This paper gives a critical review of the scientific non- fictious Thinking, Fast and Slow. It was written by Daniel Kahneman to provide a detailed coverage of the research done by him in the psychological field in which he was well known for. The 499 page text was published by the Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the year 2011. As already highlighted, Thinking, Fast and Slow is an educative novel which gives an in depth encounters of this research and explains the various findings he made during his studies. Some of the major topics covered in the book include, but not limited to cognitive bias, happiness, optimism, framing, substitution, rationality and prospect theory. These are illustrated in a simple manner which can be understood by any kind of reader without many struggles.
Truly, Thinking, Fast and Slow is a text which only reveals both simple and complex matters to do which human life. The scientific concepts conveyed in it are quite relevant to all of us as human beings. In this regard, I would like to strongly agree that is sheds a lot of light on me to understand much about my own life. In other words, it is relevant to my life in the following ways:
First and foremost, Thinking, Fast and Slow teaches me about the prospect theory which accounts for behavioral biases in human beings. As Daniel argues, many people fail to make accurate prospects mainly due to the logical assumptions which may at times be misleading to them. This was a very important lesson to me because it opened my mind to understand more about my personal conducts regarding the logical arguments I have been making as a result of my assumptions and the application of the traditional theoretical concepts of the utility theory (Warren, M., 2004). In deed, Daniel’s assertion on individuals’ responses to real life situations is quite relevant to me. For instance, his explanation that people respond differently to losses and gains is applicable not only to my life, but to any other person I know of. It is the prospect theory which usually compels me to promptly react to prospected gains more vigorously than to the projected losses.
Secondly, I learnt that me, as a human being, undergoes two distinct systems of thought. These closely determine the kind of decision I make regarding most of the matters confronting me in my day to day life hence explaining why I respond differently in a negative and positive manner. According to Daniel, the first system helps me to make automatic, sub conscious, frequent, stereotypic and emotional decisions. These are very crucial lessons because they explain the functioning of an individual while in his unconscious state of action. The second system explains people’s response in a more conscious state thus enabling them to respond in a totally opposite way. They become effortful, calculating and more conscious. This bit enabled me to understand why I always show a lot of contrasting behaviors: at times lazy, strong, weak, conscious, rational and calculative. Meaning, it is only when I respond to the second system when I can make rational decisions in my judgments.
The other important lesson learnt from this book is about the use of heuristics and biases. It is true that many people fail to make well thought conclusions especially when dealing with different situations calling for binary decisions. As a result of Daniel’s explanations, I came to learn that I have been able to make statistical thoughts due to my inability to arrive at a binary decision. Instead, I realized that I have been making a big mistake because most of my conclusions are based on concentrating on outcomes at the expense of making a more informed decision without any such influence. This taught me that I should learn to dissociate outcomes from my mind whenever making any decision which should serve as a solution to the problem at hand. In order to do this well, I should I fully engage my mind into a concrete and abstract reasoning. Otherwise, I can fail to offer a well thought conclusion needed to remedy such a challenging situation (Warren, M., 2004).
Last but not least, I learnt a great lesson about optimism. As a student, I have always had a lot of hopes in myself. This has been so, because of my optimism since I believe that I can do whatever it takes to succeed in most, if not all, of my plans. This is one of the traits which this text is advocating for when he acclaims that optimism is healthy for a human thought. In fact, he is right when he insists that optimism has a substantial role in human life. It exerts a strong control to our live and in most cases assists in confronting loss aversion and enables people not to fear losses so much. This is a very important lesson which should not be overlooked. It sensitizes me that it should always be upon me to be optimistic in my plans. As the author explains, it will not only help me to accomplish my goals, but also help me to lead a more comfortable and healthier life. However, while doing this, I should always try to abide by Daniel’s caution of being unrealistic when formulating my goals. Instead of showing such a planning fallacy, I should set goals which I can always achieve without over burdening myself. Otherwise, failing will distress me and make be a disillusioned fellow in the long run (Warren, M., 2004).
Relevance to Psychology of Personal Effectiveness
As a scientific text, Think Fast and Slow is an invaluable text which can not be overlooked in our Psychology of Personal Effectiveness. All the experiments done by the author are useful because they at least explain a major concept I this class. I would therefore like to assert that it enabled us to make out most of the complex issues pertaining to cognitive development and the process of human thought. The explanations given are relevant in understanding heuristics, biases, anchoring and framing which are some of the major topics in this class.
The reading of this book helped me to understand the anchoring effects on human being. As the lecturer, had earlier informed us, many people have fall victims of this concept mainly because they get overwhelmed by numerical figures before coming into a substantive conclusion (Philip, Q.T. et al., 2008). Therefore, as Daniel explains, individuals have a tendency of being influenced by numbers. This means that they fail to reach a rational decision after a careful thought, a behavior which is not good and should not be condoned because it has no benefits at all. For instance, the example given in this text about magistrates who give long jail sentences only after rolling dice with a high number does not hold water. Instead of doing this, they should boldly come up as professionals to make a rational judgment without overlooking at anything which would otherwise be fruitful.
At the same time, the book proved its relevance to this class when it by exploring the theme of rationality and happiness. Here, the author argues that people tend to develop and nurture certain traits because they bring happiness to them. However, this may be inclusive of rationality and bias situations when people take initiatives to build a schema to one of the traits which will give the most pleasurable out come to them. this is relevant to my class because it sheds more light on the issue of choices. When individuals are given alternatives to choose from, they may either make or fail to make the right choice because of the influences of systems one and two, thus, justifying their decision (Philip, Q.T. et al., 2008).
The above points make this book very important to me. It was well written by a reputable authority who was reporting on a well researched work which of course took him a long time to fully conduct. Actually, Thinking, Fast and Slow is a very interesting text that anyone willing to enjoy himself by getting provocative explanations should strive to read. A part from making positive impacts on their lives, it will entertain them the way it did to me. It should be used as part of curriculum, not only in this subject, but also in any other psychology course.
Philip, Q.T. et al. (2008). Cognitive Psychology. Upper Saddle River: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
Warren, M. (2004). Cognitive psychology and anxiety. Psychiatry, Volume 3, Issue 4, Pages.