Amol Rajan

The Tortoise & the Hare-Brained

Thinking, Fast and Slow

By

Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 499pp £25 order from our bookshop

In October 1983 Daniel Kahneman and his friend and collaborator Amos Tversky published a paper in the Psychological Review describing what came to be known as The Linda Problem. Linda is a bank teller. She is young, clever, and forthright with her opinions, and was passionate about social justice in her student days. Participants in a study were asked which is more likely: 1. Linda is a bank teller; or 2. Linda is a feminist bank teller. 85 per cent of students at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business said the second was more likely. Of course, it is not. All feminist bank tellers are bank tellers; adding a caveat merely lowers the probability. Kahneman and Tversky argued that most respondents – and, by extension, people generally – are swayed by an instinctive, uncritical response because of biases in their thinking. These biases do not primarily show that our thinking is flawed (though it often is); rather, that we think in two main ways – fast and slow.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,