jerryking + human_behavior   10

Opinion | Survival of the Sneakiest - The New York Times
By David P. Barash
Dr. Barash studies the evolutionary factors influencing human behavior.....Stealth can win out over speed and strength in the arms race of evolution.

Dec. 15, 2018
arms_race  evolution  natural_selection  human_behavior  stealth  human_evolution 
december 2018 by jerryking
How to Be a C.E.O., From a Decade’s Worth of Them
T OCT. 27, 2017 | The New York Times | Corner Office By ADAM BRYAN.

It started with a simple idea: What if I sat down with chief executives, and never asked them about their companies?.....not about pivoting, scaling or moving to the cloud, but how they lead their employees, how they hire, and the life advice they give or wish they had received....C.E.O.s offer a rare vantage point for spotting patterns about management, leadership and human behavior....What's the best path to becoming a chief executive? No one path... too many variables, many of them beyond your control, including luck, timing and personal chemistry. Bryan cites three recurring themes.

First, they share a habit of mind that is best described as “applied curiosity.”...They make the most of whatever path they’re on, wringing lessons from all their experiences.
Second, C.E.O.s seem to love a challenge. Discomfort is their comfort zone.
The third theme is how they managed their own careers on their way to the top. They focus on doing their current job well, and that earns them promotions... focus on building a track record of success, and people will keep betting on you.
The Most Important Thing About Leadership, Part I - understand that leadership as a series of paradoxes.
The Most Important Thing About Leadership, Part II - the most important qualities of effective leadership? trustworthiness, “If you want to lead others, you’ve got to have their trust, and you can’t have their trust without integrity,” A close cousin of trustworthiness is how much you respect the people who work for you....“By definition if there’s leadership, it means there are followers, and you’re only as good as the followers,” he said. “I believe the quality of the followers is in direct correlation to the respect you hold them in. It’s not how much they respect you that is most important. It’s actually how much you respect them. It’s everything.”
‘Culture Is Almost Like a Religion’ - “No matter what people say about culture, it’s all tied to who gets promoted, who gets raises and who gets fired,” he said. “You can have your stated culture, but the real culture is defined by compensation, promotions and terminations. Basically, people seeing who succeeds and fails in the company defines culture. The people who succeed become role models for what’s valued in the organization, and that defines culture.”
Men vs. Women (Sigh) - distinctions in leadership style are less about gender and more about factors like whether they are introverts or extroverts, more analytical or creative, and even whether they grew up in a large or small family....the actual work of leadership? It’s the same, regardless of whether a man or a woman is in charge. You have to set a vision, build cultural guardrails, foster a sense of teamwork, and make tough calls. All of that requires balancing the endless paradoxes of leadership, and doing it in a way that inspires trust.
I Have Just One Question for You - If you could ask somebody only one question, and you had to decide on the spot whether to hire them based on their answer, what would it be?.....“So if I ask you, ‘What are the qualities you like least and most in your parents?’ you might bristle at that, or you might be very curious about it, or you’ll just literally open up to me. And obviously if you bristle at that, it’s too vulnerable an environment for you.”
My Favorite Story -..... It’s work ethic,” he said. “You could see the guy had charted a path for himself to make it work with the situation he had. He didn’t ask for any help. He wasn’t victimized by the thing. He just said, ‘That’s my dad’s business, and I work there.’ Confident. Proud.”

Mr. Green added: “You sacrifice and you’re a victim, or you sacrifice because it’s the right thing to do and you have pride in it. Huge difference. Simple thing. Huge difference.”

Best Career and Life Advice - biggest career inflection points, he told me, came from chance meetings, giving rise to his advice: “Play in traffic.”

“It means that if you go push yourself out there and you see people and do things and participate and get involved, something happens,” he said. “Both of my great occasions in life happened by accident simply because I showed up.”“I tell people, just show up, get in the game, go play in traffic,” Mr. Plumeri said. “Something good will come of it, but you’ve got to show up.”....from Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University. Her suggestion to students:

“They should never assume that they can predict what experiences will teach them the most about what they value, or about what their life should be,” she said. “You have to be open and alert at every turn to the possibility that you’re about to learn the most important lesson of your life.”
howto  human_behavior  CEOs  career_paths  Managing_Your_Career  curiosity  discomforts  values  hard_work  trustworthiness  paradoxes  pairs  organizational_culture  gender_gap  work_ethic  playing_in_traffic  compensation  rewards  beyond_one's_control  guardrails  inflection_points 
october 2017 by jerryking
I see history as my root and my illumination
5 August /6 August 2017 | Financial Times | by Kwame Nkrumah Cain.

Sir, I am a bit perplexed at how Henry Mance can assert that history is “rarely instructive” (“ ‘Dunkirk’ shows that the past is not an open book”, July 29). At Stanford University, I was particularly attracted to history because Dionysius of Halicarnassus praised it as “philosophy learnt by example” [ Greek historian and teacher of rhetoric, who flourished during the reign of Caesar Augustus.]. Even to this day, such study helps me heed the counsel of the dead and marshal the strength of my own mind.

I see history as a laboratory rich in a hundred thousand experiments in economics, religion, literature, science and government. I see history as my root and my illumination, as the road from whence I came and the only light that can clarify the present and guide me into the future.

As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stated: “He who cannot draw on 3,000 years is living from hand to mouth.” (i.e. my take is that being able to draw on 3,000 yrs. of living is the definition of wisdom).
========================================

Comment:
Gene 4 days ago
History is the great uncontrolled experiment on human behavior. Lessons should be drawn from it with caution (as history shows).
letters_to_the_editor  history  quotes  tools  hand-to-mouth  Greek  lessons_learned  skepticism  experimentation  wisdom  human_behavior  the_counsel_of_the_dead  foresight  Kwame_Nkrumah 
august 2017 by jerryking
Donald Trump Poisons the World
JUNE 2, 2017 | The New York Times | David Brooks.

This week, two of Donald Trump’s top advisers, H. R. McMaster and Gary Cohn, wrote the following passage in The Wall Street Journal: “The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a cleareyed outlook that the world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage.”

That sentence is the epitome of the Trump project. It asserts that selfishness is the sole driver of human affairs. It grows out of a worldview that life is a competitive struggle for gain. It implies that cooperative communities are hypocritical covers for the selfish jockeying underneath.

The essay explains why the Trump people are suspicious of any cooperative global arrangement, like NATO and the various trade agreements. It helps explain why Trump pulled out of the Paris global-warming accord. This essay explains why Trump gravitates toward leaders like Vladimir Putin, the Saudi princes and various global strongmen: They share his core worldview that life is nakedly a selfish struggle for money and dominance.

It explains why people in the Trump White House are so savage to one another. Far from being a band of brothers, their world is a vicious arena where staffers compete for advantage......In the essay, McMaster and Cohn make explicit the great act of moral decoupling woven through this presidency. In this worldview, morality has nothing to do with anything. Altruism, trust, cooperation and virtue are unaffordable luxuries in the struggle of all against all. Everything is about self-interest. David Brooks contends that this philosophy is based on an error about human beings and it leads to self-destructive behavior in all cases.

The error is that it misunderstands what drives human action. Yes, people are self-interested but they are also wired to cooperate....Good leaders like Lincoln, Churchill, Roosevelt and Reagan understand the selfish elements that drive human behavior, but they have another foot in the realm of the moral motivations. They seek to inspire faithfulness by showing good character. They try to motivate action by pointing toward great ideals.

Realist leaders like Trump, McMaster and Cohn seek to dismiss this whole moral realm. By behaving with naked selfishness toward others, they poison the common realm and they force others to behave with naked selfishness toward them........By treating the world simply as an arena for competitive advantage, Trump, McMaster and Cohn sever relationships, destroy reciprocity, erode trust and eviscerate the sense of sympathy, friendship and loyalty that all nations need when times get tough.....George Marshall was no idealistic patsy. He understood that America extends its power when it offers a cooperative hand and volunteers for common service toward a great ideal. Realists reverse that formula. They assume strife and so arouse a volley of strife against themselves.
op-ed  climate_change  Donald_Trump  Gary_Cohn  decoupling  human_behavior  worldviews  WSJ  H.R._McMaster  selfishness  U.S.foreign_policy  Greek  morals  realism  George_Marshall  Marshall_Plan  self-interest  autocrats  Thucydides  David_Brooks  transactional_relationships  national_interests  institutions  international_system  values 
june 2017 by jerryking
The Biology of Risk - NYTimes.com
By JOHN COATES JUNE 7, 2014

What is it about risk taking that so eludes our understanding, and our control?

Part of the problem is that we tend to view financial risk taking as a purely intellectual activity. But this view is incomplete. Risk is more than an intellectual puzzle — it is a profoundly physical experience, and it involves your body...Risk by its very nature threatens to hurt you, so when confronted by it your body and brain, under the influence of the stress response, unite as a single functioning unit....The state of your body predicts your appetite for financial risk just as it predicts an athlete’s performance.

If we understand how a person’s body influences risk taking, we can learn how to better manage risk takers. We can also recognize that mistakes governments have made have contributed to excessive risk taking.

Consider the most important risk manager of them all — the Federal Reserve. ...Uncertainty over the timing of something unpleasant often causes a greater challenge response than the unpleasant thing itself. Sometimes it is more stressful not knowing when or if you are going to be fired than actually being fired. Why? Because the challenge response, like any good defense mechanism, anticipates; it is a metabolic preparation for the unknown....Most models in economics and finance assume that risk preferences are a stable trait, much like your height. But this assumption, as our studies suggest, is misleading. Humans are designed with shifting risk preferences. They are an integral part of our response to stress, or challenge....One such opportunity is a brief spike in market volatility, for this presents a chance to make money. But if volatility rises for a long period, the prolonged uncertainty leads us to subconsciously conclude that we no longer understand what is happening and then cortisol scales back our risk taking. In this way our risk taking calibrates to the amount of uncertainty and threat in the environment.

Continue reading the main story
Under conditions of extreme volatility, such as a crisis, traders, investors and indeed whole companies can freeze up in risk aversion, and this helps push a bear market into a crash. Unfortunately, this risk aversion occurs at just the wrong time, for these crises are precisely when markets offer the most attractive opportunities, and when the economy most needs people to take risks. The real challenge for Wall Street, I now believe, is not so much fear and greed as it is these silent and large shifts in risk appetite....As uncertainty in fed funds declined, one of the most powerful brakes on excessive risk taking in stocks was released....There are times when the Fed does need to calm the markets. After the credit crisis, it did just that. But when the economy and market are strong, as they were during the dot-com and housing bubbles, what, pray tell, is the point of calming the markets? Of raising rates in a predictable fashion? If you think the markets are complacent, then unnerve them. Over the past 20 years the Fed may have perfected the art of reassuring the markets, but it has lost the power to scare. And that means stock markets more easily overshoot, and then collapse.

CONTINUE READING THE MAIN STORY
120
COMMENTS
The Fed could dampen this cycle. It has, in interest rate policy, not one tool but two: the level of rates and the uncertainty of rates. Given the sensitivity of risk preferences to uncertainty, the Fed could use policy uncertainty and a higher volatility of funds to selectively target risk taking in the financial community....IT may seem counterintuitive to use uncertainty to quell volatility. But a small amount of uncertainty surrounding short-term interest rates may act much like a vaccine immunizing the stock market against bubbles. More generally, if we view humans as embodied brains instead of disembodied minds, we can see that the risk-taking pathologies found in traders also lead chief executives, trial lawyers, oil executives and others to swing from excessive and ill-conceived risks to petrified risk aversion. It will also teach us to manage these risk takers, much as sport physiologists manage athletes, to stabilize their risk taking and to lower stress.
Wall_Street  risks  risk-management  risk-taking  uncertainty  U.S._Federal_Reserve  bubbles  volatility  behavioural_economics  risk-preferences  risk-aversion  biology  psychology  interest_rates  emotions  human_experience  human_behavior  human_frailties  human_psyche  financial_risk  signaling  stress_response  market_crash  immobilize  paralyze  bear_markets  policy_tools  physiological_response  risk-appetite  unpredictability  physical_experiences  calibration 
june 2014 by jerryking
Ronald H. Coase, a Law Professor and Leading Economist, Dies at 102 - NYTimes.com
By PATRICK J. LYONS
Published: September 3, 2013

At the University of London, he was on his way to becoming an industrial lawyer when a seminar with Sir Arnold Plant, a well-known economist of the time, changed his focus again, this time for good. After graduating from the London School of Economics, he taught there and at other British universities, and married Marion Ruth Hartung in 1937. The couple immigrated to the United States in 1951, when he joined the faculty of the State University of New York at Buffalo. He left for the University of Virginia in 1958.

While teaching at Virginia, Professor Coase submitted his essay about the F.C.C. to The Journal of Law and Economics, a new periodical at the University of Chicago. The astonished faculty there wondered, according to one of their number, George J. Stigler, “how so fine an economist could make such an obvious mistake.” They invited Professor Coase to dine at the home of Aaron Director, the founder of the journal, and explain his views to a group that included Milton Friedman and several other Nobel laureates-to-be.

“In the course of two hours of argument, the vote went from 20 against and one for Coase, to 21 for Coase,” Professor Stigler later wrote. “What an exhilarating event! I lamented afterward that we had not had the clairvoyance to tape it.” Professor Coase was asked to expand on the ideas in that essay for the journal. The result was “The Problem of Social Cost.”

Professor Coase was soon invited to become editor of the journal, and to join the Chicago faculty, where he stayed the rest of his life, disdaining the equation-heavy approach of what he called “blackboard economics” in favor of insights grounded in real markets and human behavior.

By identifying transaction costs and explaining their effects, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences wrote in announcing his prize in 1991, “Coase may be said to have identified a new set of ‘elementary particles’ in the economic system.”
obituaries  economists  lawyers  NPSIA  regulation  property_rights  human_behavior  transaction_costs  FCC  broadcasting  Ronald_Coase  Nobel_Prizes  Coase's_Law  behaviours  frictions  social_costs 
september 2013 by jerryking
Imprisoned by Innovation - NYTimes.com
By EVGENY MOROZOV
Published: March 23, 2013

“Imagine a virtual incarceration system,” the report’s authors write, “that uses advanced risk modeling, geospatial analytics, smartphone technology and principles from the study of human behavior to achieve superior outcomes.”

Such gizmos are meant to reduce overcrowding and help manage the spiraling costs of incarceration by allowing offenders to serve their sentences at home. Thanks to the almighty smartphone, offenders can be under the constant gaze of case managers, who will monitor their activities in real time.
incarceration  massive_data_sets  human_behavior  innovation  gamification  disruption  prisons  geospatial 
march 2013 by jerryking
A Brief History Of DECISION MAKING
Based on Leigh Buchanan and Andre O’Connell, in Harvard Business Review,Jan.2006, p.32-41

Sometime around the middle of the past century, telephone executive Chester Barnard imported the term decision making
from public administration into the business world. There it began to replace narrower terms, like “resource allocation” and
“policy making,” shifting the way managers thought about their role from continuous, Hamlet-like deliberation toward a
crisp series of conclusions reached and actions taken.
Yet, decision making is, of course, a broad and ancient human pursuit, flowing back to a time when people sought guidance
from the stars. From those earliest days, we have strived to invent better tools for the purpose, from the Hindu-Arabic systems for numbering and algebra, to Aristotle’s systematic empiricism, to friar Occam’s advances in logic, to Francis Bacon’s inductive reasoning, to Descartes’s application of the
scientific method. A growing sophistication with managing risk, along with a nuanced understanding of human behavior and
advances in technology that support and mimic cognitive processes, has improved decision making in many situations.
Even so, the history of decision-making strategies – captured in this time line and examined in the four accompanying essays
on risk, group dynamics, technology, and instinct – has not marched steadily toward perfect rationalism. Twentieth-century theorists showed that the costs of acquiring information lead executives to make do with only good-enough decisions. Worse,
people decide against their own economic interests even when they know better. And in the absence of emotion, it’s impossible to make any decisions at all. Erroneous
framing, bounded awareness, excessive optimism: The debunking of Descartes’s rational man threatens to swamp our confidence
in our choices. Is it really surprising, then, that even as technology dramatically increases our access to information,
Malcolm Gladwell extols the virtues of gut decisions made, literally, in the blink of an eye?
decision_making  Octothorpe_Software  HBR  history  human_behavior  resource_allocation  Malcolm_Gladwell  Descartes  good_enough  gut_feelings 
october 2011 by jerryking
Unboxed - A Data Explosion Is Remaking Retailing
January 2, 2010 | NYTimes.com | By STEVE LOHR. Retailing is
emerging as a real-world incubator for testing how computer firepower
and smart software can be applied to social science — in this case, how
variables like household economics and human behavior affect shopping.
competingonanalytics  retailers  Steve_Lohr  Wal-Mart  human_behavior  Wet_Seal  user_generated  Web_2.0  data  data_driven  massive_data_sets 
january 2010 by jerryking
Bankers Need More Skin in the Game: Glassman and Nolan Say Private Partnerships Would Increase Risk Aversion Among Executives - WSJ.com
FEBRUARY 25, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | byJAMES K. GLASSMAN
and WILLIAM T. NOLAN. Op-ed piece.

(1) Partnerships may be a more trustworthy business model than
corporations.
(2) Alfred Chandler, the great business historian, said that "strategy
determines structure." Similarly, structure determines behavior.
Wall_Street  financial  crisis  risk-taking  risk-management  partnerships  financial_institutions  strategy  strategic_thinking  organizational_structure  behaviours  trustworthiness  risk-aversion  risk-preferences  skin_in_the_game  risks  Alfred_Chandler  human_behavior 
february 2009 by jerryking

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