No. 485 — August 14th, 2022
Brain Food is a weekly newsletter full of timeless insights you can use.
We all make decisions. Some of them are large and many of them are small. Few of us understand that the process we use to make those decisions is more important than the analysis we put into the decision.
Gary Klein has spent nearly 50 years studying how and why people make the decisions they do. Here is my conversation with him to discuss the field of naturalistic decision making, the difference between experience and expertise, why some people stagnate at an intermediate level, Cognitive Flexibility Theory, the role of storytelling, how to gain insights, fixation errors, cognitive biases, mental models, how to fast-track expertise, and so much more.
“To be a good manager, you want things to run smoothly. And insights are not ways of running smoothly. Insights are disorganizing and disruptive. And so, that’s a major reason that organizations, without even intending to, block the insights that come their way.”
“What the wise man does in the beginning, the fool does in the end.”
— Warren Buffett
A huge obstacle to success is a fear of appearing foolish.
When we learn to walk, we fall over and over again until we can do it. We look foolish until the minute we don’t. That is how we learn. As adults we often tell ourselves that falling in front of other people is bad, so we don’t try things that might make us look foolish.
During boom times, people who aggressively went all in appear to be prospering and make a more financially stable approach seem foolish. Only those who were properly positioned, however, can take advantage when the boom ends.
So much advantage in life comes from being willing to look foolish in the short term.
Kirkland Signature → “The sole private-label brand at Costco is an essential part of the retailer’s positioning with customers and a way for Costco to stand out against competitors. … Having one name signals consistency to shoppers — exactly Costco’s goal — and also creates cost efficiencies for the no-frills retailer. Costco doesn’t have to pay for different packaging and can put all of its buying power with suppliers behind Kirkland. A single private brand is emblematic of Costco’s broader approach to merchandise at warehouses: Less choice is better.”
The Anxious Generation (FT/paywalled) → “School is a habit. And for the children who need school the most, this habit is broken.” (If you have a FT subscription this article is worth it. It’s also too important to be behind a paywall so I’ve asked the author, Lucy Kellaway to come on TKP and discuss with me.)
P.S. This is neat.