Newsletter - December 2018

Kurt’s Reading Recommendation

Tim put me on to George Loewenstein’s “Exotic Preferences: Behavioral Economics and Human Motivation.” It is amazing and I’m not even half-way through it! George has a way of writing that is both eloquent and understandable. His insights into behavioral economics and motivation are intense. This is a collection of some of his papers with an intro to them that helps place them in context. In the first paper, he uses mountaineering as a way to explore economic utility theory, “…mountaineering is an activity that doesn’t fit the standard economic model of individual behavior. Serious mountaineering exposes one to a relentless alternation of boredom, exhaustion, discomfort, and terror. Why, then, do people do it?” It is big and dense and wonderful (671 pages).

Tim’s Reading Recommendation

Kurt and I read a lot of books by authors we’re interviewing for our podcast. In my spare time, I read a variety of material and one of my favorite indulgences is to read poetry. Lately, I’ve been re-reading some of the wonderful work of Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet, scholar and theologian whose work is known for its mystical and sensual qualities. I recommend The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks. In Rumi’s poem, “My Worst Habit,” he laments being separated from his beloved wife. He writes: “My worst habit is I get so tired of winter / I become a torture to those I’m with. / If you’re not here, nothing grows. / I lack clarity. My words tangle and knot up.” As we begin the wintry season in Minnesota, I look for ways to retreat and to seek solace in loved ones. Rumi is a good partner.

Kurt’s Music

Twenty One Pilots recently released a new album “Trench” http://www.twentyonepilots.com/ . The mix of electronica, heavy bass, and sometimes wispy lyrics are captivating. Almost a mix- up between Eminem, Imagine Dragons, and your favorite pop music sensation of the moment.

Tim’s Music

Hush Kids is a Nashville-based collaboration of two singer songwriters, Jill Andrews and Peter Groenwald. They are pretty mellow, but firmly state their music is not about being quiet. Rather, they say, “it’s about stepping away from the wrong kind of noise to embrace the music.” They’ve had songs placed in Gray’s Anatomy and American Idol and if you’re not familiar with them, please check them out.

Behavioral Science Principles for December

Association bias

The way our minds connect unrelated things because of coincidence (as how we blame the messengers of bad news).

Cobra effect

Setting an incentive that accidentally produces the opposite result to the one intended. Also known as the Perverse Incentive.

Group attribution error

The biased belief that the characteristics of an individual group member are reflective of the group as a whole or the tendency to assume that group decision outcomes reflect the preferences of group members, even when information is available that clearly suggests otherwise.

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