behavioral economics

No One Decides Quickly and Everyone’s a Good Friend

No One Decides Quickly and Everyone's a Good Friend

…or a more boring title would be “Survey Results.” Because that’s what today is all about. I want to thank everyone who took my crazy little survey last week. 47 people filled it out, and the 23rd person (you know who you are) was randomly selected by random.org to receive my copy of Rework by […]


The Psychology of Sex #7: Match.com

The Psychology of Sex #7: Match.com

Although I’m a completely open person who is comfortable talking about pretty much anything with anyone, there are two circumstances in which I’m exceedingly shy: Initiating a conversation with a woman who is a complete stranger. Walking into a crowded room in which I know very few people. Unfortunately for me, those two areas eliminate […]


How to Give Birth to LeBron James in One Easy Step

How to Give Birth to LeBron James in One Easy Step

The other day I was listening to a fascinating discussion with famed author Malcolm Gladwell about national sports teams. A while ago, Gladwell noticed that a disproportionate number of players on the Canadian national hockey team were born in January, February, or March. The best players in the country, almost all of them born in […]


You’ve Got Mail…but You Want More

You've Got Mail...but You Want More

Do you ever have days when you keep checking your e-mail, but you’re just wasting your time, because nothing’s appearing in your inbox? Today was one of those days. And somehow, in an odd way, the day ended up feeling a bit empty. Am I really that attached to getting e-mail? Dan Ariely thinks so. […]


Are You Too Old to Buy Books?

Are You Too Old to Buy Books?

I was really excited to attend Dan Ariely’s talk at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters tonight for several reasons: I rarely attend talks or lectures of any kind, much less on my own. I think Ariely is brilliant, as exemplified by the increase in the number of blog entries here about behavioral economics. Ariely […]


The Question of Windfall

Before you read today’s blog, please answer the following question: I think this is a great question about human behavior. The logically “correct” answer is that you’d choose the monthly payments for a total cashflow of $1,200. That’s 20% higher than the $1,000. The odds that you could make a 20% return over the next […]


Pay What You Want

Pay What You Want

A while ago I read an interview with a speaker and consultant who tells his clients to pay what they want. He established trust on the front end by telling clients that he trusts that they’ll pay him what he’s worth, and more often than not, the trust is returned on the back end. In […]


The Purpose of Pleasure

The Purpose of Pleasure

I recently read a remarkable book by Margaret Atwood called Oryx and Crake. Without giving too much away, one of the characters creates a race of post-human beings that are, according to him, more perfect creatures than humans. One key characteristic he designed into these new creatures is that they don’t have sex for pleasure. […]


Is It Easier to Choose a Hummus than a Woman?

Is It Easier to Choose a Hummus than a Woman?

A few days ago I was at the grocery store. Two of the items I was in the market for were spaghetti sauce and hummus. In the sauce aisle, I found myself looking at a sheer wall of sauces as far as the eye could see. There were dozens of varieties and brands and shapes […]


The Power of Origin Stories

A few weeks ago I read a blog entry on Dan Ariely’s site about a social experiment called the Significant Objects Project. The experiment entailed putting a variety of kitschy items on eBay and seeing how much they sold for. The twist was that some of the items were given elaborate back stories while others […]


The Power of an Irrelevant Option

The Power of an Irrelevant Option

What if you could have significantly more control of the choices other people make? Think about your life, your work, your business, your relationships. People make choices all the time that affect you, and for the most part, you have absolutely no control over those choices. However, you often have the power to control the […]