The Weekly Upgrade #11

Social Norms, No Sugar, Scale, and Ordered Complexity.

Happy Monday!

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Now let’s get to it.

Something I learned

Social norms are more effective than market norms when motivating people.

Social norms refer to the informal laws that govern behavior in groups. For example -you won’t offer to pay for dinner when someone invites you over.

Market norms are the informal laws that govern transactions. Following the example above, you know that you are expected to pay for dinner when you visit a restaurant.

When trying to motivate people, appealing to social norms such as ‘fighting for a cause’ is more likely to be successful than offering to pay them more.

I learned this in Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational. You can find a summary of the book on my Twitter.

A Weekly Challenge

Avoid sugar for a week.

I don’t mean avoid naturally present sugars - just the sugar that we add to stuff.

Sugar contains about 50 calories per tablespoon. And don’t get me started on the sugar content of your favorite cola. Avoiding sugar will save you hours of running on a treadmill, and will also serve as a trigger for a healthier lifestyle.

So this week - no sugar in your tea or coffee, no chocolates, and no colas. Capiche?

A Book Recommendation

Scale - Geoffrey West

Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the  Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey B.  West

This book will introduce you to complex systems through the lens of the real world.

It’s a book that’s meant to be read slowly and will take a couple of weeks to get through. In the end, it will be worth the investment.

A Thought to Ponder

Ordered complexity is beautiful. What parts of your life are complex, but orderly?


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