Economic Psychology

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Economic Psychology

How and why markets aren't rational. Navigational tips for charting the Bermuda Triangle of human economic behavior.




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Perfectionism: A Blessing and a Curse
 
I have always believed it is good to have high standards.

A long time ago, a not-wildy-competent coworker in a position of authority said to me that the 'secret' to his 'success' was that he "never sweats the small stuff." I barely knew how to respond, because all I could think was:
  1. You think you're successful?!
  2. What, in your view, constitutes "small"?
  3. I feel sorry for the people who have to depend on you. 
I also believe that intelligence is largely a matter of effort. We are all born with innate talents and weaknesses, but the willingness to expend energy on something that challenges us is a choice. Intelligence exists not just in the cranium, but everywhere in the body. If our muscles have brains, our brains are like muscles, which - if used - get stronger, better, and more courageous. If unused, they molt and turn to cardboard.

I have no time for people who don't extend themselves to learn and to put that learning to use in the real world. Thinking, writ large, takes energy - but it creates its own momentum. Most of the time, even when one turns out to be dead wrong, the learning is worth it. I speak from experience, with the partially-healed bruises and long list of yet-to-be-written apologies, to prove it.

That said, I tend to err in the other direction. This is not in any way to imply that it is a superior direction: au contraire.  While I'm busy researching everything I say to make sure it can be corroborated empirically, via multiple sources, I am a) driving myself nuts; and b) working so hard to protect myself from being wrong that I am missing out on learning from others, and on the thrill of discovery.

This is, BTW, a long-winded way of saying that I really enjoy thinking and writing about this field - whatever one chooses to call it. Behavioral Economics - Economic Psychology (BEEP), whatever.  I have something (err - more accurately, quite a few things) to say. It's time for me to step away from my current program - wherein I spent 96% of my time checking my facts - and to lurch into the public square.

Let's "dance!"

klutz