Although his book may at first glance appear to be aimed at business people and economists it gradually becomes obvious that absolutely anyone could relate to the book’s principal ideas, and could benefit from an understanding of the psychological theories described. As doctors we need to make quick decisions about patients as well as the interpretation of clinical information and statistics. We expect our decisions to be based on experience, intuition and knowledge. However the conclusions each person draws are different and this book clearly describes the possible reasons why.
Our brains are tainted by presumptions and are subconsciously influenced by what we are exposed to in our daily lives. This is partly about cognitive bias, which Kahneman describes in the first part of this book. If you are a person who questions what is happening around you, and is interested in understanding your own thought processes with a view to improving judgment, you will be enlightened.
Absolutely anyone could relate to the book’s principal ideas, and could benefit from an understanding of the psychological theories described
Take for example the effect of cognitive bias: it can lead to mistakes, inaccurate judgments, irrational behaviour and illogical conclusions. Perhaps we know that we are influenced by what is around us – that isn’t a new idea – but what is so powerful about this book is that it points out totally unexpected and unpredictable influences on our state of mind. When a patient walks into a room there are hundreds of reasons why you may come to a conclusion – by understanding those reasons perhaps you can check yourself – that is, think slow, rather than fast, and make better judgments.
The reader may be put off by the potential of complex ‘science bits’ and long words – this is not something to be worried about. It is a bestseller because it is accessible, written in an informal way, each chapter peppered with example questions, scenarios, and details of experiments that clarify the arguments made for each of the theories.
Today our minds are heavily bombarded by mass media and marketing, and Kahneman’s book also helps us unravel the decisions we make outside the workplace. After reading the book perhaps having an understanding of these shortcomings will make us question our decision-making, our behavioural responses and our confidence in judgments, but hopefully in a positive way.