Kahneman :: Brooks :: McGilchrist

As I’m working through Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, I can’t help but compare it to two other important books I’ve read in the last year or so: David Brooks’ much-discussed The Social Animal and Iain McGilchrist’s underappreciated The Master and his Emmisary. Of course they are quite different projects, working with different lexicons, and with different goals in mind. But I think one could line up a simple analogy that brings their overlap into focus.

I’m thinking of the parallels between dualities that they each offer: McGilchrist’s right/left brain, Brooks’ first/second education, and Kahneman’s System 1/System 2. Of course each of these calls for a million qualifications, but I think you can line them up as follows:
McGilchrist :: Brooks :: Kahneman
Left brain :: Formal (‘first’) education :: System 2 = reflexive, “rational”
Right brain :: “Second” (sentimental) education :: System 1 = primary, most influential
Nothing earth-shattering in noticing these parallels, but noting them might open up some new synergies.