“Everything is Relative” — Lessons on Decision Making from Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational”

In his 2008 book “Predictably Irrational,” Dan Ariely opens our eyes to our decision making process and how it can be used against us.

Everything is Relative.

Our choices are made in comparison to other options, and what we might lose or gain with these decisions. Unfortunately, all too often we don’t know the value of those options at all! For example, do you really know the price and quality of one television set over another?

If given a set of options, Ariely lays out the predictable choices in each:

“Drive” — 10 Things I learned from Daniel Pink

A few jobs ago in a different company, I split my time between IT Support and IT Sales. It was my first job in IT. I felt lucky to be there.

Drive by Daniel Pink
Drive by Daniel Pink

In the Sales role, my sales manager was constantly looking over my shoulder.

I would compose an email to a client and he would revise it.

I would write up a specific piece of hardware and he would suggest something different.

Continue reading ““Drive” — 10 Things I learned from Daniel Pink”

My Life in Advertising, by Claude C Hopkins

My Life in Advertising chapter summaries

Pepsodent is marketed as a beauty creator. Image by Don O'Brien, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Pepsodent is marketed as a beauty creator with a message targeted towards women. Image by Don O’Brien, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

10 Things I Learned from “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)” by Tavris & Aronson

“Why do you hate so-and-so, so much?” And he had answered them, with his shameless impudence, “I’ll tell you. He has done me no harm. But I played him a dirty trick, and ever since I have hated him.”

–Dostoyevsky, “The Brothers Karamazov”

Can you justify such behavior? Image from Steve Martin's movie "The Jerk", 1979
Cat Juggling! Can you justify such behavior? Image from Steve Martin’s movie “The Jerk”, 1979

The human brain is excellent at keeping itself free of blame. We have a self-image that we’re a good person, and we also do things that harm others. The cognitive dissonance this causes can be uncomfortable… until we rewrite our memories or justify our actions. Continue reading “10 Things I Learned from “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)” by Tavris & Aronson”

“What Every BODY is Saying” by Joe Navarro

PRL Summary of “What Every BODY is Saying” by Joe Navarro

Chapter 1, I can’t hear a word they say: Decoding Non-Verbal Communication

Chapter 2, How Your Lizard Brain Gives Away Your Secrets

Chapter 3, Happy Feet and More: 20+ Secrets to Decoding Leg Movements

Chapter 4, Never Let Your Guard Down: Confidence Tells of the Torso

Chapter 5, Keep ’em at Arm’s Length

Chapter 6, Confidence Tells of the Hands

Chapter 7, Reading the Confidence Tells of the Face

Chapter 8, Lies and the Limbic Brain

10 Things I Learned from “Nudge” by Thaler and Sunstein

Most weekends, my wife and I make it a point to write out a dinner menu, spend an hour shopping, and prep for some dinners in the upcoming week.

It’s not the way we’d prefer to spend Sunday morning. It doesn’t matter. We know that having the menu ready and the food in the house is going to massively increase the chances that we will enjoy a home-cooked dinner.

"Mmmmm, Burgers!" by m01229, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Restaurant food is always ready to please! “Mmmmm, Burgers!” by m01229, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

The ever-present alternative is restaurant food. I love restaurant food! It’s cooked, it’s salty and fatty and delicious, it’s exactly what I wanted, and I can get it brought right to my front door! Continue reading “10 Things I Learned from “Nudge” by Thaler and Sunstein”

“Verbal Judo” and 10 Things I Learned from George J. Thompson

People hardly ever say what they mean. Most people are driven by emotions, especially in highly-charged circumstances. Their words reflect those emotions, even if they act otherwise.

The kid (or coworker) that grumbles throughout a task — is still doing that task (even though she’s not framing it in a positive way).

"Verbal Judo" teaches you to redirect verbal aggression as a Professional
“Verbal Judo” teaches you to redirect verbal aggression as a Professional

The spouse, during an argument, who throws out the incorrect idea that “you never do the dishes! you never do the laundry!” Continue reading ““Verbal Judo” and 10 Things I Learned from George J. Thompson”

10 Things I Learned from “Win Bigly” by Scott Adams

Way back in 2012, my wife and I traveled by Amtrak train to Chicago to visit some friends. Between card games in the bar car and beautiful scenery out the window, I read a book about Negotiation.

I was interested in making more money. I wasn’t sure how to ask or even if I was in the right profession. Continue reading “10 Things I Learned from “Win Bigly” by Scott Adams”

10 Things I Learned from “The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive” by Patrick Lencioni

My interest in Persuasion and getting people moving, getting them working and improving, overlaps with business and leadership.

I follow a number of successful entrepreneurs on Twitter. Many of them know that reality is flexible, that we create (and live by) our own limits.

Image "Put your hands up in the air" by Thomas Leuthard, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Image “Put your hands up in the air” by Thomas Leuthard, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Inspiring people to push past those self-inflicted limits is one view of Persuasion, and important for any self-starter like yourself.

Another aspect of persuasion, especially in larger businesses, is change management. Continue reading “10 Things I Learned from “The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive” by Patrick Lencioni”

10 Things I Learned from “The Appearance of Power” by Tanner Guzy

I was in NYC a few weeks ago. The color of the season is Army Green. Everywhere you look in NYC, people are wearing Army Green.

I don’t own much Army Green. I don’t like how I look in most shades of green. I tend to avoid green all together (except on Thursdays. Honestly.)

Instead of Army Green in NYC, I wore a white collared shirt, a blue jacket, and grey slacks all weekend. I also had a grey sweater. I wanted to pack minimally and still look put together. I think I did alright. I wasn’t on-trend with that Army Green, which is something I try to avoid anyways.

Maybe you’ve heard the term, “The Clothes Make The Man.” How we present ourselves packs an enormous visual punch. It sets an impression, for better or worse, every time someone sees you. Continue reading “10 Things I Learned from “The Appearance of Power” by Tanner Guzy”