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Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman · 14 HN comments
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Major New York Times bestseller Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award in 2012 Selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011 A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title One of The Economist 's 2011 Books of the Year One of The Wall Street Journal 's Best Nonfiction Books of the Year 2011 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient Kahneman's work with Amos Tversky is the subject of Michael Lewis's The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation―each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions. Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives―and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is destined to be a classic.
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Hacker News Stories and Comments

All the comments and stories posted to Hacker News that reference this book.
> There is no meaningful data that any hiring process--good or bad--improves the outcome of a hire.

Daniel Kahneman analyzed a bunch of data that lead him to concluded that the typical interview process did nothing to help select the best candidate. There's a chapter about it in Thinking Fast And Slow [1] and the advice he gives is summarized in this article [2]. I remember thinking after reading this book that it was just a matter of time until everyone everywhere would be denouncing interviews but here we are - old habits die hard.



What are you talking about? The article is nearly the exact opposite of what you claim. It says:

> A vast amount of research offers a promise: you are much more likely to find the best candidate if you use this procedure than if you do what people normally do in such situations, which is to go into the interview unprepared and to make choices by an overall intuitive judgment such as "I looked into his eyes and liked what I saw."

the typical interview is a series of unstructured intuitive judgement calls - Kahneman suggests something more like a survey with a strong emphasis on its calibration and isolating/controlling biases. Thinking Fast And Slow goes more in depth on how terrible typical interviews are - the article merely summarizes the advice he provided for what to do instead.
May 07, 2013 · pramodbiligiri on Tailgating YC
>> It’s how the human mind is designed to operate: looking for connections when there’s not enough evidence to support a connection, jumping to conclusions

Psychologist and Nobel econ prize winner Daniel Kahneman has written about this in his book "Thinking, Fast and Slow" [1]. I am currently halfway through this book and it's been an insightful read so far.

[1] -


Thinking Fast and Slow is one of those books that changes your life by permanently altering your worldview. On some level it makes you resent yourself as you start learning how to identify your own biases (and even worse, just how many there are! Good God!) but once the bruises on your ego start fading you'll find that you're a far better person for it.

i am pretty sure you'll find it described in "thinking, fast and slow" by daniel kahneman - (i imagine that the "fast heuristic" is to make immediate, local comparisons, which discounts favour; recognising persistently low prices means more reflection and long-term memory; people use fast heuristics rather than slow logic most of the time).

it's a very good book. i just gave a friend a copy today (if anyone in santiago is looking for a spanish language copy it's sold out in all the shops but still have it in stock - i guess no-one thinks of buying books there!)

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you want to understand more about this (especially economically), Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow spells it out really well:

One major reason why I disagree with the article. Social phenomena are impossible to fully compute as human beings do not just apply to comprehensible laws of physics, but there is a whole different dynamic of behavioral and social factors involved that makes statistic modelling a great deal more complex. Unlike the author I also do not think that this problem can just be resolved with technical means, there will always be uncertainty about human behavior and thus Black Swans.
Ya, this part irked me the most:

"Traditional financial analysis, she said, is based on evaluating existing statistical data about past events. In her view, analysts can better anticipate market failures – like the financial crisis that began in 2008 – by recognizing precursors and warning signs, and factoring them into a systemic probabilistic analysis."

So, let's say you do provide a systemic probabilistic analysis about the impending education crisis the US is about hit? Don't you think a government would be gnawing their hands off to get that type of statistical analysis? Personally, I don't think it systematically exists.

Thanks for the feedback!

- Yeah, we were afraid that the name is too clever for System 1 [1] to understand. On the other hand it feels good once you get it and it makes you feel kinda like a photography insider :) Also I'm not a native English speaker, but my English friends could pronounce it even without having an idea about d.o.f.

- There is no single particularly clever part about this, just the G+ style grid made possible by on-the-fly image rendering/resizing with [2] and the absence of chrome/distractions. My company is working on a much more advanced photo hosting solution and we basically launched this to have a really minimalistic service to which we will be able to trickle down advanced behind-the-curtain stuff once it is proven to work for users.

- will check out thanks!

[1] [2] - these guys are just starting out so it is bumpy sometimes, but I've been recommending them because it is such a good idea

Biologically, fear, not panic, makes you vigilant. One way to think about it, in good times you can afford to waste resources trying all sorts of random stuff. In bad times, every last scrap counts.

There's a book i've been enjoying [Thinking Fast and Slow]( that addresses this in great detail.

I seem to recall reading this in Thinking Fast and Slow[1], but I can't find an online citation and only have the book in dead-tree form at home.

I suspect it falls into this general realm:

edit: Specifically I believe I recall this (from the linked Wikipedia page) in Thinking Fast and Slow:

One of the first and most classic examples of effort justification is Aronson and Mills's study.[2] A group of young women who volunteered to join a discussion group on the topic "Psychology of Sex" were asked to do a small reading test to make sure they were not too embarrassed to talk about sexual-related topics with others. The mild-embarrassment condition subjects were asked to read aloud a list of sex-related words such as "prostitute" or "virgin". The severe-embarrassment condition subjects were asked to read aloud a list of highly sexual words (e.g. "fuck", "cock") and to read two vivid descriptions of sexual activity taken from contemporary novels. All subjects then listened to a recording of a discussion about "Sexual Behavior in Animals" which was dull and unappealing. When asked to rate the group and its members, control and mild-embarrassment groups did not differ, but the severe-embarrassment group's ratings were significantly higher. This group, whose initiation process was more difficult (embarrassment = effort), had to increase their subjective value of the discussion group to resolve the dissonance.

The cited study is: Aronson, E., & Mills, J. (1959) The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a group. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology ,59, 177-181.


Sounds like a System 1 vs. System 2 conflict: And not even a particularly interesting or surprising one, really.
Absolutely phenomenal book! Highly recommend reading.
AFAIK, system two is not immune to cruft...
Can you go into more detail? Specifically, how does this differ from the second page if the article, where it discusses (somewhat refutes) learned concepts that override naive concepts taking longer just because the pathways aren't as strongly connected?

I have no idea what System 1 vs System 2 thinking is, much less how it applies in this case.

There is no such thing as "consistently happy." If you're interested in the subject, I recommend paying attention to Daniel Kahneman's work instead of vapid self-helpy blog posts.

If you find this interesting, there is a great book called "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman[1]. Highly recommend it if you're interested in understanding buying behavior and the psychology behind many of these economic decisions. It's also largely based on the research from Richard Thaler in his book Nudge.[2]



Hm, I don't think rationality and objectivism are quite the same thing. I was thinking more along the lines of


What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought by Keith R. Stanovich

is great, as is Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Daniel Kahneman talks about the planning fallacy as well as many other biases and faulty heuristics we use when making decisions and predictions in "Thinking Fast and Slow"
McArdle has also written about this kind of stuff before: ; :

I've had about ten requests from men to explain the phrase "winning the cocktail party". None from women.

A male friend, who spends a not inconsiderable time cruising feminist sites, was one of those who asked what it meant. I find it odd to realize that most men don't observe something that is obvious to every woman I know: that there is a competitive male dynamic to groups that is completely different from the way female groups act. They don't know, of course, because unless the group is overwhelmingly female, the dynamic of any mixed group always defaults to male, with women fading back into supporting conversational roles. Maybe it's the kind of thing you can only observe by contrast to the extremely anti-competitive nature of female groups.

The easiest way to put it (and this is hardly original) is that men in groups are focused on their role within the group. Women in groups are focused on the group. Men gain status by standing out from the group; women gain status by submerging themselves into it--by strengthening the group, often at the expense of themselves.

Both these styles have advantages and drawbacks. I'm not trying to establish that one is better than the other. But I'm kind of shocked, though I shouldn't be, to realize that men don't even see it, the way they don't see catcalling, because it never happens when they're around.

I've seen this kind of behavior a lot more often since I began looking for it.

BTW, if you're interested in cognitive biases more generally, check out Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow (

"women gain status by submerging themselves into it--by strengthening the group, often at the expense of themselves."

Sorry, but that is complete bullshit. I have seen power struggles in female groups often enough.

> I've seen this kind of behavior a lot more often since I began looking for it.

When females will start choosing the shy, introvert male individual over the confident, extrovert, win-it-all male than these sort of things won't happen anymore. Otherwise, it's just animal nature to behave in this manner.

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