Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking Fast and Slow from Daniel Kahneman is a book that examines human rationality and how due to the way our brains operate we do not always act in ways which would be considered by an outsider to be rational.   I originally heard this as an audio book listening to it while travelling between Abu Dhabi and Dubai during 2015.   I enjoyed it that much I went out and purchased it, and in fact due to a moment of forgetfulness I purchased it twice.


The books uses the idea of the brain having two agents or operating modes, being Agent 1 and Agent 2 as the two ways that we think, fast and slow.     The book is very useful in explaining how we can reach effective decisions quickly however the existence of weaknesses in this approach in certain situations.

Generally the book doesn’t focus on education however it does refer to education in places.    Ideas such as the priming effect, halo effect, cognitive ease, etc all have clear implications in the classroom in considering how students learn.

I particularly enjoyed Kahnemans discussion of how our intuitive answer to statistical questions are often incorrect and based on readily available and believable causal explanation rather than the facts at hand.    I feel this is quite often the case when we look at standardised tests and school data, where we establish the cause for results or trends despite the fact that given the number of variable in play there may be a significant number of alternative causes which unfortunately just don’t come to mind so readily.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book however I will warn how that it is quite a heavy book to get through especially in the last third or so.

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