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‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman



Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ was discussed at this month’s Book Club on the 3rd of September with readers joining the discussion in-person as well as through Zoom. This was our first physical gathering since the Covid-19 outbreak.

Kahneman analyzes the two innate systems of thinking within humans with ‘System 1’ doing the fast, instinctive and emotional thinking while ‘System 2’ does the slower, deliberative, and more logical thinking. The Nobel Laureate also talks about Prospect Theory, Utility, priming and many other fascinating topics regarding the nuances of thinking throughout the remainder of the book.

For most of the session we emphasized on Parts 1 and 4, which explains the two systems in detail (Part 1) and studies how people make choices in different scenarios with an in-depth analysis of the factors influencing such choices (Part 4). This opened up a conversation about how the two types of thinking can be applied to a practical situation such as voting and policy making in a system that practices democracy. We also argued about the extent to which emotion can influence either types of thinking and questioned whether rationality was the only viable prerequisite for successful decision making.

Another major point of discussion was priming. In the current status quo, advertising is intrinsically entangled with the concept of priming. Case studies of ‘Ferrari’ and their ‘prancing horse’ was used to explain the strength of branding and how people are susceptible to manipulation from extensive marketing campaigns despite being aware of the science behind it by reading literature like ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’. In light of the growth of social media and the internet, the degree to which manipulation of the masses can be curbed through the dissemination of  information pertaining to the vulnerabilities of human psychology was questioned as well.

The discussion shifted its focus later on to other topics such as the role of ‘luck’ in political contexts.

This session featured a few newcomers and many more refreshing insights! If you’d like to join our book club sessions and become a regular member, just drop us an email at info@nightwatchmansociety.org .