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Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman A wonderful read that gives a peek into the way people think and make decisions.

The book describes the two ways the mind can work: a "system 1" that reacts automatically, quickly, and with no control (e.g. reading text, solving 2+2) and a "system 2" that is slower, more methodical, and requires effort (e.g. solving a logic puzzle, calculating 27*34). We assume that we make most decisions via system 2, but the reality is that we're all lazy, and rely on system 1 far more often. This isn't always bad - in fact, system 1 usually does just fine - but there are many cases where we can go astray.

These include heuristics and biases that everyone should be aware of: anchoring effects, availability bias, substitution, loss aversion, framing, and sunk cost fallacy.

Some great quotes:

“A reliable way of making people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.”

“This is the essence of intuitive heuristics: when faced with a difficult question, we often answer an easier one instead, usually without noticing the substitution.”

“Odd as it may seem, I am my remembering self, and the experiencing self, who does my living, is like a stranger to me.”

“We marvel at the story of the firefighter who has a sudden urge to escape a burning house just before it collapses, because the firefighter knows the danger intuitively, “without knowing how he knows.” However, we also do not know how we immediately know that a person we see as we enter a room is our friend Peter.”

“we can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.”