive System 1, and the thoughtful, deliberate, calculating System 2. As they play off against each other, their interactions determine how we think, make judgments and decisions, and act.

    System 1 is the part of our brain that operates intuitively and suddenly, often without our conscious control. You can experience this system at work when you hear a very loud and unexpected sound. What do you do? You probably immediately and automatically shift your attention toward the sound. That’s System 1.

    This system is a legacy of our evolutionary past: there are inherent survival advantages in being able to make such rapid actions and judgments.

    System 2 is what we think of when we visualize the part of the brain responsible for our individual decision-making, reasoning and beliefs. It deals with conscious activities of the mind such as self-control, choices and more deliberate focus of attention.

    For instance, imagine you’re looking for a woman in a crowd. Your mind deliberately focuses on the task: it recalls characteristics of the person and anything that would help locate her. This focus helps eliminate potential distractions, and you barely notice other people in the crowd. If you maintain this focused attention, you might spot her within a matter of minutes, whereas if you’re distracted and lose focus, you’ll have trouble finding her.

    As we'll see in the following blinks, the relationship between these two systems determines how we behave.

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    What is Thinking, Fast and Slow about?

    Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) – a recapitulation of the decades of research that led to Kahneman's winning the Nobel Prize – explains his contributions to our current understanding of psychology and behavioral economics. Over the years, the research of Kahneman and his colleagues has helped us better understand how decisions are made, why certain judgment errors are so common, and how we can improve ourselves. 

    A note to readers: this Blink was redone especially for audio. This is the reason why the text version might differ from the audio version. If you’re trying to decide whether to listen or to read, we highly recommend listening!

    Thinking, Fast and Slow Review

    Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) explores the two systems that shape our thinking and decision-making processes, providing valuable insights for anyone interested in understanding the workings of the mind. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • It unveils the hidden biases that influence our thoughts and actions, shedding light on the unconscious patterns that drive our behavior.
    • By drawing on a wide range of research studies and experiments, the book offers a comprehensive understanding of how our minds work, challenging conventional wisdom.
    • With its thought-provoking ideas and practical implications, the book sets the stage for self-reflection, transforming the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us.

    Best quote from Thinking, Fast and Slow

    A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.

    —Daniel Kahneman
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    Who should read Thinking, Fast and Slow?

    • Anyone interested in the human mind 
    • People curious about how we make judgments
    • Students of psychology and behavioral economics

    About the Author

    Daniel Kahneman, PhD, won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002. He is the Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs Emeritus at the Woodrow Wilson School, Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Princeton University, and a fellow of the Center for Rationality at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

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    Thinking, Fast and Slow FAQs 

    What is the main message of Thinking, Fast and Slow?

    The main message of Thinking, Fast and Slow is that our decision-making is influenced by two different thinking systems: fast, intuitive thinking and slow, deliberate thinking.

    How long does it take to read Thinking, Fast and Slow?

    The reading time for Thinking, Fast and Slow varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Thinking, Fast and Slow a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Thinking, Fast and Slow is a thought-provoking book that offers deep insights into human decision-making. It is definitely worth reading for anyone interested in understanding the intricacies of our thought processes.

    Who is the author of Thinking, Fast and Slow?

    The author of Thinking, Fast and Slow is Daniel Kahneman.

    What to read after Thinking, Fast and Slow?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Thinking, Fast and Slow, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Mindset by Carol Dweck
    • Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
    • 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do by Amy Morin
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    • How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes