Can we design decision tools to offset or even leverage the hurdles that our brains put in front the most important decisions that we face? Take planning and saving for a comfortable retirement. How much and in what one invests are two of the most important decisions any adult needs to make and take responsibility for. “Do your … Continue reading Can Robots Save Us?
There are three things we need to make wise and rational decisions with confidence: time, information and smarts. Unfortunately, as mere humans, we know that these resources are in short supply. Indeed, the vast range of choices we have to make daily and the overwhelming influx of information and stimuli can limit or confuse all … Continue reading Push the Limits on Rational Decision-Making
Cognitive biases, prejudices and short-cuts, are bad, right? Anything that gets in the way of making rational decisions necessarily reduces our welfare. Our natural inclination towards the current moment, aversion to loss, inattention and procrastination leads many of us to under-save for retirement, with potentially disastrous consequences for ourselves and society. Do these self-sabotaging biases … Continue reading Cognitive Biases: Flaw or Feature?
A bias is an unconscious, natural and immediate prejudice or tendency to a particular action. Bias-driven decisions may or may not be consistent with that which may result from a more deliberative or thoughtful process. Biases can be harmful: think of prejudices in employment, housing and education. They can be helpful as when we slam on … Continue reading Bias Among Us: How to Influence Others & Ourselves
My college-era friends enjoy reminding me of the time decades ago when I sent the waiter at a fancy restaurant away several times as I struggled to select an entrée from the menu. It was an important decision for me: the dinner out was a rare splurge to celebrate graduation with close friends who were about … Continue reading Your Decision-Making Personality: Myers-Briggs & TAIS
As the father of two teens who happens to be fascinated by decision making, I had a special interest in “The Terrible Teens“, in the August 31 New Yorker. It opens with vivid visual of (male, of course) adolescent mice drinking alcohol to oblivion. According to author Francis Jensen, teens’ frontal lobes aren’t yet that … Continue reading Teen Brains and the Meaning of Life
HBR’s recent article, Leaders as Decision Architects, is a detailed investigation of how business managers can improve employee choices by adjusting the framework, context and process in which those decisions are made. The authors draw from two of my favorite books in behavioral economics, “Thinking Fast and Slow” and “Nudge”. There’s no doubt that in the right … Continue reading Choice Architecture: Don’t be Evil
My favorite article this week was Why Introverts Make Great Entrepreneurs, (WSJ) for three reasons: 1) it dispels the myth (which I held) that an entrepreneur must be extraverted; 2) it summarizes the relative strengths that introverts bring to business leadership, which can apply equally well to decision making in general and 3) It quotes Susan Cain, the author … Continue reading Introversion, Entrepreneurialism & Decision Making
The Atlantic recently ran this terrific article by Jonathan Rauch about the nearly universal u-shaped path of happiness that most humans and some primates follow: Happiness starts relatively high in early adulthood, declining steadily until late 40s or early 50s, when it picks up again until the final years. It appears to be much more … Continue reading Career Decisions & the U-Shaped Happiness Curve
We can we improve our ability to make wise choices in business and personal life by better understanding our brains and setting up conditions conducive to good decision-making. A good example is when we are confronted with a major life decision such as whether to seek (or accept) a new job. While few would argue this … Continue reading Approach and Avoid: How to Use the SCARF Model to Set Better Conditions for Career Decisionmaking