Scientists, be they in the hard sciences or the soft ones, dream of winning a Nobel Prize in their discipline. Doing so is a remarkable achievement reserved for the very few, but winning the prize in a discipline different than one’s own is truly remarkable.

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman who died this week at the age of 90 did just that when he was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work.

Perhaps the most important questions in business, economics, and life, are how we make decisions under conditions of uncertainty; in short, how we cope with risk..Dr. Kahneman’s research explored the systematic and unconscious (some might say hardwired) biases that we bring to the choices we make. His 2011 book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” (30,000 five-star ratings) offers an accessible read of his groundbreaking research that applies to all of us. 

A basic finding neatly condensed in the title is that we have two thinking systems. “Thinking fast” is impulsive and intuitive and served us well in our evolution in the wild when quick decisions were required to escape being eaten by a predator. Thinking slow is the reasoning part of the mind that takes time and effort that many will not invest, often to their sorrow.

Think about it…is there anything more important than thinking? Many say we differ from the animals because we can think.  Research on apes, dolphins and whales leads some to believe they also reason….but can they think about thinking?

You can, and Dr. Kahneman will show you how. For a quick introduction to Dr. Kahneman’s work (along with his late colleague Amos Tversky) check out the following.  

Dr. Kahneman’s obituary on CNN
Six lessons for investors from Daniel Kahneman (5 min read) 
TED Talk:  The Riddle of Experience vs. Memory  (20 min)
Talks at Google : Overview of “Thinking Fast and Slow” ( 62 min)
Dr. Kahneman’s Book:  “Thinking, Fast and Slow”