Author : Daniel Kahneman ISBN : 0374275637 Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Thinking, Fast and Slow is an illuminating piece of work by Daniel Kahneman, also a practicing psychologist himself, who was awarded a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, in 2002. The contents that are projected in the book represent the author's analytical interpretation of the data acquired by careful observation of the mind's functioning. The author is known to be one of the most efficient thinkers today; having brought in significant changes in the operational systems of various sub-sectors of profession, his philosophies and principles have practically influenced commerce as well as politics. The book illustrates the working of our mind and the psychic defense system that constantly perceives extrasensory inputs, and shows an evident link between the time taken for judgments and the quality of the resulting understanding.

The author puts forth the working of two sub-systems that initiate the activities of the mind, classifying these sub-systems as fast and slow, where an imbalanced working gives rise to option-decision malfunction. The author interprets that the first system, the fast one, is driven by intuitive, metaphorical, and emotional thought processes. The nature of functioning of this system is in fact automatic, which means that these drives have no intentional control and can't be switched off. Whereas, the other part of the mind which is slow, logical, and complex is the very conscious being that portrays the self aspect of an individual. System 2 often takes over when a given situation needs careful analysis, where its willingness to participate in the decision-making process is indefinite. And here is where the author's analysis comes into picture. He says that we ought to regulate the working of our mind so that both system 1 and 2 are fairly used to ensure a balanced functioning.

Kahneman explains that the second system is merely a supporting character that often misperceives its role as the lead, and gradual intension of such impulses leads to ignorance and thus gives rise to the amassment of a thick fog between one's ego and the real world.

Giving up to the auto-populated psychic drives marked by emotions at improper times is a persisting problem amongst all individuals. Acceptance without ado consideration marks the prominent human irrationality, which remains as the author's theme. Thinking, Fast and Slow aims for an awakening in the human realm, where distorted judgments are constantly corroding the environment's interface. Erroneous reasoning can lead to a serious state where the subject becomes a victim of his own fallacies, gradually widening the gap of indecision within oneself.

The author discloses the dangers of common thought patterns such as assumption, anticipation, and judgment, and takes the readers for a jaunt within themselves to realize that man's battle with mind speaks of oneness and balance. Kahneman efficiently describes the consequences of a fast-thinking mind and unveils its inability to accurately gauge the risk factors involved in a given situation. The book is certainly illuminating and one is most likely to find a way to resolve his conflicts, internal as well as external, through cogitative self-analysis that is bound to subject the reader to the optimized utilization of his tool, the mind.

Nhut Pham

Nhut Pham

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