Breathtaking sweep across time and geography, flying along on the coat-tails of a theory that is so intuitively acceptable that it almost makes you say 'duh'. A society's institutions, extractive (bad) or inclusive (good) explain the wealth of the society and the health and happiness of the common man (and, if you are really lucky, woman). I hated history at school because it didn't explain: just one damn thing after another. This does, right up to the end where they use their theory to predict the future success of current societies. It explains why 'state building' (e.g. in Afgahanistan) is such a challenge. The UK (a pioneer in modern state building) got properly started on the process in 1215, brought in universal education in about 1890 and gave women the vote in 1928. Mind expanding book.
Who am I to say this noble laureate is brilliant, but I'll chuck in my two pennyworth anyway. Kahneman shows you how you think and how easy it is to be deluded and misled by the way your brain just happens to work. Some of the book is quite hard work, and sometimes it is a bit slow reading (laboured points), but the content is fascinating and also important. It will probably change how you think, view and live your life, which is quite something for a mere book.
I clicked this into my library without realising a) that it was abridged and b) that it is the 2000 edition not the 2005 revised edition. In other words, in my appreciation this purchase is a complete mistake. Why would the 2000 edition even still be in stock, once the post-2001 crash version is available? I'm going to try and send this book back.