Thinking, Fast and Slow
By: Daniel Kahneman
Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (March 1, 2013)
Thinking, Fast and Slow is a book about how people make decisions. See, we have two mental tracks that are fighting to make our choices. The first is reactionary. The second relies on measured critical thinking. There is a tension to which process overrides which. Does whatever particular situation need an instant decision to keep us alive? Are we filtering out noise? Or, are we taking a test and need to approach it in a different way? This is a story about how our brains are, by default, lazy and emotional.
Two of my favorite quotes:
In addition to making your message simple, try to make it memorable. Put your ideas in verse if you can; they will be more likely to be taken as truth. Participants in a much cited experiment read dozens of unfamiliar aphorisms, such as: Woes unite foes. Little strokes will tumble great oaks. A fault confessed is half redressed. Other students read some of the same proverbs transformed into nonrhyming versions: Woes unite enemies. Little strokes will tumble great trees. A fault admitted is half redressed. The aphorisms were judged more insightful when they rhymed than when they did not.
How much pleasure do you get from your car? An answer came to your mind immediately; you know how much you like and enjoy your car. Now examine a different question: “When do you get pleasure from your car?” The answer to this question may surprise you, but it is straightforward: you get pleasure (or displeasure) from your car when you think about your car, which is probably not very often. Under normal circumstances, you do not spend much time thinking about your car when you are driving it. You think of other things as you drive, and your mood is determined by whatever you think about. Here again, when you tried to rate how much you enjoyed your car, you actually answered a much narrower question: “How much pleasure do you get from your car when you think about it?” The substitution caused you to ignore the fact that you rarely think about your car, a form of duration neglect.