Thinking Fast and Slow

This book is a bit pointless, but one big takeaway: there are two types of systems of thinking.

  • System 1 thinking (fast thinking): Driving a car. You’re on autopilot. You can have a conversation with your partner in the passenger’s seat while you’re driving, you can eat a burger (dangerous) or drink a latte (less dangerous). Alternatively: sitting at your desk writing out some API endpoints.
  • System 2 thinking (slow thinking): Deliberate, analytical, deep thinking. You’re driving and you get to a place where there’s an unexpected construction site, or you’re driving through a snow storm. It requires your full analytical attention. Alternatively: coming up with a system design for an end-to-end encrypted file store.

This book also covers some good concepts cherry-picked from the field of psychology, and how it affects decision-making in the workplace. Such as:

  • Anchoring bias: The tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information encountered (the “anchor”) when making decisions.
  • Availability Heuristic: The tendency to overestimate the likelihood of events based on their availability in memory, often influenced by recent exposure or vividness.
  • Representativeness Heuristic: The tendency to judge the probability of an event by how much it resembles other events or categories, often leading to neglect of base rates and statistical principles. People have a very strong tendency to ignore or undervalue general statistical information (base rates) in favor of specific information or anecdotes.
  • Loss Aversion: People tend to prefer avoiding losses rather than acquiring equivalent gains; losses are felt more intensely than gains.
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