Daily Archives: September 30, 2013

*** Scarcity by by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir

In Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, the authors highlight how human beings, when they feel something is scarce, adopt a  special mindset that both boosts their productivity for the issue at hand while limiting their thinking outside of it. For instance, if someone is short on time, productivity soars: no more dawdling or checking email or Facebook:  it’s pedal to the metal. But at the same time long-term concerns evaporate (the authors call it “tunneling”), so we may forget that important deadlines are coming up — and in an effort to be more efficient we multitask too much, leading to errors (“juggling”). The scarcity mindset applies to time but also to money , loneliness, or any other concerns that we may have, and the authors give many practical applications, the most interesting of which, for me, was the simple idea of building some slack into our lives (times, budget, etc.)  Well worth reading, and applying to our most frazzled moments.

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