How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer

Amazon link I picked this up from the library, as yet another in the recent series of books I’ve been reading that reinforce my own biases. Overall, I liked it – I knew most of the patterns in cognition that the book describes, but it summarized them nicely with good anecdotes. One standard model of […]

The Paradox of Self-Discipline

I was listening to the Fresh Air interview with Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Decide, and he mentioned an experiment that seems relevant to me right now. Lehrer describes the experiment in a Wall Street Journal article about New Year’s Resolutions: In one experiment, led by Baba Shiv at Stanford University, several dozen undergraduates […]

Cognitive Theories of Corporations

One of the topics I want to think more about is organizational cognition aka how organizations think, and how to design an intelligent organization. For some reason, I was thinking about this today, and made a connection to standard theories of cognition that I hadn’t made before. Let’s start with Descartes’s view of the world: […]

Thinking about easy

I’ve noticed a fundamental distortion in how I view the world: If I know the answer or how to do something, it’s easy. If I don’t, it’s hard. This is a distortion because this worldview devalues my accumulated experience and knowledge. It’s funny because I know how long it took me to learn what I’ve […]

Making things easy

Why was the iPod successful? It didn’t have the most features – I once bought an Archos Jukebox with many options unavailable on the iPod at the time. It certainly wasn’t price – I bought a Dell DJ for $100 less than a comparable iPod in 2005. The design and user experience, the sleekness and […]

Mapping out Organizational Space

I really liked Tim O’Reilly’s post today about how companies like Google and WalMart are incorporating IT into their organizational DNA. O’Reilly’s post describes how those example companies are mapping out a new way of organizing people built around integrating IT into how the organization functions: Sensing, processing, and responding (based on pre-built models of […]

Situational vs. Dispositional Management

In my post about Philip Zimbardo’s work, I mentioned the concepts of situational vs. dispositional tendencies. One might see these as being obscure cognitive constructs. However, a recent situation made me realize that beliefs about these tendencies have direct consequences on management styles. So let’s dig into this some more by starting with a description […]

Spreading Ideas and Framing

Noah Brier wrote an interesting post yesterday about how certain ideas spread virally even when people disagree with them. His examples include Sarah Palin or Wired’s “Blogging is dead” article, where the blogosphere is buzzing about how bad an idea something is, but are still spreading the original idea far beyond its original audience because […]