“Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman
Most of us like to believe that we make decisions more rationally than emotionally. I certainly like to think so about myself. I have to tell you that this book has slightly rocked my thinking. I am becoming more convinced by this look at the psychology of decision making that far more of my choices are gut reactions that I later try to rationalize. Daniel Kahneman makes a very convincing argument that people are incredibly quick to jump to conclusions, make decisions without enough information, and have their decisions greatly influenced by the first information that they are given.
We will even be influenced in our decision making by information that has nothing to do with the decision we must make. One example that I loved was a study done in which people were asked, “was Gandhi older or younger that 144 years when he died?” Obviously the answer is less than 144. Those same people were then asked how old they thought he was when he died and far and away people picked numbers in the 80’s and 90’s. A second group was asked, “was Gandhi older or younger than 44 when he died?” Most said older. When asked how old they thought he was when he died a vast majority of the answers were that he was in his 50’s. What is shows is that people were highly influenced in their decision by a number that was in their head yet had nothing to do reality and should have had no impact on their choice. This has practical application in everyday life because marketers know that we make decisions these ways and they will use everything in their power to subtlety manipulate us into a decision that favors them.
There are also huge implications in what Kahneman say when it comes to race relations and other interactions with people who are different from us. We will use limited information to make decisions about someone. Can we trust them? Are they friendly? Are they competent? Not only do we make these decision on race relations but on who we vote for and want to work with. All of this has caused me to try to slow down my gut reaction and think through my biases and preconceived notions.
This is a book that will cause you to rethink how you make decisions. Your gut reaction at times will be to say that you are not a person who jumps to conclusions or reacts emotionally first. Slow down your process a bit and read the book. What I am sure you will find is that you are more like that than you ever thought.
Here is a link to Amazon if you want to check out some other reviews for the book – Thinking, Fast and Slow