Economic Theory to answer question on Love, Life and Sex.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Behavioral Economics, Podcast, Thinking

The social norms in western countries are beyond our understanding. Its fascinating to know how relationship are viewed by young and old in USA. Lot of fun is added by Economist Tim Harford, who used economic tools to answer the question on love, sex and life. NPR produces treasure trove of ideas, podcast are worth listening.

Disclaimer : its long, it may take 5 minutes for you to figure out, where its heading, trust me, its lot of fun. Normally, we do not get time or have patience to listen, oh… boy, it was really funny and intellectually very stimulating..

NPR Here is the Link.


Q test

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Interesting Idea

Psychologist Richard Wiseman, the author of “59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute,” has a simple test to determine whether you are a good liar or not.

It’s called the “Q” test and it takes about five seconds to complete.

Here’s how it works: Using the first finger of your dominant hand, draw a capital letter Q on your forehead. OK, you’re done.

Now, which side of your forehead did you draw the tail of the letter Q?

If you drew the tail on the left side of your forehead (so it could be read by someone facing you), then you are aware of how other people perceive you and you are good at lying.

If you drew the tail on the right side of your forehead (so you can read it), then you are more of an introvert and you are bad at lying.


Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Interesting Idea

Our experiences, environment, state of mind have an immediate impact on our attitude, more importantly, our character woven over a long period of time, determines our general attitude. To my mind, a simplistic definition of attitude is our reaction to a given situation/circumstances.

In jovial mood, a driver cutting across the lane does not drive us crazy, not the same scenario when we have a bad hair day. Interestingly,Social psychologist say that our daily attitude  is driven by character strengths like grit, curiosity, generosity, self control so and so forth. Some time, we have sudden outburst of anger like a trip wire going haywire, making us regret the events later on. Cycle keeps going on, until we realise, who we have become.

Attiude determines our happiness, unfortunately, while thinking about it, I could not come across any single course, classes, academics or programmes that could help us deal with it. That prompted me to think about how could an attitude be tailored. On one hand, good habits/character strength does help us in a right mood, on other hand, our sub conscious mind determines our general attitude.

So the key may be to consciously work upon our impulsive behaviours. It has an inherent dichotomy, how would you control impulsiveness, as by nature, we do not have much of conscious control over the moment. Self control is driven by executive function of our mind. It determines our reaction, would it be a measured thought or reckless action in the spur of moment. Kids do not have much control over executive function, as we grow up, our executive function determines our sub-conscious self, direct us to behave; based on set of character strength (grit etc.) imbibed in our mind.

May be, i am not sure answer lies in slowing down a bit, having some self control over our behaviour, focusing on character traits and above all be conscious about how we take decisions/react to situation.

That could help us build a right attitude…(if some thing like that exist…!)


Life is Luck, Here how to Plan Career Around It.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Behavioral Economics, Thinking


Daniel Kahneman has claimed the following as his favorite equation:

Success = talent + luck

Great success = a little more talent + a lot of luck

Kahneman’s implication is that the difference between moderate and great success is mostly luck, not skill. Chance plays a much greater role in our careers than we might wish or even realize. Most of us can live with the upside of this observation: we tend to claim credit for good luck anyway. But the downside — the thought of our careers as the playthings of fate — is almost unbearable. Fortunately, we can make decisions that help minimize the influence of bad luck on our lives.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb argues that $1 million earned as a dentist is not the same as $1 million earned as a rockstar because success as an artist depends much more on chance. If you imagine a game of “career roulette,” you end up a starving artist 99 times for every time you end up a rockstar. If you want to minimize the chance of bad luck, he says, be a dentist. There are no “starving dentists.”

But our goal isn’t simply to minimize the influence of luck; it’s to minimize the chance that bad luck will lead to an unacceptable circumstances, be that starving, divorce, failing to achieve the autonomy you crave, etc. In other words, we want to minimize the risk associated with high uncertainty in our careers.

If minimizing the chance of an unacceptable outcome is our goal, what should we look for, when career decisions loom? Here are three answers.

The role of chance in determining performance 

The first question to answer is how much of the success in a given field, or for a given project, is due to chance. Domains with a lot of uncertainty – where cause and effect are not well understood, or the context is changing constantly, or factors over which you have no visibility or control play a large role in determining performance – have the highest likelihood of skilled people failing. Evidence of the role of chance often comes in the form of high variance of performance – a right-skewed distribution of project outcomes. We see high variance in investment performance, new product launches, startups, creative industries, and academia, all areas where luck plays an outsized role.

The number of tries you have before poor performance is attributed to skill 

Extreme uncertainty is only a problem if the organization holds you responsible for failure that has more to do with chance than with your skill. Well-run organizations will deal with high-variance projects by relying on process metrics and by judging you on diversified outcomes. Process metrics are easiest when the causal mechanism linking behavior and performance is well understood: driving down cycle time in software experiments allows for more experiments, which produces better results. Diversification is either concurrent (making a portfolio of many investments that are held over the same time horizon) or serial (making a series of investments that average out to a portfolio).

The startup world offers an example of serial diversification: everyone recognizes that, even entrepreneurs who “do everything right,” will fail more likely than not. But entrepreneurs can diversify over time by being involved in different ventures – dramatically increasing the chance that skill will pay off over time. While luck is the biggest factor in “home-run” successes, the ability to have investors say “call me when you’re starting your next company” can be achieved mostly through skill.

The degree to which early success causes subsequent success

If early success actually causes later success, the cream doesn’t always rise to the top. When success breeds success and initial success is largely random, the most successful people are those whose early luck compounded – skill doesn’t necessarily tell over time, because diversification is impossible. Sociologist Robert Merton first recognized this phenomenon in academic success and dubbed it “the Matthew Effect,” quoting a Bible passage in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Consider the case of two aspiring venture capitalists: both are very smart and good at what they do. One went to Stanford; the other, Harvard. If they begin investing in 1995, Stanford hears about and invests in Google and Harvard fails to get the early opportunity to invest; if they start in 2005, Harvard gets a chance to invest in Facebook, while Stanford is left out. In either case, early success leads to better dealflow, more opportunities for acquisition (selling new investments to Facebook or Google), more opportunities to recruit talent, stronger networks of advisors, and many other advantages. Instead of averaging out over time, the initial difference between the investors is compounded. While nearly every career provides reputational benefits for (often unearned) early success, few compound the benefits of early luck as strongly as venture capital.

Mitigating the risks of uncertainty in your career

Risk for our purposes is the chance of an outcome you can’t afford – so risk is entirely in the eye of the beholder. Often, skill can ensure that we meet the minimum economic or psychological thresholds we want from our work. But we can use an understanding of luck to pick strategies that minimize unnecessary career risk. Based on what we know about luck, here are some ways to avoid its downsides:

Avoid rigged games – Think hard about accepting a project that is highly uncertain if your performance will be compared to low-uncertainty projects.

Know what you care about – The more important relative performance is, the more you should avoid luck-dominated options, where the difference between good and great more likely results from luck than skill. Conversely, the more you care about “impact” – that the world look different as a result of your work – the more you should consider high-uncertainty choices. If you care most about certainty and social approbation, become a doctor; if you care about expected impact, start a healthcare company.

Reduce risk by smart timing – Pay attention to the order of decisions. Often reversing the order of two decisions can dramatically change their total risk. For example, starting a company as your first job out of college has very little downside – the worst case, you get interesting, valuable experiences that differentiates you among a field of bland candidates. Starting the same company after three years in your first job entails greater financial and career opportunity costs. (It often is still a good idea, but the potential downside is greater.)

Create portfolios – When operating in high-uncertainty environments, look for opportunities to diversify. As a product manager, you can run quick experiments to remove uncertainty from potential projects; as a middle manager, you can sponsor more than one project to increase the probability and magnitude of success on risky projects.

Reframe the risks you’re taking – Poker players think in terms of expectation – whether a given decision, on average, would make or lose money – as a way of avoiding decision regret and outcome bias. Often the most rewarding professional experiences have the most uncertainty. Instead of concentrating on the results of a decision, think about its expected value – both in financial and psychological terms.

Focus on what you can control: Some aspects of our lives are either highly predictable or naturally diversified. Relationships tend to be both: putting effort into friendships almost always strengthens them, and we have both many friends and many opportunities to strengthen each friendship. Invest in relationships, and they’ll pay a highly reliable dividend.

Source : Harvard Business Review

Thinking : Behavioural Economics & Irrationality

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Behavioral Economics, Thinking, Uncategorized


We read many articles, concepts, have ideas and yet, while grappling with questions, normally principles does not surface in our mind that prompts us to deal with situations differently. We are driven by our emotions, experiences and various social norms. Our thinking as per System-1, as defined by Mr. Daniel Kahneman, a nobel winner in behavioural economics is erratic, impulsive while at best automatic. Secondary thinking a.k.a. System-2, which is deliberate, hardly comes to our consciousness.  Learning of behavioural economics can be applied in every facet of our life. Professor Dan Ariely is another proponent of thinking without irrationality. Some where irrationality and behavioural economics sub merges, and where we can consciously evolve our thinking. It help us to define the problem with a different context. Mr. Ariely writes a column in Wall Street Journal, where he answers seeming simple/complex problems with the tools of social psychology/ behavioural economics/ irrational et all.. One such question is below. This would make you understand, how to define problems with  a certain perspective…once; we know the problem…Answers are very easy..

Dear Dan,

I recently attended a lecture by a well-known academic, and I was amazed and baffled by his inability to communicate even the most basic concepts in his field of expertise. How can experts be so bad at explaining ideas to others? Is this a requirement of academia?


Here’s a game I sometimes play with my students: I ask them to think about a song, not to tell anyone what it is and tap its beat on a table. Next I ask them to predict how many other students in the room will correctly guess the song’s name. They usually think that about half will get it. Then I ask the rest of the students for their predictions—and no one ever gets it right.

The point is that when we know something and know it well, it is hard for us to appreciate what other people understand. This problem is sometimes called “the curse of knowledge.” We all suffer from this affliction, but it’s particularly severe for my fellow academics. We study things until they seem entirely natural to us and then assume that everyone else easily understands them too. So maybe the type of clumsiness you heard is indeed something of a professional requirement.

See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.

Why Google wants to give you 101 alternatives to .com

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Technology, Web


Hundreds of new top-level domain names (the last bit of a web address, like .com) will hit the web this year. Of nearly 2,000 proposed domains, 101 belong to Google, one of the largest single applicants. That’s odd, for Google has worked hard to make domain names as irrelevant as possible.

Google’s web browser, Chrome, was the first to merge the address bar and search box at the top into one “omnibox.” This makes the browser easier to use, but it also makes people more likely to search, including for staple sites like Facebook, YouTube, and even Google (pdf, p.224). (It’s quicker to type “facebook” than “”.) That means they use Google search more, and see more ads, which give Google the bulk of its revenue.

Let’s imagine that Bob wants a website for his car company in Brooklyn, and can’t find a shorter .com address available than Bob would love to have a short address like instead. But if people search Google for “Bob’s car Brooklyn,” they’ll find him. And they’ll see ads every time. Why, then, should Google care about buying .car and letting Bob have his address on it?

Here’s Google’s answer to that question, in full:

“Our main focus is to make the introduction of new TLDs a good experience for web users. We’re just beginning to explore a new source of innovation on the web, and we are both excited and curious about the potential for these new TLDs. By opening up more choices for Internet domain names, we believe users will have options for more diverse—and perhaps shorter—signposts in cyberspace.”

That doesn’t tell us much, but here’s what’s really going on. Google wants to get the entire world online. It has three ways of doing that. The first is simply to help people get internet connections. One mission of Google’s offices in Africa and Asia is to get people online, through outreach programs or by introducing them to the internet for the first time.

The second is to get people already online to spend more time online. GoogleX, its innovation lab, generally publicized as sexy, out-there inventioneering, has the same purpose. Google Glass? Geared toward keeping you online all the time. Driverless cars? Angling to keep you online while commuting. Delivering the internet through balloons? A way to keep you online in out-of-the-way places.

The third way is getting people to have an online presence. Google’s business is search, but all those people who just came online need things to search for. Just because every cafe in Brooklyn has a website doesn’t mean every grocery store in New Delhi or even Albuquerque, New Mexico does. Google wants everybody to be both an online consumer and producer; that’s what Google+ is all about.

The new domain names are part of that mission. They help Google convince more business to finally get their own website—like These websites give Google valuable new data. And, of course, if the owners of the new websites want to be found, they’re best off advertising—with Google.

Courtesy : Quartz

Productivity Hacks: The Law of Least Action

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Productivity Hack


Cosmologists are closing in one a radical theory of the universe that will link it to human life in a very intimate way. Instead of a cold, lifeless void, the cosmos is about to emerge as a living thing whose operations are intelligent and conscious. What does that have to do with meeting your next deadline and cutting your work week back from sixty to eighty hours? Let me explain.

One of the classic laws of physics is known as the Law of Least Action, which says (in simplified form) that Nature takes the shortest, most efficient route to accomplish things. From chemical reactions to the curving arc followed by a baseball, whatever is the least action needed is the amount of energy consumed. This is the physics equivalent of saying that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

You can confirm a straight line simply by looking at it, but when a baseball is thrown, Nature computes trajectory, gravity, momentum, mass, and friction all at once to arrive at least action, and it happens instantly and automatically. Change one element in the equation  such as throwing the ball on a rainy day  and adjustment is made immediately.

If the Law of Least Action was applied to the human brain, productivity would increase tenfold, because making a decision would be an automatic, effortless computation of all the variables involved. Such a possibility seems far-fetched, however, when you consider that any decision you make in business  such as hiring a new employee  enters into various gray areas. Is the new hire honest, reliable, experienced, capable in a crisis, a team player? The productivity of a new employee involves these variables and more.

But consider this: Your brain already operates by the Law of Least Action. Every electrical impulse traveling down a neuron, every chemical reaction leaping across a synapse, must obey this law. That implies that there is an efficient state of the brain as a whole. This, too, is a reality. If asked to add 2+2, your brain gives the answer instantly, unlike a computer, which must actually calculate any problem posed to it. The human mind works by a combination of insight, creativity, memory, quantum leaps of creativity, and other aspects unknown to computers. And much if not all of this is done according to the Law of Least Action.

Therefore, the ultimate productivity hack is this: give the Law of Least Action a chance. Stop interfering with it.
Tips for promoting least action:

    • Get enough sleep.
    • Promote an open environment for the exchange of ideas
    • Allow free communication at every level of work and management
    • Support the whole group emotionally
    • Ask for honest feedback
    • Make every worker feel valued

Tips for getting out of the way:

    • Stop using undue pressure
    • Don’t promote stress as an incentive
    • Don’t use intimidation
    • Don’t isolate management from workers
    • Let go of old, familiar ways of doing things  

By : Deepak Chopra
Founder, Chopra Foundation

Hat tip : Mr. Amit Trivedi.


Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Books, Thinking


The Passion is Bullshit.

The goals are for looser.

If you happen to follow the Dilbert Cartoon and loves the blog post of Mr. Scott Adams, you know about his book. How to fail at all most everything and still make it big….The books is very interesting read…Presently its not available in India, you may have to order thru or Flipkart.

Very intelligently book; written in humours way. The concepts and Ideas are very thought provoking.

You may enjoy the Teaser about his book on Slide Share.


Follow him on dilbert.



Avoid Using Mobile : How automation can help us.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Interesting Idea, Technology

We all have desire; not to use Smart Phones while driving, unfortunately, we could not stop urge, when incoming calls / message comes in. We are hard wired to use the mobile devise at every occasion. If we do not have Mobile in our hand, it feels like we are missing something..It seems best way to avoid these distraction is to force ourselves from not using it by use of very same technology that propels our urge. In singapore, Samsung started a pilot project, which uses the cell tower and speed of the vehicle to automatically block the incoming calls/message. Thats abstains us from indulging…very simple trick but surely, if some one makes similar apps commercially, it could help us more than one ways…