Thinking Fast and Slow - by Daniel Kahneman



my notes:

System 1: operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control

System 2: allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. Agency, choice and concentration.

One further limitation of System 1 is that it cannot be turned off. If you are shown a word on the screen in a language you know, you will read it - unless your attention is totally focused elsewhere.

There is only one thing you can do: you must learn to mistrust your impressions.

Anything that occupies your working memory reduces your ability to think.

System 2 is the only one that can follow rules, compare objects on several attributes, and make deliberate choices between options. The automatic system 1 does not have these capabilities.

People who are cognitively busy are also more likely to make selfish choices, use sexist language, and make superficial judgements in social situations.

Too much concern about how well one is doing in a task sometimes disrupts performance by loading short term memory with pointless anxious thoughts.

Many people are overconfident, prone to place too much faith in their intuitions. They apparently find cognitive effort at least mildly unpleasant and avoid it as much as possible.

The notion that we have limited access to the workings of our minds is difficult to accept because it is alien to our experience, but it is true: you know far less about yourself than you feel you do.

If you care about being thought credible and intelligent, do not use complex language where simpler language will do.

We know that it is system 1 because you were not aware of the choice or of the possibility of another interpretation.

System 1 bets on an answer, and the bets are guided by experience. The rules of the betting are intelligent: recent events and the current context have the most weight in determining an interpretation.

System 1 does not keep track of alternatives that it rejects, or even of the fact that there were alternatives. 

The standard practice of open discussion gives too much weight to the opinions of those who speak early and assertively, causing others to line up behind them.

System 1 excels at constructing the best possible story that incorporates ideas currently activated but it does not allow for information it does not have.

The normal state of your mind is that you have intuitive feelings and opinions about almost everything that comes your way.

Whether you state them or not, you often have answers to questions that you do not completely understand, relying on evidence that you can neither explain nor defend.

I call the operation of answering one question in place of another substitution.

A judgement that is based on substitution will inevitably be biased in predictable ways.

Our predilection for causal thinking exposes us to serious mistakes in evaluating the randomness of truly random events.

If you follow your intuition, you will more often than not err by misclassifying a random event as systematic. We are far too willing to reject the belief that much of what we see in life is random.

The anchoring effect occurs when people consider a particular value for an unknown quantity before estimating that quantity. The estimates stay close to the number that people considered - hence the image of an anchor.

You are always aware of the anchor and even pay attention to it, but you do not know how it guides and constrains your thinking, because you cannot imagine how you would have thought if the anchor had been different. 

You should assume that any number that is on the table has had an anchoring effect on you, and if the stakes are high you should mobilize yourself to combat the effect.

Maintaining one’s vigilance against biases is a chore - but the chance to avoid a costly mistake is sometimes worth the effort.

You will occasionally do more than your share, but it is useful to know that you are likely to have that feeling even when each member of the team feels the same way.

The proof that you truly understand a pattern of behavior is that you know how to reverse it.

System 2 can reset the expectations of System 1 on the fly, so that an event that would normally be surprising is now almost normal.

Be warned: your intuitions will deliver predictions that are too extreme and you will be inclined to put far too much faith in them.

Once you adopt a new view of the world, you immediately lose much of your ability to recall what you used to believe before your mind changed.

For some of our most important beliefs we have no evidence at all, except that people we love and trust hold these beliefs.

Subjective confidence is not a good diagnostic of accuracy: judgements that answer the wrong question can also be made with high confidence.

Tastes and decisions are shaped by memories and the memories can be wrong.

Focusing Illusion:   Nothing in life is important as you think it is when you are thinking about it.

The word ‘happiness’ does not have a simple meaning and should not be used as if it does.

The way to block errors that originate in System 1 is simple in principle: recognize the signs that you are in a cognitive minefield, slow down, and ask for help from System 2.

There is much to be done to improve decision making. One example out of many is the remarkable absence of systematic training for the essential skill of conducting efficient meetings.