Spencer Schar is an entrepreneur who enjoys reading in his spare time, having recently enjoyed Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. This article will take a closer look at the concepts explored in Kahneman’s book, exploring key differences between the two modes of thought. The attached PDF contains more information about the author and psychologist Daniel Kahneman, providing an overview of his best-known works.

Published in 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow featured in the New York Times Bestseller List, with the book having sold more than a million copies to date. It has been reviewed by The New York Times, Bloomberg, The New York Review of Books, Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Independent and The Financial Times, as well as academic journals such as The Michigan Law Review, The American Economist, The Journal of Economic Literature, American Journal of Education, and The American Journal of Psychology. The attached video takes a closer look at The American Journal of Psychology and its history and impact today.

In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman describes two different thought processes. With System 1, the brain forms thoughts quickly, automatically, stereotypically, and unconsciously, with Kahneman citing examples such as reading text on a billboard, driving on an empty road, determining the distance of objects, and localizing the source of a specific sound.

System 2, on the other hand, involves slower and more effortful thought processes that occur infrequently, consciously, calculatingly, and logically. Examples include an athlete preparing themselves for the start of a sprint, a driver parking in a tight parking space, and an individual trying to recognize a sound or sustaining a faster-than-normal walking rate.

To survive both physically and psychologically, Daniel Kahneman suggests that humans need to react automatically. Examples include reading the subtle facial cues of an angry boss or responding to a speeding taxi when stepping off the curb. Kahneman explains that this automatic mode of thinking, i.e., System 1, is not under voluntary control. He contrasts this with the need to slow down, deliberately fiddling with pencil and paper when working through an algebra problem, i.e., using System 2. The attached infographic takes a closer look at the key differences between Systems 1 and 2.

Daniel Kahneman points out that understanding fast and slow thinking could help people to find more rational solutions to problems faced by society. His book was cited as one of the best books of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review, as well as being named one of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2011 by The Wall Street Journal.