Ayesha's Reviews > Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
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really liked it

I'm pleased to say I've finished this book because there was a time I thought I wouldn't. Someone asked me last week what it was like reading this; I responded "It's like I'm at war with it."

Initially I found it difficult to get into but once you get into the flow of it, after much persistence, it is a joy. It posits many examples from daily life that cause you to contemplate the way the world works. It's a book of behavioural economics.

I learnt many things from it and that's probably the number one reason I'm grateful to this book, namely that there is such a thing as "neuroeconomics"!

This book can be very unforgiving to begin with and that's why I can imagine a lot of people would give up. For your many hours of effort you will advance only very little through this text. This is because every page presents new information to you and demands you understand it before moving on. However I appreciate there are times when you actually WANT to read a book you can wrestle with.

My problem is he writes like a psychologist. He will begin a paragraph by introducing a concept, throw some research at you (either someone else's or often times his own) and then end the paragraph with "there, see!" — except you really don't see.

I think the issue may have been that the book I read before this one was so incredibly well-written; the author explained new concepts and took you with him. The book was about HOW to write well and so with this book I couldn't help but notice flaws in style. This author explains a concept and then moves on, not particularly bothered if you're with him or not. I felt as if I was struggling to keep up with him in a race. But he was worth listening to and so I kept running after him.

I feel like I would have understood the content better had I received it in the form of a lecture rather than text; the author described talks he'd given at conferences and I wondered if I would have understood the concept better had I been in that audience. I think it is likely. It seems the kind of topic best explained when spoken.

Due to the lengthy duration it would probably take most readers to complete this book, by the time you reach the concluding chapter where he summarises, you won't remember any of the concepts he is bringing together. It didn't take my that long to read this book and I was quite consistent with it, yet despite that fact I found it difficult to follow his conclusions. Again, he writes like a psychologist; this isn't the end of an article which we can quickly skim over to refresh our memories — it's a book. You can't conclude as if we understand you.

This book is one that definitely needs to be re-read, perhaps several times, in order to be fully grasped. I don't have plans to do that in the near future following this gruelling experience, however one day I may return to certain chapters to refresh my memory of interesting ideas.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants something to wrestle with. It is very rewarding and the ideas described were useful for someone like me who likely won't read other texts like it.
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Reading Progress

April 27, 2016 – Started Reading
April 27, 2016 – Shelved
July 30, 2016 –
page 330
66.13% "Initially I complained how hard this book was to read; although I have been telling everyone that it has taken me many hours to reach this stage, I am telling them about it which means something. It is a good read and the effort is worth it. However I'm not sure I have absorbed the ideas and understood the author with complete clarity — I feel as though I need to begin the book again! But cannot imagine doing so."
August 9, 2016 – Finished Reading

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