Podcast - Daniel Kahneman: The Knowledge Project
2 min read

Podcast - Daniel Kahneman: The Knowledge Project

Podcast - Daniel Kahneman: The Knowledge Project

You can listen to the podcast on the Farnam Street site and follow Shane Parrish on Twitter.

I have not read Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. I tried reading a few pages and found it dense. I do want to go back to it someday. However, I have read insights from that book and Daniel Kahneman's many other books across the Internet.

The Knowledge Project was my introduction to the world of Podcasts. I listened to Naval Ravikant talk about the monkey mind and was blown away by the quality of insights that one episode had packed in it. I remember reading the transcript in the office instead of working on a slow afternoon.

I heard the Daniel Kahneman episode earlier today. It was dense as expected. However, there were two key points I learnt which I felt were very important.

Daniel Kahneman calls this idea the best Psychology idea ever.

When you want somebody to move from A to B in terms of their behaviour. There are two ways of doing it:

  1. You can push them
  2. You can ask them the question of why aren't they doing B already.

It looks like a counterproductive question. However, when you ask the question of why they are not doing what they ought to do interesting things happen.

What we tend to do when we push people from A to B is we push them. We add the driving forces. Push is not what you should do. You should instead work on restraining forces and make them weaker. And that's a beautiful point.

Restraining Forces are reasons as to why they are not where they ought to be.

Daniel Kahneman spoke about behaviour as an equilibrium. Driving and restraining forces push you in either way.

Daniel continues to explain the topic using an illustrative example:

"Imagine a plank held in place by a spring on either side of it, Danny told the students. How do you move it? Well, you can increase the force on one side of the plank. Or you can reduce the force on the other side. 'In one case, the overall tension is reduced,' he said, 'and in the other, it is increased.' And that was a sort of proof that there was an advantage in reducing the tension. 'It's a key idea,' said Danny. 'Making it easy to change.'

Shane asks what is another example that people ought to know about Psychology, but they do not?

Daniel talks about another concept which is the same idea (above) extended.

Behaviour does not necessarily represent personality but the situation and the pressure of the situation they find themselves in. There is a bias - fundamental attribution error - when we see people acting in a certain way - we think it is because of their personality. Still, it's usually because of the situation they find themselves in. Motivation is complex.

People do good things for a mixture of good and bad reasons, and they do bad things for a mix of good and bad reasons.

The goal should be to be less judgmental and have more empathy and patience.