Thinking By Nature
How to think better? The general wisdom is that we are what our thoughts make of us. I have realized that this is not just true in philosophical terms, but in general for every aspect of our decision making. The general idea of avoiding biases has gone mainstream with the emergence of behavior economics and finance.
There is a whole cottage industry that has come up around helping individuals and organizations to think better. ‘Designing Nudges or Choice Architectures’ and ‘Avoiding Thinking Fallacies’ is the name of the game. Peter Bernstein calls the proclaimed gurus of behavior economics/finance as ‘Theory Police’. A noisy debate that has existed for a long time has intensified. To me, whether human beings are purely rational or completely foolish is a wrong question. Human beings are neither, as real life scenarios don’t happen in a controlled environment. Also, when you mix economic incentives with social context, the choices and associated behaviors are seldom straight forward. As in most debates in the current age, people stick to their talking points and don’t listen much. Their disagreements are mostly attributable to different framing of the same problem, and most often they are even saying the same things without realizing so.
I decided that I should start writing myself, not to add another voice in the cacophony, but to document some practical insights for myself. Hopefully the people who read will also find it useful. Certainly, there are much better and definitely more learned people commenting on the scientific merits of theory as a whole.
I just want to summarize the key thoughts and practices. I am calling my blog ‘Thinking by Nature’ because we spend a lot of times in our head thinking along with living our daily lives. If we end up improving how we think, it simplifies our physical life as well. I will be reading, listening and curating here. If you have thoughts, suggestions and comments, please feel free to chime in.