Yuval Noah Harari

How many young college graduates have taken demanding jobs in high-powered firms, vowing that they will work hard to earn money that will enable them to retire and pursue their real interests when they are thirty-five? But by the time they reach that age, they have large mortgages, children to school, houses in the suburbs that necessitate at least two cars per family, and a … [ Read more ]

Jeffrey Pfeffer

People are often cognitively lazy, not just cognitively biased. Our mental shortcuts and unconscious patterns of thought make everyone susceptible to the tactics of interpersonal influence: tactics that depend on the norm of reciprocity, accepting and obeying authority (or its symbols), the power of liking, the value created by scarcity, and the tendency to escalate levels of commitment, even in the face of negative outcomes. … [ Read more ]

Jeffrey Pfeffer

When executives tell me that flattery doesn’t work and that people can see through strategic efforts to garner their support, I cite extensive evidence showing that we are generally quite poor at discerning deception. When the deception is coming from a master deceiver and consummate politician like [Lyndon] Johnson, the odds of successful resistance are quite low.

Glenn R. Carroll

Why are we drawn to authenticity? Part of it is an attempt to individuate ourselves and find something that’s different and more appealing to us than it is to the masses. We all do that. We find satisfaction and gratification in it. And I think that’s fine. There are theories that it has to do with the loss of identity in mass society — that … [ Read more ]

David Brooks

We don’t decide about life; we’re captured by life. In the major spheres, decision-making, when it happens at all, is downstream from curiosity and engagement. If we really want to understand and shape behavior, maybe we should look less at decision-making and more at curiosity. Why are you interested in the things you are interested in? Why are some people zealously seized, manically attentive and … [ Read more ]

Jonah Berger

It’s hard to find a decision or behavior that isn’t affected by other people. In fact, looking across all domains of our lives, there is only one place we don’t seem to see social influence — ourselves.

Don Faul

… people attach emotion to individuals. They love rooting for people. They love experiencing the world through others’ eyes. The more you can tell stories about actual people that connect to the broader purpose, the more your audience will feel and not simply hear what you are trying to tell them.

Daniel Kahneman

Much of human error is not even attributable to a systematic cause, but to “noise.” When people think about error, we tend to think about biases. […] But in fact, a lot of the errors that people make is simply noise, in the sense that it’s random, unpredictable, it cannot be explained.

Alex Charfen

Robert Kegan

You might think about leadership as having to do with the intersection of psychology and business knowledge. All leaders have both an agenda they’re driving and an agenda that’s driving them. The agenda you’re driving is the business part of it. The agenda that’s driving you is the psychology part.

The agenda that you’re driving seems to me highly mutable because it’s dependent on lots of … [ Read more ]

Erin Meyer

At a deep level, no matter where we come from, we are driven by common physiological and psychological needs and motivations. Yet the culture in which we grow up in has a significant bearing on the ways we see communication patterns as effective or undesirable, to find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, to consider certain ways of making decisions or measuring time “natural” or … [ Read more ]

Marc Beaujean, Jonathan Davidson, Stacey Madge

Mind-sets, as we define them, have three elements that largely govern human behavior: thoughts and feelings, values and beliefs, and personal emotional needs (both met and unmet).

Laura W. Geller, Jessica Kennedy

Jessica Kennedy has researched the origin of unethical behavior, and why it takes hold. She has found that the whole story is more complex. It’s not always about power corrupting. Rather, power causes people to identify so strongly with their group that they lose sight of whether that group’s actions cross an ethical line. This identification can lead them to support misconduct, rather than stopping … [ Read more ]

Eric J. McNulty

Also known as the “outcome effect,” outcome bias is a cognitive process that causes individuals to evaluate a decision based on the final result, whether that outcome was achieved by chance or through a sound process. When a good outcome results, the entire effort is judged positively. Conversely, a sound decision process may be condemned if the end product is negative for reasons unrelated to … [ Read more ]

Alain de Botton

We live in a world partly driven by the ideology of the United States that is very forward-looking, very optimistic, very much placing the emphasis on individual achievement and the possibilities that are open to everyone so long as they work hard, which is a beautiful philosophy of life but also a very punishing one. It places huge responsibility on the individual to perform and … [ Read more ]

Hana Ben-Shabat

Digital technologies have caught fire because they address three core human needs: the need for connection with other humans, the need for self-expression, and the need for exploration. Wrapped up in the seductive ribbon of convenience, there has never been a better formula for consumer engagement. Understanding the human side of the digital revolution will be a key success factor for businesses trying to compete … [ Read more ]

Jeffrey Gandz, Mary Crossan, Gerard Seijts, and Mark Reno

We define character as an amalgam of traits, values and virtues. Traits, such as open-mindedness or extroversion, may be either inherited or acquired; they predispose people to behave in certain ways, if not overridden by other forces such as values, or situational variables such as organizational culture and rewards. Values, such as loyalty and honesty, are deep-seated beliefs that people hold about what is morally … [ Read more ]

Zachary Shore

Reading others requires going deeper than their intentions and capabilities […] We need to get down to the level of drivers and constraints.Intentions are manifestations of a person’s underlying drivers. When you understand why people have certain intentions—what’s driving them—you can better anticipate what their future intentions will be. The same is true of capabilities. We often ask what a leader is able to do. … [ Read more ]

Pete Hamill

Assessments can say a lot more about us than about the thing that we believe we are describing.

Pete Hamill

As human beings we love nothing more than being right, and […] when we are right, we are generally making someone else wrong. True humility is, at least in part, being able to see one’s own assessments as assessments, rather than believing them to be truths.