The human brain is such a magnificent creation.
Despite all that we’ve done to study our behavior, we still know so little. For the longest time, we believed human beings behaved rationally (hence economics). It might have worked for massive numbers, like entire populations and societies, but it didn’t stand up to what we experienced on a day-to-day basis.
Then a whole new field of study called behavioral economics burst on the scene and now we saw the academics match what we saw with our eyes.
This happens in a lot of areas because our brains are so complex with many inputs. Our understanding continues to expand and that’s a great thing.
One of those areas is that of scarcity. In a scarce environment, which defined much of human evolution, our brains behave differently. Now that we live in relative abundance, our brains aren’t really sure how to respond. Today’s articles address some of those issues in a way that have helped me understand them more:
How busyness leads to bad decisions [BBC] – “When we’re under pressure our mental bandwidth narrows – and that means we focus on the wrong tasks. So what’s the remedy for unproductive ‘tunnelling’?” This reminds me a little of how we lose our “willpower” as the day goes on. Something similar happens to the brain when it’s under pressure.
Why Creativity Is a Numbers Game [Scientific American] – “It’s a great myth that creative geniuses consistently produce great work. Whereas consistency may be the key to expertise, the secret to creative greatness appears to be doing things differently—even when that means failing.” Don’t stop reading once you get to the “they’re OK with failing” and think you got the point of the article… because then you’ll miss the two major factors.
And these two both pair nicely with this talk by Professor Scott Galloway of NYU:
— Vikas Shah MBE (@MrVikas) December 15, 2019
And now for another fun article on fraud… this time with wine.
The great wine fraud [The Guardian] – “Rudy Kurniawan amassed a vast fortune trading in rare wines. Trouble is, he was bottling them himself.” If the buyer of a fake wine still enjoys it, how bad is the fraud? (I kid… it’s still fraud and it’s terrible, but it’s not like someone robbed someone at gunpoint or took advantage of liberal lending practices and got people to sign up for adjustable rate mortgages they couldn’t afford?)
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