What We’re Reading

Noise:

Think of the example in which the first person to talk is the CEO and then everybody agrees. Then the agreement of other people is not informative. In fact, you had one person making the judgment. That’s the extreme of abolishing — of eliminating the appearance of noise without eliminating the reality of them.

Business growth:

“You know, we didn’t do what a firm like Goldman [Sachs] might have. We didn’t ask ourselves what size we should be to meet the business. We asked what business we should take to match our size.”

Pessimism:

We seem to have a primal impulse to believe we are present at the end, or at least some sort of grand inflection point in world history. You don’t need to be in a doomsday cult, constantly moving back your Google calendar event marked The End of Days, to constantly believe you are present for the most important time in history, after which nothing will be the same. We all seem to. Maybe it makes us feel that we ourselves are important, that bearing witness to such grand events—or even participating in them—cancels out the fact that we are one relatively young species on one planet in one solar system in what basically amounts to a galactic backwater. That kind of thinking is most unwelcome for a species that has, to its credit, conquered an entire world through ingenuity and adaptability. Insignificance is intolerable for beings cursed with our excruciating level of self-awareness.

Work:

Working more than 55 hours a week in a paid job resulted in 745,000 deaths in 2016, the study estimated, up from 590,000 in 2000. About 398,000 of the deaths in 2016 were because of stroke and 347,000 because of heart disease. Both physiological stress responses and changes in behavior (such as an unhealthy diet, poor sleep and reduced physical activity) are “conceivable” reasons that long hours have a negative impact on health, the authors suggest.

Kahenman:

You know, we didn’t have any particular expectations of changing the world when we did our research. And my own experience of how little this knowledge has changed the quality of my own judgment can be sobering. Avoiding noise in judgment is not really something individuals are going to be very good at. I really put my faith, if there is any faith to be placed, in organisations.

Have a good weekend.


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