i-can™ Book of the Month: Thinking Fast and Slow

Imagine a person who gets things done quickly with the help of intuition and emotions, but isn’t always the best at accuracy.  Now imagine that person living with their roommate who likes to do things slowly with logic and deliberation.  What do you think their relationship would look like?

No, this is not an Odd Couple-like sitcom.  This is your brain.

March’s  i-can™ Book of the Month is brought to us by a winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics.  It illustrates these two “systems” and how they help (or hinder) your decision making process from what you choose to eat to how you play the stock market.

The Book
Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow

What it’s about
Thinking Fast and Slow describes two “systems” inside our brain and moves into exploring how those parts of the brain can be tricked into leading us down the path of fallacies in situations from hiring to evaluating how happy our life is.

i-can™ Take-a-ways

  1. Context matters. When you are problem-solving, you will be influenced by everything from your mood, to previous problems that seem like the current problem, to how you feel about the people involved.
  2. When the outcome of a decision is important, slow down.  As the author says on page 417, “The way to block errors that originate in System 1 <the fast system> is simple in principal: recognize the signs that you are in a cognitive minefield, slow down, and ask for reinforcement from System 2.” However, this is actually very hard in novel situations, so be kind to yourself and be ready to take what you learn from any whoopses into the next similar context.
  3. Help children to begin to navigate their two systems by getting them used to thinking about bias and the “whys” behind their opinions.

Dive in if…

you’re ready to really sink your teeth into a lot of neuroscience, phycology, and economics research that will have you examining your own decision making processes.


if you’d like to make the author’s hope in writing the book come true by having some new concepts to bring to the conversation during the “water-cooler” moments at work when discussing judgements and decisions.


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