Issue 03 of our print magazine is available to buy now

Issue 03 is available to buy now

Rory Sutherland on thinking fast and slow

Rory Sutherland on thinking fast and slow

In this School of Life sermon, Sutherland discusses the main tenets of the binary cognitive processing system of behavioural economics.

We’ve been clicking through vast swathes of high-quality content to share and hidden in the Vimeo archives was this beauty, begging to be brought back to life: A power hour of sharp-witted intellect and entertainment by iconic ad man Rory Sutherland.

In this School of Life Sunday Sermon, Sutherland gives us a robust introduction to the main tenets of behavioural economics, a binary cognitive processing system theorised by Daniel Kahneman.

Rational vs. Irrational

Behavioural Economics looks at why we make the decisions we make, divided broadly into two systems in the brain. ‘Fast thinking’ is driven primarily by the limbic system, it is highly context dependent and makes decisions unknowingly and quickly. Slow thinking is more deliberate, and considered a higher level of reasoning or “rational”.

Sutherland doesn’t claim to be a behavioural economist, “I’m here really as a behavioural economics impresario,” he says “I’m just here to popularise it”. And this is a good thing because Kahneman’s seminal text Thinking Fast and Slow is a dense tome. If you’re looking for someone to anecdotally explain ‘two systems’ thinking and why you should be aware of it, Rory Sutherland is your man.

Sutherland runs the full gamut of System 1 and System 2, heuristics, hard science versus social science, and how we trust in rational thinking too much. It influences decisions we make in business, socialising and generally in our day-to-day lives. But we are wrong to give it so much emphasis. Through his unique wit and humour, Sutherland attempts to pull the wool away from our eyes so we can see how our mind really works.

Put the kettle on, sit back and commit to this hour of learning.