Audiobook Review: Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

This is a dense book, over 18 hours of listening time. Where some non-fiction books are simply filler with only one core message, this book is packed with data and examples gathered over a lifetime of research. The Nobel-Prize-winning author has detailed out many of the ways in which human brains routinely fail. We’re excellent at some tasks, and have a very poor ability to do others.

Here’s some key takeaways for me from this book:

  • Humans are terrible at remembering duration of both pain and pleasure, but instead remember the peak and final moments.
  • We are of two minds – an impulsive instinctual mind, and a difficult to engage methodical mind. The methodical mind can reach correct answers but is often influenced unknowingly by the instinctual mind.
  • When faced with a difficult and complicated question, the impulsive mind routinely substitutes a simpler question. Then the rational mind back-calculates and rationalizes the way to the answer arrived at by the simple question.
  • From stock picking to relationship advice, simple heuristics are often superior to both “expert knowledge” and complicated systems.

There is plenty more, and eventually I might give it a second listen. I frequently had to stop listening and digest what I’d heard. Highly recommended.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Audiobook Review: The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer

This book had such a density of personally triggering topics that it was difficult to get through. It starts with the struggles of an artist, discusses self-persecution of impostor syndrome, and winds its way through the heavy topics of cancer and suicide. I found myself holding back tears several times while I listened to Amanda Palmer tell stories from her life.

The book helped me relate to the artists in my life, and made me wish I was able to discuss and apply the things I learned in it with Alex. Excellently written and read, I recommend giving it a read or a listen if you’re friends with anyone who makes art or makes it yourself. (I think that’s most of us.)

The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help