The 1 book President Obama wants you to read

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Four years ago, a few months before he got re-elected, President Obama read a book on the science of decision-making that he now considers one of his favorites.

The book, "Thinking, Fast and Slow," by Daniel Kahneman, features insights into the pitfalls of human rationality that might just transform how you think about intelligence.

44 Iconic photos of Barack Obama

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44 iconic photos of Barack Obama's presidency
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44 iconic photos of Barack Obama's presidency

Barack Obama takes a moment to reflect before walking on stage to take the oath of office.

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama and the First Lady share a tender moment during the Inaugural Ball on Jan. 20, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Obama enters the Oval Office on the first day of his presidency. 

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama reads a letter left in his desk by George W. Bush, a White House tradition welcoming the new President. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Obama tours the grounds of his new home for the next 8 years. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama meets with senior advisors in his third week as president.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama settles in for his first flight aboard Air Force One. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The 44th President of the United States gives his first State of the Union address on February 24, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Mr. & Mrs. Obama walk hand in hand towards the helicopter that will take them on their first trip to Camp David. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Michelle Obama shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth at the Buckingham palace during their trip for the G20 summit.

Photo Credit: The White House

POTUS shows some love for his troops while visiting Camp Victory in Iraq on April 7, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obamas share a laugh while eating a snack after an event. 

Photo Credit: The White House 

Obama and Biden take in some fresh air with some golf on the White House green.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama explores the Pyramids of Giza during a trip to Egypt on June 4, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

POTUS walks through his first G8 Summit in Italy. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama takes in the beauty of the Grand Canyon.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama enjoys himself during an interview with David Letterman on Sept 21, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obama's welcome children to enjoy Halloween fun at the White House. 

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama accepts his Nobel Peace Prize for "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples".

Photo credit: AP Photo/John McConnico

President Obama and the First Lady take their first portrait in front of the official White House Christmas tree. 

Obama sits in his personalized chair during a meeting. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obama's bust a move during the Governors' Ball. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Obama takes a moment to catch up on some important documents while on the go. 

Photo credit: The White House

The President takes calls at all hours leading up to the vote on healthcare reform.

Photo credit: The White House

Obama and Biden applaud the passing of the Affordable Care Act.

Photo Credit: The White House

White House Photographer Pete Souza had this to say about capturing this photo: "The sun was setting as the Presidential motorcade arrived back at Miami International Airport. I ran to get in front of Air Force One so I could use the beautiful sky as the background when the President boarded the plane."

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obamas lip-sync to a group of a cappella singers during a holiday visit. 

Photo Credit: The White House

A rare moment in the Situation Room of the White House.

Photo Credit: The White House

The President greets soldiers after a surprise all night flight to Afghanistan. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obama family admires Rio's infamous Christ the Redeemer statue while In Brazil on March 20, 2011. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama approaches the Marine One helicopter. 

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama watches the screen like a hawk during the real time mission to capture Osama bin Laden.

Photo Credit: The White House

The White House photographer Pete Souza writes "The President was ready to announce the news about the mission against Osama bin Laden and was putting the finishing touches on his statement in the Outer Oval Office. As he did so, the networks broke in with bulletins confirming that bin Laden had been killed and a photograph of him appeared on the television screen in the background near the Vice President and Press Secretary Jay Carney."

Photo Credit: The White House

Souza says "One of the most memorable moments of the year was when the President hugged Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as he walked onto the floor of the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol to deliver his annual State of the Union address."

Photo Credit: The White House

Pete Souza reveals an interesting fact about this photo: "The President hugs the First Lady after she had introduced him at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa. The campaign tweeted a similar photo from the campaign photographer on election night and a lot of people thought it was taken on election day."

Photo Credit: The White House

Basketball fans cheer for the Obamas as they kiss for the kiss cam. 

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama serenades Michelle on her birthday. 

Photo Credit: Pete Souza

President Obama sits for a 3D portrait at the Smithsonian.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama takes a detour after the NATO summit to visit Stonehenge. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama can't keep a straight face while recording a Holiday video at the White House. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Mr. President speaks at the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery civil-rights marches.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Barack Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba shake hands during the Summit of the Americas at the Atlapa Convention Center in Panama City, Panama on  April 11, 2015.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama stands at attention while Vice President Biden announces he will not be running for President.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

U.S. President Barack Obama collects the folio holding the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 after signing it into law in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, November 2, 2015.

Phto credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Obama's recommendation comes alongside nine other books on the president's list of required reading in the November issue of Wired.

Others include "The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York" by Robert A. Caro and "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity" by Katherine Boo.

In "Thinking, Fast and Slow,"Kahneman, a Nobel prize-winning psychologist and inventor of behavioral economics, explores two modes of thinking, which he calls System 1 and System 2.

System 1 thinking is gut-driven, instinctual. System 2 is thoughtful, reflective. Too often, Kahneman notes, people's decision-making gets mired in System 1 when really they should be taking a few seconds to study the problem at hand.

thinking fast and slow kahnemanThe White HouseSeveral months after Obama read "Thinking, Fast and Slow," CNN's Christiane Amanpour interviewed Kahneman and asked him whether he thought the president was a System 1 thinker or a System 2 thinker.

"He is a slow thinker. He deliberates," Kahneman said. "He doesn't follow his gut immediately. He considers things. He is very thoughtful."

Deliberation may seem like a presidential trait, but Kahneman is quick to dispel the idea that commanders-in-chief must be System 2 thinkers. George W. Bush was a classic System 1 thinker, he says. "President Bush was proud of acting on his intuition, acting on his gut."

If you're curious which kind of thinker you might be, consider the following puzzle:

If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?

System 1 thinkers are more likely to rely on their snap judgment to supply the answer of "100 minutes." But the answer is actually "5 minutes," since it doesn't actually matter how many machines you have. Each machine takes 5 minutes to make a widget.

Don't feel bad if that problem stumped you. It's designed to exploit gaps in System 1 thinking. By drawing your eye to the quick succession of 5s, you naturally look to make the same connection in the solution. It's only through the slower, more deliberate thinking involved with System 2 that brings the correct answer into focus.

Obama's recommendation seems to suggest that even those of us who aren't making careful choices in the Oval Office could stand to think more with System 2.

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