Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

Kahneman, along with his late colleague Amos Tversky, is the father of modern behavioral economics. He has done more than any other scholar to lay out the landscape of the nonconscious and chart how it operates in predictable, if not rational, ways.

This book is a summation of Kahneman's life's work, clearly and masterfully written, and is the indispensible first stop for anyone who wants to understand the forces that drive human decison making — including consumer decision making.

Favorite quote:

When you are asked what you are thinking about, you can normally answer. You believe you know what goes on in your mind, which often consists of one conscious thought leading in an orderly way to another. But that is not the only way the mind works, nor indeed is it the typical way. Most impressions and thoughts arise in your conscious experience without your knowing how they got there. You cannot trace how you came to the belief that there is a lamp on the desk in front of you, or how you detected a hint of irritation in your spouse's voice on the telephone, or how you managed to avoid a threat on the road before you became consciously aware of it. The mental work that produces impression, intuitions, and many decisions goes on in silence in our minds.