You get a concept a chapter in this packed book, which covers two broad areas: how the human brain/ mind makes judgements, and how we make choices (aka behavioural economics). Fast thinking is when our automated processor steps in, which is the default because slow thinking – that’s to say, really thinking – is effortful. Trouble is, we mostly aren’t aware which thinking mode we are using, nor of the errors the fast thinking mode can make. The most striking, and original, aspect of this book is the demonstration of the many errors of judgement we can make, either through one of the fast thinking shortcuts – and remember you don’t know you’re doing it – or through how memory works. There’s lots available on behavioural economics (look for books with one-word titles: Nudge, Herd, Freakonomics), a lot less on the thinking stuff; for more of that, read psychologist Guy Claxton’s “Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind”.

Books | October 2012