Re-read Saturday

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I was going to try to pick up the pace this week and re-read two chapters, but instead, I am probably recovering from a root canal as you are reading this week’s entry of Re-read Saturday. I shattered a molar just before I began teaching a half-day workshop on value chains, value streams, and process maps, but the show had to go on.  Despite the pain, it was a good class (if you are interested in bringing the workshop to your organization. . . This week we are re-reading Chapter 4 of Thinking, Fast and Slow, The Associative Machine.  This chapter begins a deeper dive into the nuances of system 1 thinking. (more…)

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This week we re-read Chapter 3 of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. One of the core themes in this chapter is the concept of ego depletion.  Ego depletion is a theory that self-control, as a form of system 2 thinking, draws from a finite pool of mental resources. When the pool is low, so is self-control. I did some research on the topic and the evidence is mixed whether there is an ego depletion impact. Regardless, from the point of view of Chapter 3 the idea is that heavy mental and physical loads on a person spread their ability to think and make decisions thin is not a stretch (and we should not expend a significant cognitive load on the topic). Whether the triggering mechanism is ego depletion or something else is not as important as the observable impact – when people are under mental stress they don’t always make the most thoughtful decisions.    (more…)

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Chapter 2 tackles the relationship between effort, attention, and thinking slow. Thinking slow, system 2 thinking, requires effort. That effort must be marshaled and directed which requires attention. The more effort needed, the more attention needed. Attention is a finite resource, therefore, the more we spend on system 2 thinking, less attention available for everything else. A word of warning, don’t do higher math while driving! (more…)

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Today we continue the re-read of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. This week we tackle chapter 1. The core of chapter 1 is the definition of fast and slow thinking. This is also known as system 1 and 2 thinking.  These are the characters in Kahneman’s book. Fast or system 1 thinking operates automatically.  This type of thinking is quick with little or no effort or sense of voluntary control. For example, when the stop light changes to red, you step on the brakes.  Kahneman uses the reaction to a picture of a woman as an example, when we look at her picture we immediately read her face and react.  Slow or system 2 thinking is executed as a procedure, a sequence of steps.  System 2 thinking requires the allocation of attention to the activities. System 2 thinking is required when complex computations are needed. This type of thinking requires voluntary control – the thinker must consciously execute this type of thinking. An example used in the book to illustrate slow thinking is a multiplication problem.  In a software development team using Scrum for more than a few days, attending a daily scrum is system 1 thinking while deciding how to demonstrate a completed story requires system 2 thinking. (more…)

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Today we begin the re-read of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.  Not counting the endnotes, my copy has 448 pages and is comprised of an introduction, 39 chapters in five parts, and two appendices — if this were a blog the book would be approximately 41 separate entries, which is my current approach to the re-read (plus one week for a recap).  The chapters are, on average, relatively short, however, I am reticent to suggest out of the box that I will combine chapters during this re-read. Therefore, I am planning that this re-read to take 42 weeks. Kahneman’s writing, while engaging, is FULL over ideas that are useful for anyone that thinks of him or herself as a leader and change agent. As I noted last week, I will need your help calling out the parts of the book that resonates with you. If you do not have a favorite, dog-eared copy please buy a copy.  Use the links in this blog to books help to support the blog and its alter-ego, The Software Process and Measurement Cast. Buy a copy on Amazon. Now it is time to get reading!   (more…)

And the results are . . .

As of Friday, April 12, 2019 I am declaring the poll for the next book in the Re-read Saturday over. I will check one more time before posting this announcement but the results are pretty stark. The results

Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman 64.29% (more…)

Getting Ready To Assemble

We continue to our poll to select the next book in the Re-read Saturday feature.  Last week we announced that we would run the poll for two weeks — currently Thinking Fast and Slow has run away from the pack.  If you would like to weigh-in on the which book should be next, vote in the poll below:

The Re-Read Saturday feature was inaugurated in 2015 with a re-read of The Goal.  Over the years the re-read has served many purposes. I have pursued the Re-read to help remind the readers of the blog about power concepts that are core to software development or process improvement.  In some cases, readers have written to indicate that the books in the series were new to them (a few times they have been new to me). One of the selfish reasons I have continued to invest my time in the series is to reinforce my knowledge of the concepts. Several of the entries in the series are perennially top pages visited on the blog.  I am looking forward to the next book — whichever it is. You get to choose, and unlike the guy in the grocery store yesterday, I am not leaning on the scale (those bananas did NOT weight 17 lbs!).

One more thing, I want to say thanks to the help received from many sources that help get the blog and podcast to you. The people that make this possible include Meghan Cagley, Matt Williams, Tom Cagley Sr, Steven Adams, Barb Cagley and everyone that comments publicly and privately are a few of the people I am referencing when I say ‘we’.  If you are interested in getting involved you can be part of ‘we,’ let us know at or leave a message at 01-440-668-5717 with your thoughts or how you would like to contribute.

If you are new to our Re-read Feature and want to get a sense of how this Re-read Saturday thing works, here are the entries for The Goal:

Chapters 1 through 3

Chapters 4 through 6

Chapters 7 through 9

Chapters 10 through 12

Chapters 13 through 16.

Chapters 17 through 18

Chapters 19 through 20

Chapters 21 through 22

Chapters 23 through 24

Chapters 25 and 26

Chapters 27 and 28

Chapter 29 and 30

Chapters 31 and 32

Chapters 33 and 34

Chapters 35 and 36.

Chapters 37 and 38.

Chapters 39 and 40


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