Essential Reads

7 New Books to Read This Fall

The best new titles on psychology

Will Americans Eat Fewer Subway Sandwiches Because of Jared?

Despite negative publicity, effects on customers are likely to be short-lived.

Do Shoppers Benefit From Buying With Subscriptions?

Subscriptions are very popular but have many downsides for shoppers

What Shoppers Should Know About Charm Prices

Prices that end in “9" are common and influence buying behavior

Recent Posts on Behavioral Economics

How to Stay Calm in a "Crisis" at Work

By Victor Lipman on November 26, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
My premise is that most "crises" at work aren't really crises - they're "situations" that have been blown out of proportion. So what do you do if you're caught in the vortex of a faux crisis? Some suggestions...

3 Ways Companies Can Improve Employee Engagement

By Victor Lipman on November 21, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Employee engagement equals emotional commitment, emotional commitment equals hard work, and hard work equals productivity. It's a logical formula, but research shows just 30% of American workers are fully engaged. Here are 3 ways companies can boost that number.

Consumer Self-report Data: You Can Ask What But Not Why

By Ryan T. Howell Ph.D. on November 17, 2013 in Can't Buy Happiness?
Marketers are always seeking to understand how consumers perceive and connect with their product. In doing this, they are trying to find ways to improve the product, packaging, messaging, and promotion. Improvements in these areas lead to better sales. The question is, what is the best way to get this information?

Why Trust is Foundational to Sound Management

By Victor Lipman on November 01, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Trust is a valuable but fragile commodity in management. Why is trust between employees and managers in chronically short supply?

Should Marketers Trust Consumer Self-Reports?

By Ryan T. Howell Ph.D. on October 23, 2013 in Can't Buy Happiness?
We are constantly finding ways to layer plausible explanations onto decisions we make throughout the course of our everyday lives. While these explanations allow us to weave a coherent story, often times the true reason for why we make a decision is obscured from our conscious awareness.

Does Studying Economics Breed Greed?

By Adam Grant Ph.D. on October 22, 2013 in Give and Take
Do economics classes make people more selfish, or do selfish people choose economics?

Without This Quality, Management Doesn't Work

By Victor Lipman on October 15, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
This often overlooked quality is crucial to sound management. Without it, uncertainty rules.

Most American Workers Are Disengaged. Why?

By Victor Lipman on October 10, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Gallup's comprehensive "State of the American Workplace" survey shows that 70% of workers are "emotionally disconnected" from their jobs. The cost to the U.S.? Over $450 billion a year in lost productivity. One surprising finding? Women are more engaged than men.

Get Your Tickets Here for Blame Fest, 2013

By Neil Farber M.D, Ph.D. on October 04, 2013 in The Blame Game
John F. Kennedy eloquently stated, “Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.“ Alas, I wish it were so. Instead, Washington DC is the host of Blame Fest, 2013. Closed for Business - Open for Blaming!

5 Things the Best Managers Do—and Don't Do

By Victor Lipman on September 30, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Excellent managers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be loud or quiet, extroverted or introverted, Type A or calm. But while personal styles may vary, there are absolutes one can point to about management substance.

Leadership Lessons (Seriously) from the Cowboys Cheerleaders

By Victor Lipman on September 25, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
To help prepare myself for the NFL season, I recently watched an episode of the "The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders." To my surprise, it taught me as much about leadership as any MBA lecture.

Seven Reasons Why We're Irrational Shoppers

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on September 25, 2013 in Consumed
Find out why unnecessary purchases are the result of more than just tastes, money and marketing.

Emotion, Not Rational Logic, Determines the Stock Market

By Ray Williams on September 22, 2013 in Wired for Success
Scientists have shown that emotion, rather than logic, plays a more important role in evaluating risk and making decisions in the stock market.

The Psychology of Money: How Our Emotions Affect What We Buy

By Ryan T. Howell Ph.D. on September 22, 2013 in Can't Buy Happiness?
Advertisements with the intent of eliciting emotional responses from the consumer have become embedded in our culture – from ‘Nothin’ Says Lovin’ Like Somethin’ in the Oven’ (Pillsbury) and ‘There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there’s MasterCard’. But using emotional responses is not as straightforward as just presenting happy and cheery images.

Really? Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way?

The old English proverb asserts itself with complete assurance: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Like many time-worn sayings, this claim that mind always rules over matter rings true only some of the time. Sometimes we don’t have the will; sometimes we lose our way. What should we do then?

Denying Jobs to Smokers is Bad Policy

By Peter A. Ubel on September 16, 2013 in Scientocracy
As much as I like the idea of incentivizing people to kick the habit, denying jobs to qualified people because they smoke is not an appropriate intervention.

Organizational Change is Never Easy - Some Tips to Help

By Victor Lipman on September 13, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
A new study by Towers Watson shows that only 25% of change management initiatives are successful over the long term. Suggestions to help improve those odds.

Getting a Bargain: A Double-Edged Sword for Enjoyment

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on September 13, 2013 in Consumed
Buy now, enjoy later? Not so much when it comes to discounted products.

Why It's Not a Good Idea To Draw a Line in the Sand

By Victor Lipman on September 11, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Make no mistake about it, this "crisis" is now less about Syria and chemical weapons than it is about presidential credibility, reputation and legacy. As a leader, you always want options, you want maneuvering room. When you draw a line in the sand, you immediately reduce maneuvering room.

How Many People Have Money Saved for a Rainy Day?

By Ryan T. Howell Ph.D. on September 07, 2013 in Can't Buy Happiness?
A few years ago I read a story in CNN Money (Most Americans can't afford a $1,000 emergency expense) that reported over 60% of Americans did not have enough money in their savings or checking accounts to pay for a $1,000 emergency. I was shocked. Is it possible that only 36% of US adults have $1,000 in a savings account saved up for a rainy day? Well, maybe not.

The Dying Art of In-Person Communication

By Victor Lipman on September 04, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
How often do you send an email or text to someone to avoid in-person communication? Or call someone after hours so you can leave a message and avoid a conversation? There are clear business benefits to good old-fashioned talking to someone.

Why Do Materialists Worry About Their Finances?

By Ryan T. Howell Ph.D. on September 01, 2013 in Can't Buy Happiness?
A few weeks I wrote about how a lack of money management predicts individuals' compulsive spending, regardless of their personality, gender, age, and income. These results were based on a study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology. In this blog entry I answer a few follow-up questions.

The evolved wisdom behind our seemingly stupid decisions

Amos Tversky, a prominent psychologist and founding father of modern behavioral economics, said: “My colleagues, they study artificial intelligence; me, I study natural stupidity.” But here’s why Tversky and the behavioral economists got it wrong!

6 (Constructive) Things to Say to a Micromanager

By Victor Lipman on August 28, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Ever been frustrated by a micromanager? No need to be at a loss for words. And solid research shows that hands-off management is most effective.

Why Introverts Can Make Excellent Executives

By Victor Lipman on August 22, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Some of the inward-looking qualities that make people introverted also help them make thoughtful and sound decisions - a key element of what being an effective executive is all about. Less tinged with charisma than rationality, their voice was often the most listened to.

What Can Be Done to Help With Compulsive Spending Habits?

We asked about their materialistic values, addictive shopping behavior, and motivations behind their purchases with widely-used questionnaires in order to explore the relationship between these three things. We learned that individuals who value material possessions are more likely to shop compulsively because they don't manage their credit well.

How to Reduce the Maintenance of High-Maintenance Employees

By Victor Lipman on August 16, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
My own managerial variant of the old 80-20 rule ("80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers") is that "80% of your management time is often spent on 20% of your employees." Practical tips to make the challenging high-maintenance population a little less so.

The Billionaire’s Brain: Do You Have One?

I’m convinced that one secret of Warren Buffett’s enduring popularity is his “everyman-ness.” While “The Oracle” is insanely wealthy, he is also grounded and approachable which makes replicating what he has done seem almost doable for regular schlubs like you or I. Buffett famously said of intelligence and investment success, "You don't need to be a rocket scientist."

Unclear Job Objectives Are A Recipe For Confusion

By Victor Lipman on August 14, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
If your employees' job objectives aren't clear, how do they know what to do? The middle of the year is a good time to make sure objectives are still clear and relevant.

As an Antidote to PED Scandals, Words from John Wooden

By Victor Lipman on August 07, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Re-reading John Wooden and his unique brand of leadership ethics seems a refreshing change from the pervasive me-first selfishness of the PED Generation.