Archive | Behavior

You should embrace Hanlon’s Razor

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. This colorful phrase, called Hanlon’s Razor, explains that people aren’t always out to get us; sometimes they just make mistakes. It’s a practical application of Occam’s Razor which states that, everything else being equal, the simplest solution is usually the best one. Hanlon’s…

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Spelling Bee 2017

On Thursday June 1, while many Californians – including me – were watching the Golden State Warriors defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in game one of the NBA Finals, Ananya Vinay, a 12-year old from Fresno California, correctly spelled ‘marocain’ to win the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee. I might have guessed the correct spelling for…

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How to Avoid the Conjunction Fallacy

I’ve been doing some spring cleaning and stumbled upon one of my favorite University textbooks: Tversky and Kahneman’s “Judgement Under Uncertainty”. This book taught me the basics of probability, a ridiculously useful skill which I’ve relied on far more frequently than I ever would have imagined. A better understanding of probability can help us overcome…

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How Much of Leadership Is About Theater?

For reasons not worth getting into, this past week I was reminded of a decade-old HBS discussion entitled “How Much of Leadership Is About Control, Delegation, or Theater?” The original discussion was prompted by a claim from Stanford Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer that leaders only explain 10% of a company’s performance. Instead, a company’s current performance…

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