Found in 36 comments on Hacker News
tuan3w · 2021-12-19 · Original thread
I share with you a bit about what I have learned. I've struggled a lot. Everything is like broken. I'm still struggling right now. However, I'm still working on something to make our situation better. I do several research and experiments on Happiness, psychology, neuroscience and here are something I'm want to share.

+ Hedonic adaption: Hedonic adaption is special psychological effects that explains about how we perceive about happiness. Even after a big happy moment, our level of happiness do down quickly. We adapt our perception to our current situations. So it's like nothing will last forever. Hedonic adaption is both good and bad. It makes us adapt quickly with any situations. It keeps us safe. So we should appreciate it and learn how to make use of this effect rather than blaming it. Learns to attend with everything you do even it's bad, explore something news. It will help you deal with bad effects of hedonic adaptation.

+ Mindfulness: Do some mindfulness exercise. We feel stress because our mind think we're having problems. Our mind made up our feelings to keep us safe [7]. It's good for us. Mindfulness help us understand more about feeling and more enjoy the moment.

+ Mind body connection: Your health affects your mental, and your mental will affect your health. To me, it's not because some spiritual belief, but it's how systems work [3] [4]. Our body, our mind are systems. They are part of bigger system. They connect each others and interact with each other, sending some feedback. So try to improve both your health and your mental. Try to improve your health diet, do exercises and taking care of our thoughts and feelings.

+ We aren't rational. Our thinking system is optimal but it has limitations [3]. It has a lot of problems (cognitive biases). Learn to appreciate and find a way to make it better. For example, we can adapt. We update our belief overtime. Try to make new better habits[5]. Make small steps.

+ There isn't perfect things. Every systems aren't perfect. Our immune system, our cognitive system, organizations, data structures, design patterns,... Appreciate what works, what not and improve it.

Some interesting books, articles you might interest:








Is this just not classic recency bias? Many TV shows feature a gay couple/character, and gay marriage was in the national news for years. People are shown examples through media constantly, and therefore think it's more prevalent than it really is.

This applies to almost all issues too, plane accidents being one of the more obvious ones (plane travel is many times safer than car travel, and yet many people don't see it that way).

Thinking Fast and Slow is a great book that covers at length recency bias and its affects [1]. Quite eye opening to me was one study where people were asked to spin a wheel with 1-100, and then asked how many African nations are in the UN. The number on the wheel had a profound affect on the number people picked [2], despite the fact that the number on the wheel should clearly has no meaning.



pg_bot · 2018-04-16 · Original thread
AWS is the leader in the cloud because of its 6-7 year head start on the competition, not because their product is better than their competitors. There was even a company built on top of AWS that made money by creating a reasonable UX on top of that product.[0] is better designed that I don't know when that happened but you can take a look at two product pages for the same book and be the judge. [1][2]

That's just the tip of the iceberg. I could rant about Amazon's software for days, but in the end software doesn't necessarily mean they are a bad company. If I order something from amazon I expect to get it quickly and in the case something goes wrong I can talk with someone who will be more than agreeable. That is why they are successful, not because of their software prowess.




tequila_shot · 2018-04-04 · Original thread
I keep ~10 books at my desk. 9 of them are related to Javascript / Python / Probability etc [1]., There is one book though, that I really love to see everyday. Arabian Nights. That was the first book that was gifted to me when I was 11. I always had it with me. It reminds me of my childhood when things get too stressed and I read excerpts out of this book.

[1] [2] [3] [4]

The advantage of paper is that you can be more creative and use slow thinking[1]. Just take a look at Newton's[2] or DaVinci's[3] notebooks, how would they think so freely on a computer? Sure for a work task list, a computer is fine, but I find a computer too limiting on my creativity for myself. Added bonus: no ads, bugs, or distractions.

People that create apps create them to make money, not because they make you more productive or help you be more creative.




adamweld · 2016-10-27 · Original thread
If you are interested in learning how your brain makes decisions, where biases and error come from, and a whole lot more, I highly recommend this book by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman:

Interestingly, he won his nobel prize in the field of economics, but he's a psychologist, not an economist. His research was so influential that it changed business strategies (esp. around how meetings are held) forever.

I can't say enough good things about Thinking Fast and Slow. Go read it.

I posted this article in reply to another comment in this thread, but I think many will find it interesting and useful. It's a good jumping off point into his research and why it's important.

zeroami · 2016-06-30 · Original thread
> I tend to not be convinced by self-improvement recommendations that aren't explicitly tailored to specific people and their personalities. There are so many variables in play!

I tend to agree with this sentiment especially considering I have read and tried to apply quite a few in my own life.

However, I am currently working my way through Thinking, Fast and Slow[0] and I can't recommend it enough. It's not so much a self-improvement/help book as it is a way to define the language we use in speaking about the different systems of the brain (think intuitive vs effortful). Worth the read.


Benjammer · 2016-06-02 · Original thread
Kahneman's book, Thinking Fast and Slow[0] is a great read if you like to think about memory and how thinking functions in practice

[0] -

TheAlchemist · 2016-05-16 · Original thread
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman:

Great book about the way humans think.

clarkmoody · 2016-04-26 · Original thread
The phenomenon is called anchoring[1], and it works like this: the first price we see anchors our thinking about additional information. This is why furniture stores have a perpetual sale.

"Oh look, this $2500 sofa is only $1899.99 right now. What a great deal!"

One experiment had respondents use the last two digits of their social security number as the initial price for a bottle of wine or other good. This completely-arbitrary price had a strong correlation with the price they were willing to pay for the item.

The effect is described in greater detail in Thinking, Fast and Slow[3]




striking · 2015-10-21 · Original thread
For the question "What are some of the best books to learn from that you recommend for a young startup founder?", I decided to transcribe the answers.


"Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future" -

"Republic" - (classic, feel free to grab a PDF)

"The Principia : Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy" - (classic, feel free to grab a PDF)

"Thinking, Fast and Slow" -

"Molecular Biology of the Cell" - (different edition, forgive me; free through NCBI, thanks jkimmel!)

"Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age" -

"The Supermen: The Story of Seymour Cray and the Technical Wizards Behind the Supercomputer" - (note: "that one's particularly good")

"Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories" -

"The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership" -

"The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time" -

"The Constitutional Convention: A Narrative History from the Notes of James Madison" -

"The Art Of War for Lovers" - (fixed! sorry about that...)

"Hold 'em Poker: For Advanced Players" -

"Solution Selling: Creating Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets" -

"The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition" -

"Winning" -

I wish he had answered in text. That would have made things easier :) However, I'm still very happy to have some new additions to my reading list!

chdir · 2015-02-23 · Original thread
Favorite quote from the above paper: Albert Einstein once said, “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” However, it is possible that the unconscious mental system can, in fact, do just that.

Related reading : Thinking fast & slow [1]


arthurjj · 2014-12-08 · Original thread
Having a 30 minute subway commute I'm looking forward to seeing what suggestions come out of this thread. My two suggestions:

1. Thinking fast and slow - Understanding how we actually think as opposed to how we think we think is a critical skill, especially in a startup. Having a Nobel prize winner explain how the two systems of your brain work together (and can sabotage you) was enlightening and enjoyable. This book helped me understand many aspects of design and sales that had been black boxes for me

2. Art and Fear - This is a book nominally about the relationship between artists and how they go about making art but it is useful for anyone creative. It's about how to go about making when you have errands to run, a deadline, or just don't feel like it. As a dev I found it inspiring

idibidiart · 2014-12-01 · Original thread
Has anyone read this book and for those who have is there a correspondence here?

jacobn · 2014-10-28 · Original thread
And this is why software schedules are always off. Any schedule for that matter.

If you're into this type of psychology, check out "Thinking Fast and Slow" by D. Kahnemann.

mbesto · 2013-12-27 · Original thread
> I don't get how referencing a singular event often is actually an issue.

Because it's irrational and doesn't represent the real probability of an event happening again. The argument is therefore that we are shaping policy (with ramifications on economics, privacy and politics) based on poor statistical analysis. I'd recommend reading Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow if you're interested in understanding how irrational our minds are.

cdmoyer · 2013-12-07 · Original thread
I wonder if that makes you more conscious of them.

I'm thinking about a study cited in Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow[1] where the participants did better on a test when the questions where in a blurry font. I believe it was suggested that being forced to exert mental effort to read the questions forced their brain into "actual thinking mode" as opposed to "pattern recognition" mode.

ie. If we know it's probably not an ad, but it looks like an ad, is it a more effective bit of non-ad? (well, it is an ad, but it's an ad we want to see.)


jpalomaki · 2013-10-10 · Original thread
Thinking Fast and Slow at least mentions many similar experiments and the results are often interesting, so it is probably worth reading if the topic is of interest (and it probably should be).

I have't looked at the actual research behind the topics they are covering, but at least there seems to be a good reference list in the book so it should be possible dig out the articles.,_Fast_and_Slow

>> It’s how the human mind is designed to operate: looking for connections when there’s not enough evidence to support a connection, jumping to conclusions

Psychologist and Nobel econ prize winner Daniel Kahneman has written about this in his book "Thinking, Fast and Slow" [1]. I am currently halfway through this book and it's been an insightful read so far.

[1] -

andrewcooke · 2013-04-08 · Original thread
i am pretty sure you'll find it described in "thinking, fast and slow" by daniel kahneman - (i imagine that the "fast heuristic" is to make immediate, local comparisons, which discounts favour; recognising persistently low prices means more reflection and long-term memory; people use fast heuristics rather than slow logic most of the time).

it's a very good book. i just gave a friend a copy today (if anyone in santiago is looking for a spanish language copy it's sold out in all the shops but still have it in stock - i guess no-one thinks of buying books there!)

mbesto · 2012-12-19 · Original thread
I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you want to understand more about this (especially economically), Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow spells it out really well:

supo · 2012-11-10 · Original thread
Thanks for the feedback!

- Yeah, we were afraid that the name is too clever for System 1 [1] to understand. On the other hand it feels good once you get it and it makes you feel kinda like a photography insider :) Also I'm not a native English speaker, but my English friends could pronounce it even without having an idea about d.o.f.

- There is no single particularly clever part about this, just the G+ style grid made possible by on-the-fly image rendering/resizing with [2] and the absence of chrome/distractions. My company is working on a much more advanced photo hosting solution and we basically launched this to have a really minimalistic service to which we will be able to trickle down advanced behind-the-curtain stuff once it is proven to work for users.

- will check out thanks!

[1] [2] - these guys are just starting out so it is bumpy sometimes, but I've been recommending them because it is such a good idea

jfoutz · 2012-09-26 · Original thread
Biologically, fear, not panic, makes you vigilant. One way to think about it, in good times you can afford to waste resources trying all sorts of random stuff. In bad times, every last scrap counts.

There's a book i've been enjoying [Thinking Fast and Slow]( that addresses this in great detail.

ryanmolden · 2012-08-27 · Original thread
I seem to recall reading this in Thinking Fast and Slow[1], but I can't find an online citation and only have the book in dead-tree form at home.

I suspect it falls into this general realm:

edit: Specifically I believe I recall this (from the linked Wikipedia page) in Thinking Fast and Slow:

One of the first and most classic examples of effort justification is Aronson and Mills's study.[2] A group of young women who volunteered to join a discussion group on the topic "Psychology of Sex" were asked to do a small reading test to make sure they were not too embarrassed to talk about sexual-related topics with others. The mild-embarrassment condition subjects were asked to read aloud a list of sex-related words such as "prostitute" or "virgin". The severe-embarrassment condition subjects were asked to read aloud a list of highly sexual words (e.g. "fuck", "cock") and to read two vivid descriptions of sexual activity taken from contemporary novels. All subjects then listened to a recording of a discussion about "Sexual Behavior in Animals" which was dull and unappealing. When asked to rate the group and its members, control and mild-embarrassment groups did not differ, but the severe-embarrassment group's ratings were significantly higher. This group, whose initiation process was more difficult (embarrassment = effort), had to increase their subjective value of the discussion group to resolve the dissonance.

The cited study is: Aronson, E., & Mills, J. (1959) The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a group. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology ,59, 177-181.


jerf · 2012-08-24 · Original thread
Sounds like a System 1 vs. System 2 conflict: And not even a particularly interesting or surprising one, really.
diego · 2012-08-19 · Original thread
There is no such thing as "consistently happy." If you're interested in the subject, I recommend paying attention to Daniel Kahneman's work instead of vapid self-helpy blog posts.

mbesto · 2012-07-06 · Original thread
If you find this interesting, there is a great book called "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman[1]. Highly recommend it if you're interested in understanding buying behavior and the psychology behind many of these economic decisions. It's also largely based on the research from Richard Thaler in his book Nudge.[2]



mainevent · 2012-04-17 · Original thread
Wondering whether this article should credit Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" as these ideas seem to come fairly directly from that book.

astrofinch · 2012-04-10 · Original thread
Hm, I don't think rationality and objectivism are quite the same thing. I was thinking more along the lines of


tokenadult · 2012-02-04 · Original thread
What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought by Keith R. Stanovich

is great, as is Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

jbrechtel · 2012-01-28 · Original thread
Daniel Kahneman talks about the planning fallacy as well as many other biases and faulty heuristics we use when making decisions and predictions in "Thinking Fast and Slow"
davidw · 2011-12-27 · Original thread
Let's see... in no particular order:

* Thinking, Fast and Slow: - probably makes my list because I just finished it, and as he says "what you see is all there is" - we're biased towards things that come to mind easily. Actually, it is a pretty good book even looking through all the others I've read.

* 1491: - about the Americas prior to the arrival of "Cristoforo Colombo".

* Built to sell: - how to create a business that is something that you can sell because it can exist without you. Not quite so relevant to startups working on a product, but some good concepts nonetheless. A good summary is probably just as good as reading the book, as the core concepts are fairly simple.

* Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World: the history of the world as seen through languages.

* The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East: - a look at how the legal systems of 'the west' and the middle east differed and the results those systems led to.

And of course, if you haven't read this one, I think it's a great read:

Start Small, Stay Small: - a great guide full of practical advice on "startups for the rest of us".

What I haven't read:

Lean Startups by Eric Ries. Does it contain much practical advice? I get the impression it's a bit on the 'strategic' side without giving you concrete ideas about how to go about doing things.

The Steve Jobs biography. It looks to be so pervasive and widespread that I'm wondering if I can absorb most of the good parts from other people who have read it. I may get it anyway; we'll see.

FWIW, all links contain a referral code to help fuel my reading habit.

jseliger · 2011-12-02 · Original thread
McArdle has also written about this kind of stuff before: ; :

I've had about ten requests from men to explain the phrase "winning the cocktail party". None from women.

A male friend, who spends a not inconsiderable time cruising feminist sites, was one of those who asked what it meant. I find it odd to realize that most men don't observe something that is obvious to every woman I know: that there is a competitive male dynamic to groups that is completely different from the way female groups act. They don't know, of course, because unless the group is overwhelmingly female, the dynamic of any mixed group always defaults to male, with women fading back into supporting conversational roles. Maybe it's the kind of thing you can only observe by contrast to the extremely anti-competitive nature of female groups.

The easiest way to put it (and this is hardly original) is that men in groups are focused on their role within the group. Women in groups are focused on the group. Men gain status by standing out from the group; women gain status by submerging themselves into it--by strengthening the group, often at the expense of themselves.

Both these styles have advantages and drawbacks. I'm not trying to establish that one is better than the other. But I'm kind of shocked, though I shouldn't be, to realize that men don't even see it, the way they don't see catcalling, because it never happens when they're around.

I've seen this kind of behavior a lot more often since I began looking for it.

BTW, if you're interested in cognitive biases more generally, check out Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow (

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