FAVORITE POSTS

The Starr Report: How Daniel Kahneman Helped Me Win at CrossFit

WYSIATI: the focusing illusion! Because we overemphasize the information that’s in front of our face, we don’t even realize how little we know. It’s easy to say that others who have what we want are lucky, simply because we often fail to see how different their lives are from our own. Thank you, Daniel Kahneman,…

Read More

Why No One Likes Tourists

Large-scale endeavors require that we have an idea of what people will do—and it’s more nuanced than “be nice.” Take, for example, one of the best-known studies of economic cooperation: the Ultimatum Game. In this game, one player is given $100 and told that he has to offer part of it to a second player—as much…

Read More

Why We’re Not as Hardwired as We Think: All Think is Groupthink

To survive, reproduce, and flourish, species have to develop ecological adaptations to their environment. Humans have mastered the art of living in every possible climate and landscape on earth—provided we’re in groups. Our natural environment, the one we’ve evolved special adaptations to, is the presence of other humans. Since humans and chimpanzees split from a…

Read More

The most underrated book on writing

Imagine lounging on a couch with a cup of tea and a real, physical book that you actually want to read. (In this scenario, you also have a few spare hours, your health, lots of money, and the climate has healed—because while we’re at it, let’s dream big.) You’re at a the lake house, with…

Read More

Why does the United States lack a social safety net? Blame the Pilgrims

This originally appeared on Medium. Please go there and give me a clap! In 1534, King Henry VIII wanted a divorce. Because the Pope wouldn’t grant him one, Henry decided to leave the Catholic Church and create the Church of England. It became mandatory to worship at the Church of England, which was essentially Catholicism…

Read More

The Relativity Theory of Motivation

This interview with Devon Price is the best that I’ve read in a while. Price, the author of Laziness Does Not Exist, started rethinking their entire view of productivity after reflecting on their pet chinchilla, Dumptruck. “He’s never been productive in his life… So I think animals help us remember that we shouldn’t have to…

Read More

A Unifying Theory of Heuristics

First, a story: some kids spent Christmas break in 1955 playing with Radio Flyers or dolls. Katherine Frank helped develop artificial intelligence. Over Christmas vacation, 1955, Herbert Simon tested the viability of the Logic Theory Machine by means of what can only be described as analog. Simon gave various family members cards to hold up—each of…

Read More

No one knows anything

It’s really easy to overestimate how much you know about a topic. Even—or especially—if you’re an expert. A lot of academics/psychologists I know or have worked with have a tendency to overlook what Daniel Kahneman called the most common bias: the “What You See is All There Is” bias.   “Moreover, for many current scientific fields,…

Read More

Why It’s So Easy to Overestimate How Much You Know About a Topic

Based on years and years of writing about science and studying psychology, here is my Grand Unified Theory for Why It’s So Easy to Overestimate Our Knowledge of a Topic. Let’s say you want to learn about psychology/architecture/physiology. First, that’s easy! We’re all lifelong students of behavior/buildings/bodies. So you’re starting here: Then you start reading…

Read More

Ants suffer from cognitive overload

Just a reminder: ants suffer from cognitive overload. “Individual ants made much worse decisions when faced with 8 options rather than 2 meaning that they experienced cognitive overload.” To deal with this, they engaged in collective decision-making. The ants “place the burden of making complicated decisions on the backs of the entire colony, rather than…

Read More