Book review: Thinking, Fast and Slow

Emma De Vita reviews the new book by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow
Thinking, Fast and Slow

Every now and then, every manager should set aside the usual 'how-to' book and reach instead for a chunky 'think' book - because thinking deeply and laterally can give you the perspective to understand a bit more about how you behave. And behaviour is what management is all about.

The author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, is a psychologist who has won the Nobel Prize for Economics, and this book presents his life's work. He believes that we operate two ways of thinking: the first way, called System 1, is quick and intuitive; the second way, System 2, is slower and more logical.

For every decision we make, we move between both systems of thinking until one or other wins. This helps to explain why we respond better to threat than to reward - which debunks a lot of current thinking about how to motivate your employees; it also explains why, when we're asked a difficult question, we instead answer an easier one of our own construction.

What this book does is force you to think about how you make decisions at work and be aware of instances where you would be better off forcing yourself to think slowly rather than rashly. Ponder on.

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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