Archive | May, 2013

Behavioural economics, a new scholary field

15 May

I went along to meet Craig Rispin this week, he runs a mentoring group in Sydney every few weeks, Melbourne too and it’s always interesting to hear what he has to say.

The structure of the presentation is, Craig introduces topics we normally wouldn’t know about, one of the topics he introduced was a new scholarly field called ‘Behavioural economics‘ and a interesting man called ‘Dan Ariely’

I was introduced to ‘CDU’, which of course in ‘Consultant debunked unit’, it appears more and more people are turning to evidence based consulting and evidence based testing.

We can be blinded by our own self interests and so too can other people, its important to be aware of this.

With Dan Ariley, in the past his skin was badly burnt, as part of his treatment he needed to have his bandages changed frequently and when the bandages were changed, they were ripped off, with high pain, this was the best practice, at the time.

For Dan, taking the bandages off slower, with lower pain, for a longer period time would have been preferable, and after his own studies, he proved taking the bandages off slower was better and now this method is a ‘Best practice’, this was the start and now best practices are being challenged in many different industries

Conflicts of interest

This might not seem so strange at first, but recently i learnt a while back that eating fat does not make you fat, eating carbohydrates makes you fat

The hormone insulin is responsible for obesity, and levels of insulin spike when we eat carbohydrates, leading us to get fat. Eating fat, he says, does not have this effect on insulin and therefore is not the culprit in making people overweight or obese

In his books, Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat, Taubes writes that a small but influential contingent of American nutritionists – Jean Mayer, Fred Stare, Jules Hirsch, George Bray, Theodore Vanitallie, Albert Stunkard, George Cahill and Philip White – then became the leading authorities in the field. ”They all came out of the north-eastern academic corridor – Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Rockerfeller, the University of Pennsylvania – and they all knew each other,” he writes.

”None of these authorities actually specialised in the clinical treatment of obesity [except for one], who did so as a psychiatrist treating an eating disorder. Nor were they necessarily the best scientists in their field.”

In the late ’70s, Taubes says, these researchers addressed a committee charged with establishing the ”Dietary Goals for Americans”, embracing the committee’s recommendation of a national diet lower in fat and higher in carbohydrates.

Gandhi was a Behavioural economist

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Whats interesting to me is in Ghandi’s book, ‘My experiments with truth’, is he devised his own logic, if one of the many truths he thought to be true would be proved false, he would rethink his whole outlook.

Knowledge that is assumed, when combined with other truths cannot be correct, sometimes it can be so obvious everybody can miss it.

Another example that comes to mind is in relation to sight reading music, i hear a story of a teacher that gave a piece of music to a student to play and he played it correctly, except it was wrong, on closer inspection, it appeared like how humans don’t need to read a whole word to interpret a word, we read the first letter and last letter and interpret the word.

So too, with musicians that sight read, they play the rhythm, they do not read every note and this was only discovered with this professor trying to figure out why professional musicians played a piece of music correctly, even though it was transcribed incorrectly.

Sometimes you have to ask the obvious questions, which reminds me of Karl Pilkington’s series ‘An Idiot abroad’

Sometimes the questions he asks are pretty good, sometimes…

Or the ‘fools quest’, as Tom Robbins said in his book ‘Half asleep in frogs pajamas’

“..the whole tarot deck, or at least the twenty-two trump cards of the Major Arcana, may be read as the Fool’s journey. “On one important level,” she explained, “the major cards are chapters in the story of a quest. I’m talking the universal human quest for understanding and divine reunion.

And it doesn’t matter whether the quest starts with the Fool or ends with him, because it’s a loop anyhow, a cycle endlessly repeated. When the naive young Fool finally tumbles over the precipice, he falls into the world of experience. Now his journey has really begun. Along the way, he’ll meet all the teachers and tempters – the tempters are teachers, too – and challenging situations that a person is likely to meet in the task of his or her growing.

The Fool is potentially everybody, but not everybody has the wisdom or the guts to play the fool. A lot of folks don’t know what’s in that bag they’re carrying. And they’re all too willing to trade it for cash. Inside the bag, the have every tool they need to facilitate their life’s journey, but they won’t even open it up and glance inside.

Subconsciously, the goal of all of us out-of-control primates is essentially the same, but let me assure you of this: the only ones who’ll ever reach that goal are the ones who have the courage to make fools of themselves along the way.”

An idiot abroad

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Make what you are…

8 May

I attended a lean Startup networking work from the park event a few months ago, i haven’t been blogging my ideas, but i have the notes.

One of the notes i made was in reference to Brian Eno, in relation to his album ‘Lux

‘Make what you are’

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One reviewer said 

‘Lux’ is the kind of album that would make you think about the time you have left to live

Sounds interesting?

Brian Eno is a very quotable guy, some of the things he says would really make you question what you do and how you go about doing it.

Brian Eno has a creative process, take a look at it here

1. Freeform capture.

2. Blank state.

3. Deliberate limitations.

4. Opposing forces.

5. Creative prompts

Leonardo Da Vinci had a creative process too his four main principles were

1. Study the science of art.

2. Study the art of science.

3. Develop all your senses especially your ability to see.

4. Study all the above in the light of the idea that everything connects, in some way, to everything else.

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Brian Eno:

Nearly all the things I do that are of any merit at all start off as just being good fun

I remember sitting one day on a friends couch while she was out running, i watched this Brian Eno documentary

 

What i like about his way of thinking is he:

  • Explores polar opposites with music and retreats to a comfortable place
  • He would use a bird outside his window in the music he was making, which reminds me about a story about how William S Burroughs used to tell his students to include the person that walked past in their stories, his students thought they were losing their minds
  • I love his idea of ‘Thin slicing’, instead of using 1000 sounds, just use 6 great ones, the same principle can be used in your life for self development, i.e. if you want great improvement, select 3 things to improve and base everything around those 3 things you wish to improve
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