Thinking Fast And Slow

Two bosom friends who were professors of psychology set out to find how people make decisions, and their research methods are endless talk experiments during long walks and making surveys. When they start finding out things and patterns, they start publishing their articles, not in psychology journals but in economics journals, implying that decision making is more an economic behavior though being psychological.

They start teaching courses on their findings and the combination of articles and notes evolve into a book and takes the cerebral world by storm. It becomes a bestseller, though the matter and the style are more pedantic and dense. Whether people read it not, they sure would be smug about keeping the book for it’s brag value .

The subject of the book becomes a main pillar of economic thinking, and starts the new field of behavioral economics. A whole set of new jargon becomes an important part of the economic pedagogy and folklore, like validity bias and prospect theory. But all they actually meant was that people are stupid, lazy, cocky, entitled, proud, greedy, lustful, wrathful and spiteful. And they bring all these ‘skills’ into the analysis of decision making.

The conclusions are foregone: stupid in stupid out. It could serve well to remember Einstein as he told, “Universe and human stupidity are infinite, not sure about the Universe”. The book lists about a dozen biases, like availability bias, Bernoulli’s error, endowment effect and so on, while Wikipedia lists about few hundred biases on last count, of various types like cognitive, social, and media biases.

Knowing fully well that the book is a compilation of research papers and based on the findings in the book the author was given the Nobel prize for starting the new field of behavioral economics. Overturning the staple assumption of humans as rational beings on which all the then existing economic theories were built. So, people who have a predilection to read academic research papers can venture to read this book.