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”

I Smell a Rat! The Prisoner’s Dilemma

Did you know the original Universities were designed as Prisons to keep unruly young men caged up while their hormones drove risky behavior that threatened the local social harmony?

Rather than allow young people to take risks that help them to grow and experience life, we continue to indoctrinate them with social rules to help keep the order.

The risks available to busy students are far less violent than what may be the alternatives.

I don’t remember everything from University. There certainly weren’t a lot of dangerous risks in the small town where I studied.

Dorm life was a party — and we could smoke indoors! A “career” after graduation seemed a lifetime away. Econ 101 taught me the benefits of Free Trade.

I hated this class! Photo "Amherst63-012" by NealeA, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
I loved this class! Photo “Amherst63-012” by NealeA, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

And while I learned a lot I’m sure, there is plenty that I didn’t learn.

Maybe you, too?

•We didn’t learn how to start a business in university — the mindset of an entrepreneur.

•We didn’t learn how to create and maintain a budget — the mindset of habit.

•We didn’t learn to negotiate — the mindset of persuasion.

This is the reason I’ve started PersuasionReadingList.com — to learn what I should know to understand what moves the human mind, and to share these concepts of influence with you. Continue reading “I Smell a Rat! The Prisoner’s Dilemma”

“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 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”