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”

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”