Steven E. Landsburg on philosophy, economics and making better decisions

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Making better decisions – in the business world and in life – is one of the main goals of many people. In this episode of In The Arena, Anthony chats with author and professor Steven E. Landsburg, a world expert in economics, philosophy and science who underpins rational decision-making. Steven and Anthony explain why people make bad decisions and rationalize them later, while looking for the answer to the question of why people are irrational in a predictable way. You will hear insider information behind the thought experiments from Steven's latest book, "Can You Outsmart an Economist?". This is an episode not to be missed. Listen now!

Author @StevenLandsburg & @iannarino explain why people make bad decisions and rationalize them later, while seeking the answer to the question of why people are irrationally predictable, all on this issue of #InTheArena. Listen now!Click to tweet

Thinking experiences like this show how people make rational or irrational decisions

Steven's latest book is full of logic puzzles that will entertain and educate. He and Anthony go through one on this episode. Let's say you have 2 urns, each filled with black and white bullets. The first urn contains 70% white marbles and 30% black marbles. The second is filled with 30% white and 70% black bullets. You choose one of the random urns, you come out 12, of which 4 are white and 8 black. Which urn did you choose?

Most people decide that they are 40% likely to shoot from the predominantly white urn and 60% likely to shoot from the predominantly black urn. However, the most rational conclusion is that you had a 98% chance of shooting from the predominantly black urn. Why? Make sure you listen to this episode for a full explanation.

The key to making better decisions lies in understanding our own biases and disadvantages

In the course of decades of research, Steven has learned that most people are irrational, but that they are predictable. People have the habit of simply "doing with their gut" and not evaluating any options. Steven encourages people to think smarter about their decisions and, starting with this question, you can become a more rational thinker. Ask yourself, "Do I have a reason to trust my own opinion rather than that of anyone else who has thought about this problem as hard as me?" This question can shed valuable light on questions you ask about real problems. real estate, finance, sales, marketing, etc. If you still think that people think differently when it comes to making big decisions, you can be better prepared to take into account the views you would otherwise have left out.

People have the habit of simply "doing with their instincts" when they make decisions and not evaluate all the options. Learn how to combat this trend with this episode of #InTheArena featuring the author and economist @StevenLandsburg, presented by @iannarino. Check it out!Click to tweet

The obvious answer to a problem is not always the best answer

So many people come back to the most obvious answer to a statement. They fall into the trap of the first explanation that comes to mind, but Steven and Anthony counter this trend during this episode. Steven presents an example of a systems-based scenario that allows students to evaluate their teachers on their ability to teach well. Studies have shown that fine teachers almost always have better results than average teachers. Many people would conclude that this is because the students are simply superficial and they only notice the looks.

However, Steven suggests that handsome people who choose to be teachers are inherently better at teaching than their midsize counterparts. This could be due to the multitude of additional career opportunities offered to attractive individuals (actor's game, dummy, etc.). Thus, people who look handsome and who choose to teach can be exceptionally interested in the teaching profession and thus do it exceptionally well. This method of deductive reasoning may not be common, but you'll find out more about this episode of In The Arena.

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The writer and famous economist @StevenLandsburg talks with @iannarino about philosophy, economics and better decision-making regarding this episode of #InTheArena – make sure to give all your attention to this one!Click to tweet

Sketch of this great episode

  • Are people rational and making rational decisions?
  • This thought experiment can show how people make rational or irrational decisions
  • Making rational decisions is not as easy as it seems
  • This thought experiment explains why some groups have more political influence than others
  • The obvious answer to a problem is not always the best answer
  • Steven's final reflections on students, teaching and admissions to the university

Resources and links mentioned in this episode

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This method for making better decisions may not be common, but you'll find out more about this episode of #InTheArena presented by @iannarino and featuring @StevenLandsburg. Listen now!Click to tweet
The obvious answer to a problem is not always the best solution. Learn how to make better decisions with the renowned writer and economist @StevenLandsburg, as part of this episode of #InTheArena presented by @iannarino. Listen now!Click to tweet

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