119: Thinking, Fast and Slow


00:00:00   Don't be alarmed, Myke.

00:00:01   Oh, that's a terrible way to start.

00:00:03   I don't like this.

00:00:04   I am recording this podcast on the beta, on the Mac beta.

00:00:09   Why?

00:00:11   Now, just to be clear, not because I want to,

00:00:15   but because I have to.

00:00:16   You don't have to.

00:00:17   No, I do have to.

00:00:18   Why?

00:00:19   All right, so.

00:00:19   Why do you cause me so much stress?

00:00:21   I'm not causing, I'm letting you know

00:00:23   that you don't have to be stressed

00:00:25   because I have the backup recording going,

00:00:27   which is physically separate from everything else

00:00:31   and will be perfectly fine as long as the batteries don't run down

00:00:34   but I'd freshly changed them just before this episode so

00:00:37   the chance of that happening is low

00:00:41   assuming I picked the right batteries and didn't pick dead batteries

00:00:44   - Just keep your eye on the recorder would be my request

00:00:46   I'm sure it gives you some kind of indication when the battery's low and going low

00:00:49   - Yeah it turns off

00:00:50   so I've got it right in front of me so I can see if that happens

00:00:53   but no I'm not doing this on purpose

00:00:56   This isn't fun levels levels shenanigans.

00:00:59   What happened is my writing computer has become...

00:01:06   I guess the way to describe it is it has a like a synchronization corruption in Dropbox

00:01:15   that is causing me problems.

00:01:17   And so I have had to quarantine my writing computer from any kind of network access

00:01:24   so that all of the work that I do doesn't get messed up.

00:01:29   The only other computers that I have are the laptops where I'm running the betas.

00:01:33   And so that's why I'm talking to you from the beta right now.

00:01:37   [Ding!]

00:01:39   I'll allow it.

00:01:40   [Laughs]

00:01:40   Okay, you'll allow it?

00:01:42   I'll allow it.

00:01:42   Thank you.

00:01:43   I mean, I know you're having this problem because sometimes,

00:01:46   like after our last episode, I had to text you and be like, "Where's the file?"

00:01:50   So was it happening from then?

00:01:52   Yes, so our last episode was the thing that finally clued me into,

00:01:58   "Hey buddy, you've got some problem in your system."

00:02:01   Right.

00:02:01   And you kept texting me like, "Where's the file?"

00:02:04   And I kept checking on my writing computer, which is also the podcasting computer,

00:02:08   and seeing files there.

00:02:10   It says uploading.

00:02:11   It should be with you any moment, Myke.

00:02:13   But as your increasingly frequent messages conveyed to me, the file was not showing up.

00:02:19   This always happens when I need the file quickly.

00:02:22   And I did need the file quickly after our last episode

00:02:25   'cause we're under a bit of a time crunch.

00:02:27   'Cause I wanted to start editing straight away,

00:02:29   which is one of the worst things you can do.

00:02:31   Like with the way that I edit this show,

00:02:33   that we just had the conversation,

00:02:34   now I'm literally going to listen back

00:02:36   to all of it immediately, which is like--

00:02:38   - Oh, that's the worst. - That sucks.

00:02:41   It's nice to have a couple of days at least.

00:02:43   Which I also, I will say, I feel like it fits better.

00:02:46   After a couple of days when I come back to that episode,

00:02:48   not only is some of it kind of refreshing,

00:02:51   I've also like my brain has been working on it

00:02:53   a little bit more and I find that I'm able

00:02:56   to immediately notice the parts that I know didn't work

00:02:59   in a way that I don't get that after for some reason,

00:03:02   like if I go straight into the episode,

00:03:03   like there's this weird thing where I feel like my brain

00:03:06   is kind of just like chewing on the conversation a bit,

00:03:09   which is interesting.

00:03:10   But yeah, so I always, this always happens

00:03:13   and this might be like a selection effect kind of thing,

00:03:16   like maybe there's always problems,

00:03:17   but I don't usually notice them

00:03:19   because they resolve themselves after a day or two.

00:03:21   - Usually my fault is just simply not turning back

00:03:24   on Dropbox after the conversation is over.

00:03:26   That's the fault most of the times, but this time, okay.

00:03:30   So what is happening, I don't think it's Dropbox's fault.

00:03:34   I do think it's ultimately my fault,

00:03:37   but what is the chain of events

00:03:40   as far as I was able to reconstruct this incident

00:03:43   is that I keep a local copy of all of my Dropbox files

00:03:48   on one of these giant Pegasus drive things

00:03:53   that's under my desk,

00:03:54   in one of these like,

00:03:55   we can hold 50 terabytes of data kind of drives.

00:03:57   - They spin in hard drives or use SSDs in them?

00:03:59   - I don't know, they're those funny shaped other drives

00:04:02   that I only see in server stuff.

00:04:04   I don't actually know if they're spinning drives

00:04:05   on the inside or if they're SSDs on the inside.

00:04:07   - Does your Pegasus thing make any noise?

00:04:10   - It does, but it doesn't make

00:04:11   spinny hard drive kinds of noises.

00:04:13   makes electrical kind of noises. So I'm going to guess they're solid state but I don't know for sure.

00:04:17   But so precisely you've now identified where does the problem begin because it does make noise.

00:04:22   I've wanted to have it outside the acoustically separated writing computer which means that I need

00:04:28   to run a wire from the Pegasus to the computer but of course I also have a standing desk.

00:04:36   And so I set up the situation so that the wire could just reach when the standing desk was at the highest level.

00:04:45   Great. Really good. Really good stuff.

00:04:50   And this way, the Pegasus drive could be outside the little recording booth that I've made.

00:04:54   And also, I could raise and lower the standing desk as long as I was using the preset memory heights for the standing desk.

00:05:04   And hey, what's the issue with having your massive storage solution, the cable for it,

00:05:09   just under slight tension constantly? What's the issue with that? No problem.

00:05:12   That wouldn't cause any issues.

00:05:14   Well, and it hasn't caused any issues for my entire quarantine year.

00:05:18   Yeah.

00:05:19   But!

00:05:19   But!

00:05:20   Just before our last recording, I was attempting to redo some of the wires behind my desk,

00:05:29   and while I was doing that, I thought, "Oh, I need a little bit more space

00:05:33   under the standing desk while I'm working here, and so I press the up button and

00:05:38   right out popped the cable. Now Dropbox was running at the time, and just to give people

00:05:45   a sense of the scale of the thing, I checked this morning and I have 20 terabytes of data

00:05:52   in about a million files in my Dropbox system. That's a lot of terabytes. It's a lot of terabytes.

00:05:58   it's a lot of files. Obviously that's partly because I'm sharing documents with a bunch of

00:06:03   people and like people that I work with and so there's like there's just a ton of stuff in there.

00:06:07   But what happened is after the cable got pulled out, well, I plugged it back in and I thought

00:06:15   hopefully nothing bad happened. But obviously something bad did happen because Dropbox started

00:06:23   to re-index the entirety of those 20 terabytes and million files.

00:06:28   Wait, so do you have, I just want to make sure I've got this right, so you have all

00:06:32   this stuff on the Pegasus drive.

00:06:34   Yeah.

00:06:35   And that's going up to Dropbox as well?

00:06:37   No, it's all in Dropbox.

00:06:38   What's on the Pegasus drive?

00:06:40   The Pegasus drive is where I have my Dropbox folder.

00:06:43   Ooh.

00:06:44   And I've told that Dropbox folder, "Keep everything saved locally."

00:06:48   Right, okay.

00:06:49   And then on your other machines you're doing that like, download it when you need it.

00:06:52   doing the selective syncing thing.

00:06:54   - Do you use selective sync

00:06:55   or do you use the smart sync thing?

00:06:58   - So I've, well, I'm slightly changing the way I work now

00:07:01   because of this very problem.

00:07:03   But previously I was using selective sync

00:07:06   where you can tell it,

00:07:07   just pretend like these folders don't exist.

00:07:09   And part of the reason I was doing that

00:07:11   is because every time I would install Dropbox

00:07:12   on a new computer,

00:07:14   it would give me this message that said,

00:07:15   hey buddy, you have more than 500,000 files in your system.

00:07:19   We strongly recommend

00:07:20   don't try to synchronize all of this, like just use selective sync for what you need.

00:07:25   And since the laptops only have a terabyte of data or whatever, I would have to do that.

00:07:29   And also the old way they used to work about selecting files to be local or not local but

00:07:35   still visible used to not work with Time Machine, but they seem to have fixed that. It does

00:07:39   seem to work with Time Machine now.

00:07:41   I think I'm having an issue with Dropbox and Time Machine.

00:07:43   Okay, yeah. What do you mean?

00:07:45   My Time Machine backup keeps failing, and it's telling me it needs to back up four terabytes

00:07:50   of stuff. My iMac has a 1TB SSD in it, so I don't know where it's drawing 4TB of stuff

00:07:56   from.

00:07:57   Yeah, this is the kind of thing that you can run into.

00:07:59   My time machine isn't working, and I think it's related to my Dropbox, because I have

00:08:04   like 3TB of stuff in Dropbox.

00:08:06   Yeah, I'd easily bet that that's what this is. Ideally, the Dropbox should register all

00:08:12   of the files that aren't there locally as 0 bytes in size, but there are funny things

00:08:18   that can happen when you have files that reference other files and like all sorts of complications

00:08:22   there.

00:08:23   I think maybe Time Machine is actually not a thing I can do anymore.

00:08:26   So that's that's the situation.

00:08:28   Everything was local on the Pegasus and then it got disconnected while Dropbox was running

00:08:33   and then Dropbox attempted to re-index things.

00:08:37   It seemed to be going fine until Dropbox, so the number is dropping like indexing a

00:08:44   million files, indexing 900,000 files.

00:08:47   And I was like, "Okay, well, this will just take a while."

00:08:49   But it got down to about 400,000 files and then just stopped.

00:08:55   And so Dropbox kept saying, "Indexing 400,000 files."

00:09:00   And also had this hilarious, like, uploading 200,000 files.

00:09:05   But I could check the network access and see, "You're not doing anything, Dropbox.

00:09:09   There's no data coming out of this computer.

00:09:11   You're stuck. You're just stuck in this current position."

00:09:16   So I thought, well, these are a lot of files.

00:09:18   It's a lot of data.

00:09:19   I'm sure I can just wait long enough and this problem will sort itself out.

00:09:23   Uh, no, it didn't.

00:09:26   I've been waiting five, six weeks now and it just didn't move at all.

00:09:31   But what was happening is that my writing computer was downloading

00:09:36   new stuff from my other computers that I was working on.

00:09:40   And so I thought, oh, okay, I guess everything is staying in sync.

00:09:46   But I've only just noticed in the past couple of days that it isn't.

00:09:52   That the newer computers keep trying to revert to the way Dropbox was like a month ago before

00:09:58   this happened and disappearing stuff that I've worked on.

00:10:02   So I was like...

00:10:03   So I realized, "Oh no indeed" is what I realized.

00:10:11   So I thought, okay, write a computer, shut down immediately.

00:10:15   Goodbye, like you are not getting network access ever again

00:10:20   until I can create some kind of Faraday cage around it

00:10:24   to boot it up and probably just like wipe the whole machine

00:10:27   and start over if I'm gonna use it for something else.

00:10:28   - I think that this situation compounded

00:10:32   with other problems you have had with Dropbox in the past,

00:10:35   I think is suggesting that you need

00:10:36   a slightly different system than the one that you're using.

00:10:40   I feel like there needs to be a cold storage which isn't connected to Dropbox anymore.

00:10:46   I think 20 terabytes is too much to put in Dropbox.

00:10:51   I think you're always going to have these problems.

00:10:53   I mean maybe.

00:10:54   I would be curious to know among Dropbox's enterprise users where do I rank percentage-wise

00:10:58   in terms of amount of data that is being used.

00:11:01   I feel like there have to be organizations that are using 100 times more than I'm using

00:11:04   for Dropbox.

00:11:05   Yeah, but it's probably all not for one person.

00:11:08   Right, but this is where it's coming from.

00:11:09   team stuff as well or working with other people like even between the two of us, right?

00:11:13   Like we both have access to a copy of all of the Cortex files.

00:11:17   Yeah, but I don't think that people even in like large organizations are sharing that volume of data between them, right?

00:11:24   Like maybe an organization has 20 terabytes, but each individual only has a small percentage of that overall thing.

00:11:30   Right, that they have - I see what you're saying that they have access to, that there's not any individual

00:11:35   who's trying to keep on top of 20 terabytes worth of stuff.

00:11:39   Okay, I see what you're saying.

00:11:40   - I think particularly the way that you're doing it

00:11:42   of like 20 terabytes of external storage,

00:11:46   I think that that's like compounding the potential risk.

00:11:49   - Hmm, what could go wrong?

00:11:52   - All of the data being stored in that one place

00:11:54   is probably a bad, bad idea.

00:11:56   - Right, well I mean, part of the reason why

00:11:58   I wanted a local copy of all of it

00:12:00   is so that I can make my own backups

00:12:02   and not just trust Dropbox to have all of the files

00:12:05   all of the time. - Yeah.

00:12:05   - Like that's what I'm just trying to do there, but.

00:12:07   - No, I completely understand why you would do that.

00:12:10   If I was, okay, this isn't necessarily helpful as such

00:12:14   because it's so hard to get to this,

00:12:16   but if I was gonna re-architect what you're doing,

00:12:19   I think you need to have,

00:12:21   there's the Dropbox active storage,

00:12:23   and then there isn't an away from Dropbox storage,

00:12:27   which is physically on a thing that you have in your home,

00:12:32   but then that is also backed up to another service

00:12:36   like Backblaze or something.

00:12:38   So you have an online backup for it,

00:12:40   and it's accessible to you,

00:12:42   but not constantly like Dropbox is.

00:12:44   I don't think you need that, I would expect.

00:12:47   Like at your fingertips on every single computer

00:12:49   that you have at any moment.

00:12:51   Like really easy. - Yeah.

00:12:52   - 'Cause like even with Backblaze,

00:12:54   if you had it all there,

00:12:56   you could log into Backblaze

00:12:57   and download that data on any machine,

00:13:00   but it's not like in a folder structure in Finder.

00:13:05   I think you're putting too much stuff through that system.

00:13:09   - Yes, I mean, possibly precisely because of the moment

00:13:12   that we're in right now.

00:13:14   - I think you've proven it because I think millions

00:13:17   of files up and down, it's just, it's gonna get,

00:13:20   like you only need one out of a million

00:13:25   to have some kind of weirdness to it.

00:13:27   - Yes.

00:13:28   - And then you're in this situation

00:13:29   and I don't know how you wouldn't just continue

00:13:32   to get in these situations forever

00:13:34   unless you change something about the way you store files.

00:13:36   - Yeah, I mean, that is my suspicion,

00:13:37   is that some file has become corrupted in an odd way

00:13:42   that doesn't allow Dropbox to continue to index it,

00:13:45   and that's where the system is just getting stuck.

00:13:47   And that it's trying to keep track of new things,

00:13:50   but also the synchronization status keeps seeming like,

00:13:54   oh no, these new files don't exist

00:13:55   because I'm currently running on this machine

00:13:57   where they don't, and this machine is up to date

00:13:59   because I haven't finished the indexing.

00:14:02   I noticed it because I was working on a, like a,

00:14:04   just a really dumb little vlog.

00:14:06   And then I went on my laptop to go edit it.

00:14:08   And it's like, this file doesn't exist.

00:14:11   This entire Final Cut project that's gigabytes in size,

00:14:15   never heard of it.

00:14:15   And I was like, oh God.

00:14:18   - This is kind of funny to me,

00:14:19   'cause like on Twitter a couple of days ago,

00:14:21   I saw a conversation between Hank Green and MKBHD,

00:14:25   where they were talking about the fact

00:14:26   that once they upload videos, they delete everything.

00:14:29   The only thing that exists is what's uploaded to YouTube.

00:14:32   They don't keep anything.

00:14:33   - Yeah, I mean, I'm just gonna say though,

00:14:35   I think that does make more sense for both of them.

00:14:38   Like I think that's quite a reasonable workflow.

00:14:40   I think there's a little bit of a difference

00:14:42   in the content there of I do want to keep

00:14:44   the originals of everything.

00:14:45   - What surprised me about MKBHD was that surely

00:14:48   he needs B-roll footage sometimes.

00:14:51   So maybe he saves a little bit of that, I don't know.

00:14:53   But that was a surprise to me.

00:14:55   But you know, like as I've said many times,

00:14:57   the only shows that I keep the project files for

00:15:00   is this one.

00:15:01   I don't keep anything more than like a month or two.

00:15:05   After a month or two, I delete all the project files

00:15:07   and then just carry on with all my other shows.

00:15:09   Except for Cortex, I have every Logic project of Cortex.

00:15:12   I never thought it was gonna be useful until Moretex.

00:15:16   It was so useful.

00:15:17   - Right until you needed to remaster everything from Cortex.

00:15:19   - Yeah, remove all of the ads from the entire back catalog,

00:15:21   which is a feature of Moretex, by the way.

00:15:23   If you go to getmoretex.com,

00:15:25   not only do you get additional content for every episode

00:15:27   and no ads, you get an entirely ad-free

00:15:30   remastered back catalog.

00:15:31   It's just higher audio quality.

00:15:33   - Yeah, and it's for that same reason

00:15:35   that I do wanna keep all of the video projects.

00:15:37   - I do understand it.

00:15:38   Like I'm not saying that you're wrong for doing it.

00:15:40   It was just interesting to me,

00:15:42   but I think Dropbox is not the place for that.

00:15:45   - Yeah, I mean, maybe I need to figure out something else,

00:15:47   but the problem of different people's versions,

00:15:51   even for the old stuff, getting out of sync

00:15:54   is a non-trivial issue for if you ever do need

00:15:58   to reconstruct what is the current state of this thing.

00:16:01   I'll have to think about it, but all of that is just to tell you why and how I'm recording to you from the beta currently

00:16:09   and is also another continuing step of the saga of my writing computer, which I think maybe the lesson learned is that the writing computer should not also be the server for every file you have

00:16:25   And also a standing desk computer.

00:16:28   What an interesting idea.

00:16:29   It's almost as if you were going to try and sequester a machine to do one thing, you

00:16:34   don't make it do everything.

00:16:36   It's funny that, really.

00:16:37   Yeah, I think that's the lesson we've all learned today.

00:16:41   This episode of Cortex is brought to you by Muse.

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00:18:20   Hello taxons, we are once again, as we have for the last two years taken this time to

00:18:25   raise money for St Jude's Children's Research Hospital from now throughout September which

00:18:30   is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

00:18:32   I want to tell you a little bit about St Jude and why it's a special place and why we

00:18:36   think it's deserving of your donations.

00:18:38   So this is our third consecutive year of supporting the life saving missions of St Jude's Children's

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00:18:44   It's quite simple, they find cures, they save children.

00:18:48   St. Jude is leading the way that the world understands, treats and defeats childhood

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00:19:02   travel or food because all a family should have to worry about in these situations is

00:19:07   just helping their child live.

00:19:09   For context, the average cost to treat just one child of acute lymphoblastic leukemia,

00:19:14   the most common form of childhood cancer is $203,074.

00:19:19   To make this possible, it's a lot of money,

00:19:22   it's so much money.

00:19:23   - That is a breathtaking amount of money.

00:19:25   - It's so much money.

00:19:27   And to make this possible,

00:19:29   about 80% of the funds necessary to sustain

00:19:31   and grow St. Jude must be raised each year from donors,

00:19:35   'cause this is an incredibly expensive thing.

00:19:39   And the great thing about St. Jude really is not only

00:19:41   do they treat the children,

00:19:43   They're also a research hospital.

00:19:44   So the things that they learn can be used

00:19:47   for future cancer patients.

00:19:49   And one of my favorite things about St. Jude

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00:19:55   the entire science community

00:19:56   they will share this knowledge with.

00:19:58   And that's what I love about them.

00:19:59   Like it is one place, it is in Memphis, Tennessee,

00:20:02   which is where my co-founder Steven Hackett lives

00:20:05   and we are particularly tied to St. Jude like emotionally

00:20:09   because one of his children had treatment at St. Jude

00:20:12   and saved his life.

00:20:14   And through our first two fundraising campaigns,

00:20:17   the Relay FM community has raised over $800,000

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00:20:40   Million dollars this year, I wanna do it.

00:20:43   We've set our goal at $333,333.33,

00:20:47   'cause it's the third one.

00:20:50   But when we hit $196,000 raised,

00:20:54   we've done a million over three years.

00:20:57   And when you think about it,

00:20:58   it's an incredible amount of money.

00:21:00   - It's breathtaking.

00:21:00   - It's a drop in the ocean, really.

00:21:03   But looking at that, that's like five children

00:21:05   whose life could be saved from that money.

00:21:08   And that's kind of an incredible thing.

00:21:10   - I also think the thing that you mentioned

00:21:12   about the research being shared

00:21:13   is just much less common in science

00:21:17   than people think it is. - It really is.

00:21:19   It really is so uncommon. - It's shockingly rare.

00:21:22   - The reason we talk about it

00:21:23   is because they are abnormal in what they do here, right?

00:21:26   Like they share their science.

00:21:28   They don't keep it to themselves

00:21:31   and try and make money from it.

00:21:32   They share it.

00:21:34   - But you attempting to do a calculation there

00:21:36   of like children per hundred thousand dollars.

00:21:39   I think that argument doesn't apply very well to St. Jude

00:21:42   precisely because of this fact that they share the knowledge

00:21:46   that they're able to get,

00:21:47   which has a big multiplying effect for dollars donated.

00:21:52   And I cannot believe that Relay is approaching

00:21:55   a million dollars for St. Jude.

00:21:57   Like it's an unbelievable number.

00:21:59   And I think it's great.

00:22:01   Like I really hope that we get there this year

00:22:05   that fundraiser. It's just, it's a lot of money and it really shows the generosity of

00:22:12   all of the Relay listeners.

00:22:13   Yeah, and it really is. And we have continued to be blown away by it every year, and I hope

00:22:18   that people will continue to donate. It's at stju.org/relay where you can donate today.

00:22:24   And of course, we're continuing the tradition as part of this campaign through September.

00:22:29   we're going to be holding Podcastathon 3.

00:22:33   It is happening on September 17th,

00:22:35   from 12 to 8 p.m. Eastern time.

00:22:38   We're doing two hours more this year.

00:22:40   It's an eight hour Podcastathon.

00:22:42   - Oh my God.

00:22:44   - We've done six years the first year,

00:22:46   we were supposed to do six years the second year last year,

00:22:48   but we did seven.

00:22:49   - I presume you mean six hours.

00:22:51   You said we did six years the first year.

00:22:54   (laughing)

00:22:56   - Wait a second.

00:22:56   - It just feels like six years when you're live.

00:22:58   Six hours the first year, seven hours the second year,

00:23:02   'cause we were close to meeting our goals,

00:23:04   so we just kept going until we did it.

00:23:06   - Oh, that's right, yes, that's right, I remember.

00:23:08   - We're doing eight hours this year.

00:23:10   We have so many things planned.

00:23:12   We have multiple sets of plans.

00:23:15   Maybe we're remote, maybe we're in person.

00:23:17   We actually don't know at this point,

00:23:19   but I've got the balloon room standing by

00:23:23   in case I'm gonna be here in Mega Studio again.

00:23:25   I'm super excited.

00:23:26   We're gonna have tons of guests,

00:23:27   loads of great stuff planned. So it's going to be on September 17th from 12 to 8pm US

00:23:33   Eastern Time at twitch.tv/relayfm. If you go to twitch.tv/relayfm now and click the

00:23:39   follow button you'll be alerted when things go live. So I'm super excited about the podcast

00:23:44   athon and to be once again raising money for such an incredible cause. Please donate

00:23:48   at stjoe.org/relay.

00:23:50   So we have mentioned Cortex Animated a bunch of times in the past. These are wonderful

00:23:54   videos created by H.M. Bhutte that we put on our YouTube channel, the Cortex YouTube

00:23:59   channel. And every month they send us a video and we take a look and then we approve it

00:24:05   and we upload it.

00:24:06   Yeah, they're delightful. It's delightful every time.

00:24:08   They're fantastic. They're all just incredible and I'm so pleased that we're able to make

00:24:11   these happen with them. They do just a superb job. This time they were like, "This one's

00:24:16   going to take me a little bit longer." We're like, "All right." And so they posted the

00:24:20   video with some flashbacks in it. I don't want to spoil it all, but it's worth watching.

00:24:25   Basically because if you remember on our previous episode, me and Grey were like dumbfounded

00:24:30   with discovering the effective executive because we could not remember this book at all. And

00:24:35   I still don't remember it.

00:24:36   It was on your Kindle, yeah. We're like, "What is this?"

00:24:39   In the episode for the effective executive, at the end of it, you say,

00:24:44   "Don't let it tap to blue mana and cast 'forget on me' again. If I suggest it again, you have

00:24:49   to remember, Myke, that we've already read it.

00:24:51   And then I say, "Well, I will remember because there was something quite unique about this

00:24:56   book."

00:24:57   So I don't know exactly what has happened here, why we were convinced we needed to remember

00:25:03   this book and then didn't.

00:25:05   But that's... also, is that a magic joke?

00:25:08   I was about to say, that is a magic reference.

00:25:11   I enjoy this on several levels because this is clearly the thing that I would do every

00:25:17   couple of years, which is just, "Oh, I can't, I can't get back into magic, but let me just,

00:25:22   let me just read up a little bit on what's going on in the magic world."

00:25:25   Let me just think about it a little.

00:25:26   "Let me just think about it a bit."

00:25:28   That's the same.

00:25:29   "I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna push this button, but I'm gonna put my finger on it and see

00:25:33   if it has a little give before it clicks, you know, like that kind of, that kind of thing."

00:25:38   And so I enjoy this because the very fact that I would say that sentence indicates to

00:25:41   me that I was at one of the heights of perhaps trying to get sucked back in, but then backing

00:25:46   away, but so yes, I like it because I made a magic reference about neither of us should

00:25:52   let a spell be cast upon us so that we do not remember this book. You are then confident

00:25:57   that you will remember at the very least and then flash forward whatever it is, a couple

00:26:02   years, neither of us had any memory of any part of this.

00:26:06   I still don't remember it. I have no memory of this book.

00:26:10   No, I don't, I don't remember a thing about this book.

00:26:13   I have a, I have a guess.

00:26:14   My, my, my best guess is that it was one of those books where we said something

00:26:22   like, oh, it must've been really influential at the time because we've

00:26:27   heard all of the ideas in other places.

00:26:29   And so it makes the original seem really boring and unnoteworthy, even

00:26:35   though maybe it was the thing that set the trend at the time.

00:26:37   That's my best guess.

00:26:39   Is this a foreshadowing of today's episode, Greg?

00:26:42   Is this a foreshadowing?

00:26:43   - I don't know what you could possibly mean.

00:26:47   That's my best guess about,

00:26:49   because here's the thing,

00:26:51   you think about any kind of media,

00:26:53   the best things are the best things.

00:26:56   The worst things are also kind of the best in their own way

00:27:00   because at least you can remember them.

00:27:02   And the worst things are the ones

00:27:04   that are actually dead in the middle and just boring.

00:27:06   - The true worst things.

00:27:07   - Yeah, the true worst things are the things

00:27:10   that score five out of 10, rather than one or 10 out of 10.

00:27:15   Five is the worst, 10 is the best, one is the next best,

00:27:19   as far as the order of things.

00:27:21   So that's my guess about the effective executive,

00:27:24   what could make it so completely forgettable,

00:27:27   but I don't know, I have no idea.

00:27:30   - This episode of Cortex is brought to you

00:27:34   by our good friends at Membr4.

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00:28:53   That's membeful.com, M E M B E R F U L dot com slash cortex, go there right now and check

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00:29:05   [BEEP]

00:29:06   Alright, Cortex Book Club time.

00:29:08   - Cortex Book Club time.

00:29:09   - "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman.

00:29:13   I don't know if you knew, but he was a Nobel Prize winner grade, did you know that?

00:29:15   - I thought this book won the Nobel Prize, isn't that what this is?

00:29:18   - That's what the cover leads me to believe.

00:29:20   [laughter]

00:29:22   [deep inhale]

00:29:25   We have a bit of a problem with this book.

00:29:26   - Oh, you-- Myke, you don't know what I think about this book.

00:29:30   You don't have any idea.

00:29:31   No, I never said that. I said there is a problem with this book.

00:29:34   There is a problem with this book.

00:29:35   The problem with this book, for me,

00:29:39   happened on the Reddit thread of our last episode.

00:29:44   Because we had a bunch of cortexes say,

00:29:47   "Oh boy, that's a dense book."

00:29:50   And my brain said, "I don't want to read this anymore."

00:29:56   So I really, really struggled to get started with this one.

00:30:01   So what you're saying is when I requested that we pushed back the recording date of

00:30:05   this episode by a week, you had no complaints about that because you probably hadn't even

00:30:11   started the book.

00:30:12   It helped me massively.

00:30:13   I'd started it but I'd not gotten very far at all.

00:30:17   And then there was like a whole week where I couldn't listen because we were traveling

00:30:20   a little bit and I just, it was, I was so happy because otherwise I didn't know what

00:30:26   I was gonna do.

00:30:30   Let's just say it's not a book where you want to listen to all 20 hours in one day, for

00:30:34   sure.

00:30:35   That would not be a pleasant experience.

00:30:36   Did you try and do that?

00:30:38   No, no, no.

00:30:39   Oh god no.

00:30:40   No, I didn't do that.

00:30:41   But I partly needed to push back the date for similar reasons where I was looking at

00:30:46   the number of things I needed to do between then and the recording date and the number

00:30:50   of hours I had left in the book, which was something like 17 at that point, and I thought

00:30:56   - I think we were at a very similar place at that point,

00:30:59   to be honest.

00:31:00   (laughing)

00:31:02   - Thought I'm gonna have a real problem.

00:31:05   - The cortex was not wrong.

00:31:07   This is an incredibly dense book.

00:31:09   And it left me with a feeling,

00:31:12   which I cannot believe I felt,

00:31:14   where I missed the bat (beep) bananas stories

00:31:19   from the other books.

00:31:21   The things that would make me the most angry

00:31:25   when we come to the show,

00:31:26   like this is so annoying, why are you wasting my time

00:31:28   with these stupid examples?

00:31:30   They were the things I ended up missing.

00:31:33   'Cause the problem with this book is, for most of it,

00:31:36   I cannot attach to it because it's so dry.

00:31:40   It is so dry and dense and there's just so much stuff.

00:31:45   It is not a book to try and read quickly

00:31:50   and I actually think this is really not a book for audio.

00:31:54   Yeah, so what you're saying is you missed the the E-Myth revisited style stories of

00:32:02   "Oh, I went to a magic hotel!"

00:32:03   I think I kind of did, which is so weird, but what I've realized is like, what I want

00:32:09   from these books is good information and things that like, give some kind of emotional response

00:32:16   to me.

00:32:17   Right, like riding on a motorcycle with your 17 children in Hawaii.

00:32:20   All on the back.

00:32:21   Right, all on the back and you go "Wait, how does that work?

00:32:23   I don't understand.

00:32:24   - But at least it gives me,

00:32:27   I can imagine things or whatever.

00:32:29   Daniel Kahneman loves an experiment

00:32:32   more than any other human being alive.

00:32:36   I feel like everything is an experiment.

00:32:38   Did this experiment, did this experiment,

00:32:41   looked at the pupils dilating, did this experiment.

00:32:43   Hey, what about this experiment?

00:32:45   There's so many of them and it's not,

00:32:48   it doesn't grab me in the same way.

00:32:51   I found it for that reason kind of really hard to try and get through.

00:32:56   Yeah, so, oh Myke, I've got some things to tell you about those experiments later.

00:33:02   Oh!

00:33:03   I will also agree that, so when we discuss these books, you normally read the audiobook

00:33:08   and I'm always like, "Oh Myke, it's a terrible mistake, you shouldn't read the

00:33:10   audiobook."

00:33:11   Because these sorts of books are made for, you have to be able to skim them, and because

00:33:18   Because my schedule in the next month has radically changed at the last moment, I found

00:33:22   myself extremely short on time in the last two weeks and I realized I'm gonna have to

00:33:29   go through this book as an audiobook.

00:33:30   I just don't have the time to sit down and read through it.

00:33:34   And very quickly I realized, oh this isn't just normally the situation where these books

00:33:44   are not good in audio form.

00:33:46   This book is particularly brutal in audio form.

00:33:51   I found myself in this constantly frustrated situation where I knew the only time that

00:33:58   I could get through it was when I was doing other things so I could listen in audio form

00:34:02   while simultaneously knowing that I could be getting through the book easily five times

00:34:08   faster if I was actually reading it because for reasons we'll get into later a lot of

00:34:14   this stuff I just heard before or found completely unremarkable. And there was one part in particular

00:34:22   where I did drop out and I read two chapters because I'm like, "I'm willing to bet I know

00:34:28   what's in these chapters!" And so I was like, "Let me just quickly jump over to the actual

00:34:31   book." It's like, "Okay, chapters three and four, reading in quotation marks, but actually

00:34:37   skim reading very quickly and like blasting through that section." But that was the only

00:34:41   part where I was able to do that.

00:34:42   And then I had to get back into the audio book and yeah, it is a

00:34:48   brutal book in audio form.

00:34:50   I think it's a particularly bad one because like you said, there are, well,

00:34:55   I do have complaints about some of his stories because I think that

00:35:00   there are stories in this book, but they're all the same kind of story

00:35:04   that I find really infuriating where he tells you a little bit about some

00:35:08   colleague who like did this other thing.

00:35:11   And that to me is, I don't know, it's just an infuriatingly, I don't know how to put

00:35:16   this, but it's a little bit like he's really making sure to give credit and

00:35:20   make all of his colleagues sound great.

00:35:22   And so he constantly includes references to like, Oh, this is, this is from my

00:35:26   genius colleague who he's so much smarter than me, we work together on this thing,

00:35:30   but it's mostly him and like, he's so close.

00:35:33   And like, it's like, I don't care.

00:35:34   I don't care who did the thing.

00:35:36   Like, I just care about the idea.

00:35:38   I don't really care that this one came from Chicago and this one came

00:35:41   from the University of Illinois.

00:35:43   And like, oh, well that team at Illinois is great.

00:35:45   Like, I don't care about that at all, but I do think that that is a, um,

00:35:50   I'm going to put it this way.

00:35:51   I think it is a side effect of defensive writing on the part of an academic who

00:36:00   is trying to write a popular book.

00:36:05   Is like, this is, this is like the popular writing version of citing

00:36:11   where the work comes from.

00:36:13   So he's trying not to just put in a little footnote that says like

00:36:16   Smith et al University of Hawaii.

00:36:20   He's instead trying to tell you a little bit about the people

00:36:23   at the University of Hawaii.

00:36:24   But, you know, just like when you watch the behind the scenes, uh, for making

00:36:28   a movie, it's like, Oh, spoiler.

00:36:30   Everyone's just got great things to say about everyone else.

00:36:33   It's the same thing here academically.

00:36:35   Like I didn't hear one bad thing about one colleague.

00:36:38   I found that kind of stuff infuriating and also just made it very difficult to

00:36:43   listen to because it's like, I know if I was reading this, as soon as I would

00:36:46   hit one of those paragraphs, I would just jump right to the next paragraph and be

00:36:49   like, yeah, yeah, just tell me the thing.

00:36:50   I don't care about the person behind the thing.

00:36:52   So I did do something with this book that I haven't done before.

00:36:56   I didn't read all of it.

00:36:57   Well, I listened to the first half in entirety.

00:37:00   It's cut into a bunch of sections.

00:37:02   this book and in about section three it really lost me.

00:37:07   I'm gonna get into why in a little bit later on.

00:37:11   So I then started basically just jumping around.

00:37:15   I would listen to something,

00:37:16   get what I think is the main idea

00:37:18   and then once he started going into all of the experiments

00:37:21   that he'd done to prove his point,

00:37:22   I would jump forward to the next section.

00:37:25   So I feel like I was still getting the main ideas

00:37:28   but I wasn't sitting through the supporting materials

00:37:32   which again, this is a very normal thing of these types of books, but I think I prefer the presentation style of the fake person than the

00:37:39   "Hey, let me tell you about the experiment."

00:37:41   So I didn't listen to all of it.

00:37:43   Yeah, the fake person is worse, but less boring, right?

00:37:48   Which has some redeeming characteristics.

00:37:51   It goes back to that good, worse, and true worst thing that we were talking about, right?

00:37:56   Yeah, I was like, "Oh, I'm trying to remember what it is."

00:37:57   I just, um, just recently I just, I did the thing that very rarely

00:38:02   happens where I hate read a book.

00:38:04   Like a book made me so angry that I finished it.

00:38:07   God, I can't remember what it was.

00:38:14   This is just a couple of months ago.

00:38:15   It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it's a, it's an odd experience.

00:38:18   I'm like, I hate this book so much, but I'm going to finish it.

00:38:21   But you know what?

00:38:23   That's an experience.

00:38:25   You know, I felt something.

00:38:26   Whereas with the boring stuff it's just, it's so much worse in a completely unremarkable way.

00:38:32   So, I've got so many complaints it's hard to know where to start.

00:38:40   Can we talk about the actual good thing in the book? I want to sandwich this a little bit.

00:38:44   Okay, yes. Let's talk about the good thing in the book,

00:38:47   and then I will tell you my story about this book.

00:38:50   Awesome.

00:38:51   Go ahead.

00:38:51   And then I have a bunch of more complaints.

00:38:53   [Laughter]

00:38:55   Look, the thing about this book, the reason this book is successful, is because it has something

00:38:59   which is genuinely very good, which is system one and two. This is the thing that makes this book

00:39:05   what it is, this is the reason why this book is in so many businesses, it's the reason why

00:39:11   when you join an advertising agency they will give you this book, like this is a very normal thing

00:39:15   that happens. It's effectively saying that our brains work in one of two ways. There is system

00:39:24   one which is automatic responses to things like for example if you hear a

00:39:29   loud noise you'll immediately go look like you turn and look at it simple

00:39:33   things like driving a car with no traffic on a route that you know basic

00:39:37   sentence structure all of that kind of stuff these are just simple things that

00:39:41   our brain can do automatically and then there are system two which are things

00:39:45   that take more effort things that need orderly steps things that you have to

00:39:49   pay attention to. Like focusing on the voice of a particular person in a loud environment

00:39:55   takes effort. Filling out a form that you're unfamiliar with takes effort. Parking your

00:40:01   car in a narrow space, right? These are things where you must focus on them. So the book

00:40:08   at first focuses on this a lot, as it gets later in the book tangentially relates back

00:40:12   to it, which is very strange to me because it feels like the entire book should be about

00:40:16   but then it seems to go off in these weird areas,

00:40:20   which is like, "Oh, and by the way,

00:40:21   that's a part of system one."

00:40:22   It's like, "All right, thanks Kahneman."

00:40:23   (laughing)

00:40:24   But I really like this idea.

00:40:26   I like a lot of where it comes from.

00:40:29   I like how it can be used and is used a lot in marketing

00:40:34   and stuff like that, right?

00:40:35   Like system one kind of leads on subliminal messaging

00:40:39   and that kind of stuff, right?

00:40:40   Like these are the things that people will take advantage of

00:40:43   to try and just get these ideas in your head

00:40:46   and our system ones can be tricked.

00:40:49   Like one of the key examples,

00:40:51   this is actually a pretty good one.

00:40:52   If somebody told you to think of the word eat

00:40:54   and then shows you the letters S O then space and P,

00:40:58   you would immediately think of soup.

00:41:01   But if they told you the word clean

00:41:03   and then showed you the same thing, you would say soap.

00:41:06   Like simple stuff like that.

00:41:07   I liked it.

00:41:08   I liked this idea.

00:41:09   And there are some other parts that come from it.

00:41:11   Like part of system two can be like being in a state of flow

00:41:15   when you're working, when you're like really concentrating

00:41:18   and you're in it, like all this kind of stuff.

00:41:20   I found it really interesting,

00:41:21   but that was kind of the entire book for me.

00:41:23   - Yeah, I think if I would try to distill down

00:41:27   the valuable thing here is,

00:41:31   I feel like it never quite says so clearly,

00:41:33   but the basic idea is a little bit like,

00:41:37   if you need to make a decision that matters,

00:41:41   you should notice when you haven't actually thought about it.

00:41:45   - Yeah.

00:41:46   - That like by default, your brain always wants to use

00:41:51   the fast way of thinking.

00:41:53   - One of the ways they do press announcements I like

00:41:54   is saying that like your brain instinctively tries

00:41:57   to find a system one answer to a system two question.

00:42:02   Like would this person be good for this job?

00:42:05   And you immediately look at them

00:42:07   and try and judge them based on their appearance.

00:42:09   Like that is a system one answer

00:42:11   'cause the system two answer is actually doing

00:42:14   some research on this person and like, and our brains try and make these impressions

00:42:19   very quickly so it doesn't have to work.

00:42:21   Like he refers to system two as lazy, which I like.

00:42:25   Yeah.

00:42:25   Yeah.

00:42:26   I think it is a good idea to have people realize that the logical part of their

00:42:31   brain is in some ways a smart, but lazy slacker and you know, like you need to

00:42:39   rouse it at certain moments when it really matters and be like, Hey, pay attention.

00:42:44   do the thing that you do. And he has some good examples in there of when are you more

00:42:53   likely to fall for this? And I think the best two for me are familiar- they're related,

00:42:59   but they're familiarity and availability. That you tend to go with things that you have

00:43:06   just heard a bunch. So this is, this is like with marketing, like this is the whole idea

00:43:11   of how advertising works in many ways is just repeatedly expose people to the same idea.

00:43:19   And the contents of that idea doesn't really matter, it's just that people will then tend

00:43:24   to prefer whatever that idea is over alternatives that they are less familiar with. So if you're

00:43:32   buying a car, be aware that you're going to be tending towards brands you have heard more

00:43:40   versus brands you have heard less and that's not always a logical thing to do. And then

00:43:45   availability is a similar sort of thing where you just tend to when thinking of things you

00:43:52   think of the most salient examples in your mind of a thing. So stuff that is emotionally

00:43:59   resonant will come to mind first. Say either books you really liked or books you really

00:44:04   hated like they're easier to remember than say dry books that might be filled with a

00:44:09   lot of great information or whatever. So like, I think those two are useful to try to catch.

00:44:17   Oh, am I just coming up with a reflexive answer? I'm just saying a thing that I have heard

00:44:23   lots of people say, or I'm remembering a case that is emotionally salient or that was recent.

00:44:31   I'm not thinking of what is the typical example of this case.

00:44:37   So that I feel like that's how I would try to encapsulate what is in the book.

00:44:42   I think the things you were touching on there, of course, cognitive ease, which is when our

00:44:47   brains make logical jumps because we're familiar with something, even if the answer is not

00:44:51   correct, but our memory of thinking that we know something will suffice, right?

00:44:55   It's just like a thing that you couldn't know, but because you've experienced something in

00:45:00   the past you will just give an answer to it and then exposure effect which is the

00:45:03   more we see something the more we are likely to feel positive about it.

00:45:07   There's this one part that I like too which is talking about the way that our

00:45:11   brains expect things differently and how this can go from system two to system one

00:45:16   like if something unexpected happens to you you kind of deal with it with system

00:45:21   two because you you have to try and work out what on earth is happening but then

00:45:25   once it's happened once if it happens again it becomes much more of a system

00:45:29   one thing and you're more likely to expect it to happen and he uses an

00:45:32   example of he bumped into a friend in Italy and it was like a big thing and

00:45:38   then bumped into him in London and it was like well I see this guy John in

00:45:42   different places so it's not weird to me the reason this resonated is I have a

00:45:47   friend like this his name's Matt and multiple times I have bumped into him in

00:45:52   places that seem really strange once was at a sporting event in New York City and

00:45:58   And it was like a huge thing. It was like, "Oh my god, I can't believe you're here."

00:46:01   Like, we're sitting two rows away from each other, like, "How wild is this?"

00:46:04   And then a couple of weeks ago, we were staying at a hotel in London,

00:46:08   and I saw him there, and it wasn't such a surprise.

00:46:10   - Right. Oh yeah. - Because I've experienced it.

00:46:12   Like, "Oh yeah, Matt's my friend that I see in various places around the world unexpectedly."

00:46:17   Yeah, I like that example because I think people can understand that one quite well.

00:46:21   That like, just by the nature of life, there is going to be that person who you seem to bump into

00:46:26   more frequently than other people and it rapidly becomes, "Oh yeah, that's the person who's

00:46:30   everywhere in your brain." It doesn't become remarkable at all.

00:46:33   But you have taught me things like this before of like selection effects where like I can see that

00:46:41   we're probably quite similar people so we end up being in similar places. There's just a higher

00:46:46   percentage of chance that I will see him because we like the same kinds of things.

00:46:51   Right. So if I'm going to see anyone it will be Matt.

00:46:54   Yeah.

00:46:54   I mean, you have already stumbled upon one of the things that I find quite frustrating

00:46:59   with this book, which is, I think, a conflation of like pure math, which he's often talking

00:47:07   about with the reality of social situations, which I feel like he just does not acknowledge

00:47:15   in any way.

00:47:16   I was losing my mind at one part of this book.

00:47:20   Okay.

00:47:21   I can't wait to find out if it's the same one that I lost my mind over.

00:47:23   But before we get there, I was just looking through my notes and I realized

00:47:27   there's one other idea, which I think is worth saying that comes out of the book.

00:47:31   It's a single paragraph.

00:47:32   I've heard it before, but I still think it's like, this is always a good idea to hear.

00:47:37   He's talking about how people remember what they have done.

00:47:41   And so the example that he uses is like when you ask couples, what percentage

00:47:47   of the housework do you think you do?

00:47:50   the total will always be over 100%, right?

00:47:53   Because both people will say,

00:47:54   "Oh, I do 60% of the work

00:47:55   and my partner only does 40% of the work."

00:47:58   Or if you are in a group work situation in school,

00:48:03   it's the same thing.

00:48:04   The total amount of work that was done is 300%

00:48:07   because each of the five people think that they did 40%.

00:48:09   - Who was the leader of this project?

00:48:11   We all were.

00:48:12   - Right, exactly.

00:48:14   I think this is one of those ideas

00:48:16   that should be constantly hammered into people's minds, that you are more aware of the things

00:48:25   that you do than you are aware of the things that other people do.

00:48:29   That is not to say that you can't be in a marriage where one person is a total slacker

00:48:34   on the housework, it's not saying everyone does the same thing, but you should just be

00:48:39   aware that by default your brain is exceedingly aware of every tiny thing that you have to

00:48:46   do and is almost completely oblivious of all of the things that everyone else has to do.

00:48:53   And I really do think that one of the prime areas for this is like the employer-employee

00:49:00   relationship of like, it's very easy for employees to imagine that their bosses do

00:49:06   do nothing, like, and that they do all of the work, you know, and it's just like, it's

00:49:11   just an interesting situation and it's useful to keep that in mind and I think it's useful

00:49:16   in work life when you're on a team, you're like, "Oh, I'm doing everything!" and you're

00:49:20   like, "Are you really?" you know, or in a relationship, "Oh, I'm the one who does all

00:49:24   the work in this relationship, do you really?" Maybe it is the case, but it is much more

00:49:30   likely that you're just over remembering your own contributions and I like this is actually

00:49:36   something that I do think about a lot with other people is just like try to remember

00:49:41   you always overestimate your own contributions to whatever like a partnership is in any way

00:49:47   so that was one of the few notes that I had for like this is a great idea it's one paragraph

00:49:53   in the book but I gave it a pink highlight to show to myself like this is the most important

00:49:57   - He talks about what you see is all there is,

00:50:01   which I liked, which is a system one behavior,

00:50:04   like that you just see something

00:50:06   and you take in what you see

00:50:09   and you make your judgment on it and that's that

00:50:11   without actually taking in any sources or information.

00:50:16   One of the things that this, which I really liked,

00:50:17   is the halo effect.

00:50:19   So they give this example of you'll meet somebody at a party

00:50:22   and you're talking to someone at the party

00:50:23   and you really like them and you think they're interesting.

00:50:26   And then later on at that party, someone tells you about

00:50:29   a charity that they're involved in and asks,

00:50:31   do you know anybody who you think might be interested

00:50:34   in donating?

00:50:34   And then you immediately go back to person one

00:50:37   and think they probably would

00:50:38   'cause they seem like a nice person.

00:50:40   But you do not know them at all.

00:50:41   You just assume they are good and generous and kind

00:50:44   because you like them.

00:50:46   And I found that as such an interesting point

00:50:50   for the modern world today.

00:50:52   How many judgments and assessments we make about people

00:50:56   just because we like them,

00:50:57   without knowing everything about them.

00:50:59   And I think this works in multiple ways.

00:51:02   I think the people need to be much more aware

00:51:04   of this these days, that people are complicated

00:51:07   and there's a lot to them that you do and do not know,

00:51:11   and that it can be helpful to try and remember that

00:51:13   when making judgments good and bad.

00:51:15   - Yeah, yeah.

00:51:16   I think he lightly touches on it in the Halo Effect section,

00:51:19   but it's another one of these really under talked about ways

00:51:23   that people influence you,

00:51:25   is just through their sheer physical attractiveness

00:51:27   is a kind of halo effect.

00:51:29   That someone who is physically attractive

00:51:31   gets overrated on all sorts of good qualities

00:51:35   in this comical way. - So smart, so generous,

00:51:37   so kind. (laughing)

00:51:39   - Physical attractiveness is this kind of thing

00:51:41   that is just impossible not to halo effect people over.

00:51:46   Sort of talking about social realities though,

00:51:49   I do think one of the key things

00:51:50   about the halo effect though is like,

00:51:53   This only applies though when you don't really know the person.

00:51:58   That, like, this is where like social reality kicks in of like, well, yeah,

00:52:02   you can start to make judgments about people when you actually know them, but

00:52:06   it is, it is useful to be aware that like, if you meet an attractive person

00:52:10   who is paying you attention, your fast thinking part of your brain is going to

00:52:17   be like, this person's great at everything, they should be my partner.

00:52:21   And also they should be the new Dean of this college and they probably

00:52:26   do all of these amazing things.

00:52:27   Uh, like you, you just, it's useful to be aware of that when you're in one of those

00:52:31   situations, like hold back judgments in the immediate moment until you have actually

00:52:36   gathered some more information about the person.

00:52:38   Yeah, I'm just looking through here.

00:52:40   Do I have anything else that I think is particularly good?

00:52:42   From this section, no, like it is after this section where things start to get rough

00:52:49   for me, but there are some interesting parts to it.

00:52:52   I particularly liked something called

00:52:54   the availability cascade,

00:52:57   which is when like the media will jump on a thing,

00:53:00   making it like a circus,

00:53:02   because the more you cover it, the more people care

00:53:04   and they overweight unimportant things

00:53:06   because people like to learn about them.

00:53:08   And this is like stuff that directly appeals to system one.

00:53:12   This just, I liked this.

00:53:13   It just puts something into words,

00:53:15   which we've spoken about before,

00:53:16   which I've been dealing with over the last year or two.

00:53:19   Like just about the way that news is covered

00:53:21   and what's covered and what's important and what isn't.

00:53:24   - Yeah, I highlighted that section as well,

00:53:25   but my note with that is terrible name for this phenomenon.

00:53:29   - Availability cascade, that's horrific.

00:53:32   It doesn't make any sense.

00:53:33   - Availability sounds like a good thing?

00:53:35   Like an availability cascade

00:53:37   sounds like cornucopia of delight.

00:53:39   - Cascade is a good word,

00:53:41   but availability doesn't fit with even the example he gave.

00:53:45   - Right, but it sounds more like it's a good thing

00:53:48   than it's a bad thing.

00:53:50   - Yeah, oh, I'm so free.

00:53:51   (laughing)

00:53:53   - How available am I?

00:53:54   Oh man, I've got a cascade of availability.

00:53:56   This is amazing.

00:53:58   There is a part in the beginning of the book

00:53:59   where he talks about this idea,

00:54:02   which I think I have a tendency to underrate,

00:54:04   but I do think that he's right about,

00:54:06   that giving specific vocabulary to certain ideas

00:54:11   is helpful in terms of thinking about those ideas.

00:54:15   I think it's particularly funny in this book because I would rate Kahneman as very under

00:54:21   average with actually coming up with good names for the concepts that he's talking about.

00:54:25   What makes it even worse is he doesn't stop naming things.

00:54:29   There are like 2,000 different things in this book.

00:54:34   This is one of my issues with it is it's too much branding.

00:54:38   Like what Kahneman really has is like four books in one here because like he has the

00:54:44   one really good idea and then like a bunch of others and it's like just a

00:54:48   dartboard of naming stuff constantly.

00:54:51   Here's the thing, we don't like Kahneman's book very much but I mean dude won the Nobel Prize for something like

00:54:57   For this book.

00:54:58   [Laughter]

00:55:00   For this book.

00:55:00   No, he's very smart. Very smart.

00:55:03   Yeah.

00:55:04   No doubt.

00:55:04   So I think he's trying to do he's trying to do a survey of knowledge in some way and of a lot of things that he was involved in but this is where I need to tell you a story you're not

00:55:14   gonna like about this book Myke. Are you ready? Yeah.

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00:57:09   [Music]

00:57:10   Okay, so here Myke is my experience with reading this book.

00:57:13   So I'm listening to it and like we said it starts out with here's the idea, there

00:57:19   are these two ways of thinking, you know, and that's like chapters one and two is

00:57:23   getting you started on the book.

00:57:25   As it goes on, one of the first things he talks about is ego depletion.

00:57:31   This idea that you have a finite amount of willpower, you can only expend it on

00:57:35   so many things, and that's partly because of the fact that type 2 thinking is taxing.

00:57:41   I particularly enjoyed how he spent a really long time making sure that you believed him

00:57:46   that mentally difficult work made you tired. I don't know about you, but I found that

00:57:51   section a little bit like he was telling me running on a treadmill would make me tired.

00:57:55   He's like, "Did you know if I had you do mental math really fast in a lab, you couldn't

00:58:03   it indefinitely. Like, yeah.

00:58:06   WOOOAAAH! Give this man a second Nobel Prize!

00:58:11   And he was obviously really chuffed with this particular test he came up with about adding

00:58:15   one to numbers, to sequences of numbers really quickly, because he insisted many times, like,

00:58:20   "Don't just read this part of the book, you gotta try this!"

00:58:23   Did you try it?

00:58:24   No, of course not, I was walking around listening to an audio book.

00:58:26   No I didn't either, I was like, "I'm just gonna wait for him to get to the result,

00:58:30   because I'm not interested in doing the sums.

00:58:32   Thank you.

00:58:32   Yeah.

00:58:33   And guess what?

00:58:34   The result was, this'll make you real tired.

00:58:36   Like, yeah, duh.

00:58:37   That's why I didn't want to do it.

00:58:39   I was system wanting all my way through that section, dude.

00:58:44   I can see where this one was going, Connor, man.

00:58:47   Catch me.

00:58:48   Yeah, lazy slacker, system two looks up and is like, nice try.

00:58:52   But so, so he starts talking about ego depletion, which for various reasons,

00:59:00   we don't need to get into because I think ego depletion is like a whole other thing for another time.

00:59:04   But the fact that he's talking about ego depletion raises a little bit of a yellow flag in my brain.

00:59:10   And I go, "Hmm, uh-oh."

00:59:12   I was like, "Oh, well, whatever. Let's just, we're gonna keep reading."

00:59:16   Then we get to chapter four, which covers a topic called priming.

00:59:23   And this is where I thought, "Oh no."

00:59:28   And I bailed out of the audiobook to read the physical book because I thought, "I don't know how this is going to go."

00:59:34   And so I skimmed through the section on priming, which I did not like for reasons that we'll get to.

00:59:42   And I thought, "Okay, it's getting a little worse here. I'm going to jump back into the audiobook and keep listening."

00:59:49   listening, and it just kept going on and on with all of these experiments in the social

00:59:55   sciences that you were talking about. Kahneman never saw or participated in a behavioral

01:00:02   economics experiment that he didn't want to tell you about, and it's like, "Here

01:00:06   are all of these experiments!"

01:00:08   [laughter]

01:00:09   I do feel like I've lived his entire career in the last couple of weeks.

01:00:13   Yeah. It's a book that makes you feel like you're the other person, for sure, because

01:00:18   You even have to participate in office chitchat between colleagues where he tells you about

01:00:23   like what this colleague thought and then you the colleague was surprised and thought

01:00:26   about it some more and because he's such a clever clogs he obviously realized his mistake

01:00:31   because he's smarter than me the author or whatever.

01:00:33   MATT PORTER, PH.D. Oh by the way this is one of the most often cited papers in this field.

01:00:38   [laughter]

01:00:39   PY

01:00:47   super popular papers, their citation numbers are real low.

01:00:51   - Like 400, it's like, all right, bud.

01:00:53   (laughing)

01:00:55   It's not that many.

01:00:56   - Right, but this actually leads directly

01:00:58   into the problem that I have, which is like,

01:01:00   oh, the most popular behavioral economics paper

01:01:02   is cited 400 times.

01:01:04   Like, it's actually quite, that's just quite a small number.

01:01:06   It should raise some red flags in your brain.

01:01:08   But so as I kept reading, I kept coming across

01:01:10   all this behavioral economics and behavioral science

01:01:14   and psychology experiments.

01:01:16   And at one point, probably about a quarter of the way into the book, I thought, "I have

01:01:20   to check when this book was published."

01:01:22   So I go look.

01:01:24   So the book is published in 2011 or 2010.

01:01:29   And so this book was published right before a thing called the replication

01:01:40   crisis came through like a, like a hurricane to destroy the social sciences.

01:01:48   Are you familiar with the phrase, the replication crisis?

01:01:51   Is this a thing you've ever heard?

01:01:53   I have never heard of this before.

01:01:55   No.

01:01:55   Okay.

01:01:56   Yeah.

01:01:56   So I think more people should know about the replication crisis because it is a

01:02:02   big deal in the modern world, but I'm also slightly sad to tell you about it,

01:02:07   Myke, because I know it will make you sad.

01:02:09   Can I read from Wikipedia, which is a thing that I seem to be keep doing recently?

01:02:14   Yes, go right ahead.

01:02:15   The replication crisis is an ongoing methodological crisis in which it has been found that many

01:02:20   scientific studies are difficult or impossible to replicate or reproduce.

01:02:25   The replication crisis most severely affects the social sciences and medicine, while survey

01:02:29   data strongly indicates that all of the natural sciences are probably implicated as well.

01:02:34   The phrase was coined in the early 2010s as part of a growing awareness of the problem.

01:02:39   The replication crisis represents an important body of research in the field of metascience.

01:02:43   B: Alright, early 2010s.

01:02:46   Replication crisis has been on my radar for a really long time, and it's been quite an

01:02:51   interesting thing to sort of follow how the scientific world has attempted to deal with

01:02:56   this, but as the description there says, there are two particular areas that are just destroyed

01:03:04   by this, and it is social sciences in particular, and medicine.

01:03:09   And what the replication crisis, you can summarize it as saying, an enormous percentage of these

01:03:18   studies that you hear about, like in this sort of book where they say, "We did an experiment,

01:03:24   and we had a basket of food, and we put eyeballs above the basket of food, and people stole

01:03:29   from it less."

01:03:30   These experimental results either don't replicate, which means when other people try to do the

01:03:36   same experiment, they do not get the same results, or they have literally never been

01:03:41   attempted to be replicated, which tells you almost nothing about the validity of the statement.

01:03:48   And the absolute epicenter of what started the replication crisis was all of the social

01:03:56   science work on priming because priming, this whole thing in chapter four, is this idea

01:04:04   that kind of like spread through the greater society.

01:04:07   If you show people images of older people, they'll walk more slowly down a hallway, right?

01:04:14   Or you can make people act more virtuous if you have them swear on a Bible.

01:04:20   Like this concept of priming that like you're putting ideas into someone's head and then

01:04:25   will act more like the ideas that you just put in their head. And this whole field was

01:04:29   just destroyed of like, none of this is real. None of this replicates. You cannot prove

01:04:37   that this effect exists. Or if it does exist, it's so incredibly infinitesimally small,

01:04:45   that the results you're getting can't possibly be real. So this is the replication crisis.

01:04:50   It seems like he's involved in this, Conklin.

01:04:54   So I don't know what the deal is.

01:05:00   Let me say this.

01:05:01   So once we got to this section of priming and we continued with all of these really

01:05:06   cute sort of media-friendly experiments afterward, I just found myself in this position of it

01:05:13   is incredibly difficult to take anything in this book at its word.

01:05:18   I'm so pleased that you say this.

01:05:20   Why do you say that?

01:05:21   I was getting so angry at this section.

01:05:23   Which section in particular?

01:05:24   There are these situations where he creates fake people and personality profiles.

01:05:30   We can get to the fake people.

01:05:31   I hate the fake people section so much.

01:05:32   Alright, great.

01:05:33   Cool, cool, cool, cool.

01:05:34   Alright, let's come back to that.

01:05:35   We'll come back to that.

01:05:36   Sorry, sorry, sorry.

01:05:37   Finish what you were going to say.

01:05:38   We're not even at the fake people, Myke.

01:05:40   Okay, cool.

01:05:41   Cool, cool, cool, cool.

01:05:42   Like, we're at the real science part, which is before all of the fake people.

01:05:47   So I think Daniel Kahneman established a lot of, like the impression that I get from some

01:05:53   of the stuff that he talks about in this book is I feel like he did a lot of the foundational

01:05:58   work in the basic concept of the irrationality of human decision-making.

01:06:04   And like, I have absolutely no argument with him there.

01:06:08   Like I had this really weird experience reading the book where it was, "Hey, Daniel Kahneman,

01:06:15   I'm totally on board with a lot of the ideas that you're expressing.

01:06:20   I think that the environment around a person has huge amount of

01:06:23   impact on what they actually do.

01:06:25   A concept we've discussed on the show many times, like you can

01:06:28   influence your environment and your environment influences you.

01:06:31   I'm totally on board for people don't make rational decisions all the time.

01:06:37   And a huge number of ways that people just think lazily and it's, it's useful

01:06:44   to try to put language and terms that express the ways that people think lazily.

01:06:51   It's like, I'm on, I'm on board with you here, dude.

01:06:54   But the problem is almost everything that you're using to back this up is like,

01:07:02   scores very high on my bullsh*tometer.

01:07:05   And that bullsh*tometer is not uncalibrated because this book is right at the heart of

01:07:11   one of the biggest problems in the scientific world

01:07:15   in the last 10 years.

01:07:17   I have a suspicion that part of the reason

01:07:20   this book is so popular is it must have been

01:07:24   one of the last books published

01:07:28   before it would have become very difficult

01:07:31   to publish a book filled with all of these examples.

01:07:34   - Wow.

01:07:35   - So that it is actually the book that contains

01:07:38   the maximum density of examples of these kinds of stories.

01:07:43   Because I think even a year or two later,

01:07:48   more editors might have flagged this up of like,

01:07:50   "Hey, how sure are you about this priming stuff?

01:07:53   Like, have you looked into this?"

01:07:55   One of my other complaints is,

01:07:56   I do think the book lacks actionable things

01:07:59   to do with some of this.

01:08:00   Like there's a lot of stuff

01:08:01   that's just extremely unactionable.

01:08:03   But one of the things I've really become

01:08:04   an increasing fan of over the years

01:08:06   is try to quantify your thinking in terms of bets.

01:08:10   And I was, you know,

01:08:11   we were getting ready for the show this morning,

01:08:13   I was trying to think like,

01:08:15   how confident am I in making statements

01:08:19   about the failure to replicate of studies in this book?

01:08:24   Like, you know, I'm not an expert in this field,

01:08:26   you know, I don't know.

01:08:27   But I thought I would easily take an even money bet

01:08:33   that at least 45% of the experiments mentioned in the first half of the book are wrong.

01:08:42   Like, I would happily place a large amount of money on that bet.

01:08:45   And wrong in the sense that they either don't replicate

01:08:50   or they have never been attempted to be replicated,

01:08:52   which is basically worthless in the social science.

01:08:54   Like, a single paper that says "we got this crazy result"

01:08:58   is literally worthless from a mathematical perspective.

01:09:01   like it just tells you nothing except "hey, maybe you should do another one of these."

01:09:05   So I have to limit it to the first half of the book because I exploded when we got to the fake

01:09:12   people and and just could not deal with it. I'm so pleased we really bounced at the same point.

01:09:19   Because that was when I couldn't take it anymore. That was when I then started

01:09:23   going through. It's really interesting. He has a new book out and I wonder what that's like,

01:09:27   like with this stuff in mind like they had a book come out this year I think called Noise.

01:09:33   I don't know anything about it.

01:09:34   Okay so I don't know anything about it but that title sounds a little bit like it's trying to

01:09:38   talk about some of the replication crisis because I just want to mention something really quickly

01:09:43   here because I think the replication crisis has been actually quite damaging to the wider world

01:09:50   in a bunch of ways because you do get media reports or stories about like how people are

01:09:58   under certain circumstances or how people act or what people do or like look at this wacky

01:10:03   experiment where we get the wrong results. And I do think this stuff kind of just permeates

01:10:09   society as this background knowledge of like, oh, we all know that people will be greedy under

01:10:14   these circumstances or people will cheat under those circumstances. And like, I've looked into

01:10:19   to these papers sometimes and they just don't replicate and they just get repeated as true

01:10:25   ideas.

01:10:26   I don't think this book's gonna make you happier.

01:10:28   Oh no.

01:10:30   This is from Amazon.

01:10:31   "Wherever there is human judgment, there is noise.

01:10:34   Imagine that two doctors in the same city give different diagnoses to identical patients,

01:10:39   or that two judges in the same court give different sentences to people who have committed

01:10:42   matching crimes.

01:10:44   Now imagine that the same doctor and the same judge make different decisions depending on

01:10:47   whether it is morning or afternoon or Monday or Wednesday.

01:10:50   Oh my god, okay, so this is the... right, okay.

01:10:54   So this is, he's actually hitting one right there, which I used to think was true and

01:10:58   then looked into it more and it is not true, and it has to do with judges giving harsher

01:11:03   sentences right before lunch is like this concept that-

01:11:06   He references that in the book.

01:11:07   -people are grumpy and hungry.

01:11:08   He talks about that in the book.

01:11:09   Yeah, so like, that doesn't replicate as far as I am aware.

01:11:11   Like that, that paper failed to replicate when done with other things.

01:11:15   So the reason I thought that the title "Noise" would be related to this is because—

01:11:20   so here's the fundamental problem with the replication crisis.

01:11:26   If you have, say, you know, in America, I don't know how many behavioral economics students there

01:11:35   are or psychology students there are trying to get their PhDs, but you have people who

01:11:40   need to do experiments.

01:11:42   And you have lots of them who are doing experiments.

01:11:45   You know full well, just from like the mathematics of large numbers, that some

01:11:52   of those people will conduct an experiment and they will get extremely

01:11:58   convincing results that variable A is related to variable B, even though

01:12:04   they're not related at all, just by chance, because there's just a large

01:12:09   number of people here. An example I used to do back when I was a teacher and you do some

01:12:14   basic statistics is I'd have a class of 20 students and you have everyone stand up and

01:12:20   everyone gets to flip a coin and if they flip heads they get to stay standing up and flip

01:12:25   again. Well in a class of 20 people you're basically guaranteed you're going to get one

01:12:30   kid who's really surprised they flipped heads four times in a row and like that's just basically

01:12:36   statistically is very likely to happen.

01:12:38   But what's not likely to happen is that when you do it a second time, the same kid

01:12:44   flips heads four times in a row, right?

01:12:47   That kid wasn't really good at flipping coins or whatever.

01:12:50   So the replication crisis is interesting because in some ways it's a side effect

01:12:54   of there are way more people doing science now than there were in the past.

01:12:59   And so one of the problems that you have to deal with is when you have lots of

01:13:04   of people doing experiments, you know that some of them are going to be really wrong,

01:13:11   but also have shockingly convincing data, which is why you need to, you need to run

01:13:17   it again, because it's the equivalent of someone publishing a paper that says,

01:13:21   "Holy s**t!

01:13:23   I flipped a coin and it came up heads 10 times in a row.

01:13:26   I must be amazing at this!"

01:13:29   Right?

01:13:29   Like it's the mathematical equivalent of that.

01:13:32   The other slightly more technical problem, which is not really worth getting into, but

01:13:36   the bar for I don't really want to get into is that people will know it's called like

01:13:41   the p hacking.

01:13:42   It's this probability metric that's used of like, how good does your data have to be to

01:13:47   be published in a respectable peer reviewed journal, the threshold is not set very high.

01:13:54   It's set so that you can basically be guaranteed that one in 20 papers can't be correct in

01:14:00   a journal is roughly where the threshold is set, which is really appalling when you realize,

01:14:05   oh, an edition of a journal may have 40 papers in it.

01:14:11   So two of them, before we even do anything, you can be very confident are wrong without

01:14:18   even having to look at any of the data, because you just know where the threshold has been

01:14:23   set for what will we accept to publish in this paper.

01:14:27   And that's like the best case scenario because the journals are only picking from papers

01:14:32   that obviously have really convincing data.

01:14:35   But those papers are produced by statistical outliers when they perform their experiments.

01:14:40   So it's a huge problem in the field and it's why after the priming stuff and when it just

01:14:46   kept continuing onward I was like I'm having a real hard time with this book in this in

01:14:52   this dual way of like, "I believe your fundamental thesis, but goddamn, did like, this book get

01:14:58   published at the exact wrong year to include the maximum amount of almost certainly non-replicable

01:15:07   experiments."

01:15:08   It makes me feel so much better about how I felt about this book.

01:15:12   Oh, okay, I thought you would be crying when you heard about the replication crisis.

01:15:16   No, I mean, that's the whole thing that I want to look into a bit more, but it seems

01:15:20   deeply unsettling but in a kind of tantalizing way. Which is interestingly

01:15:25   kind of exactly what these books are like, right? Like they are... it's like

01:15:29   tantalizing so you just want to believe it. Because like I was at a point like I

01:15:34   was I was talking to Adina last night about this because she asked me what I

01:15:37   thought about it and it was like it was like a part of me it's like I don't know

01:15:40   who this book is for or why like it's not really a business book it's not

01:15:46   really a self-help book. It's not really a book about science but it's

01:15:50   kind of accepted by all of them because it's like catnip to all of those

01:15:54   different, especially like the business-y types of things because there's

01:15:57   interesting stuff in here but every time it would get to a point where he would

01:16:02   start to give examples and explain his interesting idea I would become more

01:16:07   infuriated by the overall experience because some of the stuff it was like

01:16:13   it's the very worst of these types of books where it's like I'm going to tell

01:16:19   you a thing, then tell you everybody's wrong except me.

01:16:24   And in other books, people do this, right?

01:16:27   This is very normal in these types of books,

01:16:30   but it's not usually being presented to me as science.

01:16:34   - Yes, okay, I had a thought that I was gonna keep

01:16:37   to myself, but you've expressed a similar feeling,

01:16:40   so I feel less bad about it.

01:16:42   Part of the reason I never read this book is,

01:16:46   It was hugely recommended to me, which I often just find a sort of yellow

01:16:51   flag for recommendations in general of like, you know, when a thing is

01:16:55   overwhelmingly recommended, I can be really confident I won't like it.

01:16:59   For example, Ready Player One, like everyone in the universe recommended

01:17:03   it to me and is like, I can guarantee you, I will not like that book.

01:17:05   This book had an additional layer, which is the people who recommended it to me.

01:17:15   would fall into a category that I think this book is kind of catnip for, which is a little

01:17:21   bit of an elitist, "Oh, aren't I smarter than everyone?"

01:17:27   And I think that this book has that kind of weaved through it all the time.

01:17:35   It's like, it's a little bit set up for, "Oh, yeah, I know all about this stuff.

01:17:42   I wouldn't fall for this kind of stuff, but look at how other people fall for this

01:17:46   kind of stuff." And I don't have it highlighted, but there were a few little sentences that

01:17:51   that just really rubbed me the wrong way where he's like, "So when we make policy for

01:17:58   people, we need to keep in mind that they're thinking with their emotional brains."

01:18:03   "When he starts talking about governments, it's like, luckily some governments are

01:18:08   doing things the way I think they should be done. Hopefully they'll all come on board

01:18:13   one day."

01:18:14   P - Yeah, okay, so I'm glad it wasn't just me, but it's like, there's a quality of elite

01:18:23   college-educated superiority that some people have when recommending this book, and it's

01:18:29   one of the things that always put me off the book, and it's like, "Boy, it is in here."

01:18:35   It bugged me. It bugged me a number of times.

01:18:39   So let's talk about the fake people. We've got to talk about the fake people.

01:18:42   Tell me about the fake people, Myke, because I have to hear what you think about this,

01:18:45   because this is where I lost it to.

01:18:47   So he creates two people. One is Tom W and one is Linda. And the Linda one is really

01:18:53   controversial and he's actually listed as so, which I appreciate, to a point where it

01:18:58   is known as the "Linda problem" after publishing the paper.

01:19:02   That's hilarious. Linda is the exact moment I checked out.

01:19:05   (laughing)

01:19:06   So in a nutshell, creates a fake person,

01:19:09   creates a personality profile about them,

01:19:11   and then wants you to guess what jobs

01:19:13   that they would be good at.

01:19:15   Then says that all of your guesses are wrong.

01:19:19   So what he explicitly does is creates a person

01:19:24   who you are 100% expected to suggest

01:19:28   that they would do this type of job,

01:19:29   and he goes, "No, no, they'd be good at another one."

01:19:32   But you've created this fake situation

01:19:35   and told me to think a certain way.

01:19:38   And then when I said, yeah, I believe you,

01:19:40   you said, no, you're wrong.

01:19:42   And I hate stuff like this.

01:19:44   You created this completely fake situation.

01:19:47   The same with Linda, right?

01:19:48   Creates this personality profile.

01:19:50   It was like, there's no way that they could be a bank teller.

01:19:52   It's just impossible.

01:19:53   Like, no, it's not impossible.

01:19:54   They could be.

01:19:55   And I find this so annoying because it's like,

01:19:58   I'm so smart, you are so stupid.

01:20:01   Or like there's another part in the book as well,

01:20:04   this is much later on, where he's talking about experts,

01:20:08   that all experts are wrong

01:20:10   because they cannot actually predict the future.

01:20:13   Like people are paid to forecast things,

01:20:16   but there's no way that they could know them

01:20:18   because it's the future.

01:20:19   So they're all wrong.

01:20:20   And it's kind of like,

01:20:22   I'm not saying that he's incorrect,

01:20:25   but by his own logic, what he has just said is wrong

01:20:30   because he cannot actually know.

01:20:32   And I really get annoyed when these types of books

01:20:35   wrap themselves in either A, these falsehoods

01:20:38   and tells you you're stupid for believing them

01:20:40   even though they force you to believe them,

01:20:42   or B, makes these grand sweeping statements

01:20:47   that undo everything the statement has said,

01:20:50   like it's eating its own tail, right?

01:20:52   Like you can't trust anyone, everyone's wrong,

01:20:55   but you can trust me except everyone's wrong.

01:20:58   And like these two parts just, it really, unfortunately,

01:21:03   reduced my overall feeling about this book.

01:21:07   And I really wish that these, as with most of these books,

01:21:12   it was just half the size and then he could have got out

01:21:14   what he wanted to say, put system one and two in,

01:21:17   give me some more about that and left it there.

01:21:20   Because everything past that point

01:21:22   really undermines the work, I think.

01:21:25   - Yeah, the thing about experts, again,

01:21:27   because what is true has been a repeated topic on this podcast.

01:21:32   It's frustrating because I think in the what is true topic, the danger that you constantly

01:21:40   have to avoid is becoming cynical and just reflexively going, "Oh, I can't believe experts.

01:21:48   Experts are dumb."

01:21:49   You can have an interesting conversation about under what circumstances does it make sense

01:21:56   to trust expert advice. What are the constraints and what are the incentives that are acting

01:22:01   upon an expert? And that, that gives you a way to frame people's advice. You know, a

01:22:09   very, a very classic example is something that comes up in the past year. You say regulatory

01:22:14   agencies, how much should you trust a regulatory agency? And you're like, well, the more that

01:22:20   that agency, the people making decisions have something on the line personally, you should

01:22:25   take that into account for trusting of that, or it's like, there are all of these

01:22:30   different ways to think about that, but a dismissal that is also then couched in,

01:22:38   except me as the expert, is just, it's the worst kind of thing.

01:22:43   I think it encourages a kind of cynical-ism that is not helpful for actually solving

01:22:50   problems and also tells you sort of implicitly, because you've read this far in this book,

01:22:57   you obviously agree with all of this.

01:22:59   So when I say you can trust me, I'm also saying you can trust you who trusts me.

01:23:05   - You're the real expert here.

01:23:07   I do want to just add on something that you said, because you made a good point about

01:23:10   if there is something on the line, but I think that that can actually lend a little bit to

01:23:14   what he's saying.

01:23:15   And I just wanted to also suggest that we have an expert.

01:23:19   Yeah, they probably-- well, they definitely can't predict the future.

01:23:23   But they know more about it than you do.

01:23:25   And so if one of us is going to try and make a decision,

01:23:28   maybe it's that person.

01:23:29   And that was the thing that annoyed me about this book, where

01:23:32   it's kind of like, no experts know nothing.

01:23:34   They don't know anything.

01:23:36   There's no way they can predict anything.

01:23:37   It's like, yeah, I know.

01:23:38   We all know this.

01:23:39   We all know that these people cannot predict the future.

01:23:42   If you spent years studying something, you maybe have a better gut reaction than me,

01:23:48   rando individual, who's just rolling up having read a news article in the Guardian.

01:23:53   I don't think anybody is suggesting that people can accurately predict the future,

01:23:59   but if we're going to try and base something on something, at least try and put some logic

01:24:03   behind it.

01:24:04   And I find it really annoying that he, as you say, is like, "Yeah, we shouldn't do that

01:24:09   to anyone, except what I have to say."

01:24:12   Just to get back to the fake people thing.

01:24:14   Alright, so I just want the listeners to really understand what we're saying here.

01:24:19   So I just had to pull up part of this.

01:24:20   I'm just going to read a little bit of it.

01:24:22   The Tom W one.

01:24:24   So he presents you with this description of a person, Tom W, who's not a real person,

01:24:30   is a constructed person for this experiment here, right?

01:24:35   It says, "Tom W is of high intelligence, although lacking in true creativity.

01:24:41   He has a need for order and clarity and for neat and tidy systems in which every detail

01:24:45   finds its appropriate places.

01:24:48   His writing is rather dull and mechanical, occasionally livened by somewhat corny puns

01:24:53   and flashes of imagination of the sci-fi type.

01:24:57   Now before we even get one sentence further, the note I wrote down in this section of the

01:25:03   book is "I feel like I'm having a stroke."

01:25:06   Like, how am I supposed to understand what is happening here?

01:25:13   Like, I don't know about you.

01:25:16   I literally can't conceive of this the way he's trying to ask me to conceive of this.

01:25:21   It's, it's like, it's not a real person.

01:25:25   Okay.

01:25:26   So do I need to pretend it's a real person?

01:25:28   If it is a real person, who's giving me this information?

01:25:32   God?

01:25:34   Like, is this information 100% accurate about this?

01:25:38   - Yeah, 'cause this is like,

01:25:38   "Oh, you have to judge this personality profile,

01:25:41   which is a personality profile that doesn't exist.

01:25:44   No one can write this about someone."

01:25:46   - Yeah. - It's...

01:25:47   - Every one of those sentences

01:25:50   is thrown into immediate confusion.

01:25:53   If I am quite literally doing what the whole book is about,

01:25:56   hey, think about this seriously.

01:25:58   Like, don't just make a quick judgment.

01:26:00   Think about it seriously.

01:26:01   But the moment I have to think about it seriously,

01:26:03   I feel like I can't read. Like I can't absorb this in any way because the whole thing just

01:26:10   falls apart. And then, yes, the thing that both of us find annoying is he then asks you

01:26:15   to rank out of nine categories, you know, which of these categories do you think that

01:26:20   he's most likely to work in? And then he goes, "LOL, no, you're wrong. He's not likely to

01:26:25   be a librarian. He's likely to be a farmer because there's more farmers than librarians."

01:26:30   - Yeah, oh, I hate that.

01:26:32   There's more farms in the world.

01:26:33   Oh, good, great, that's excellent.

01:26:36   But are they this type of person?

01:26:37   Like, let's be realistic here.

01:26:40   Like, I know what you're trying to tell me,

01:26:42   but the world doesn't work on probabilities.

01:26:45   It's not, ugh.

01:26:47   - This is what I meant by constant confusion

01:26:50   of math problems and social situations.

01:26:53   And the thing it made me think of is,

01:26:56   like, I remember in high school,

01:26:58   one of the standardized math things that we had to learn

01:27:00   was these, I really quite liked them, but they were logic puzzles.

01:27:03   They would be presented as a series of sentences.

01:27:06   And so they would say something like, "John wears red every

01:27:12   day that starts with a T.

01:27:15   He only wears blue on every other day and he'll never wear yellow on a Sunday.

01:27:21   If it's a Tuesday, what color is he likely to be wearing?"

01:27:24   And step one of solving any of these problems is you go, "Okay, these words

01:27:30   don't have anything to do with reality and you have to just turn them into mathematical

01:27:34   statements and then it's very easy to solve, right?

01:27:39   But this, so what Kahneman's, the trick that he's pulling here, he is explicitly asking

01:27:44   you to solve a social problem.

01:27:47   Here's a personality description of a person.

01:27:49   What job do you think that they would like to do?

01:27:51   And then he's pulling the rug out from under you going, "LOL, I actually only wanted a

01:27:55   statistical answer."

01:27:56   And it's like, "F*ck you!"

01:27:57   Right?

01:27:58   Like, "F*ck you!"

01:27:59   Yeah, you didn't ask me for that.

01:28:01   I was walking around in my pre-cortex time, I was trying to really articulate like,

01:28:07   why does this make me so mad?

01:28:09   Like, but I couldn't put it into words.

01:28:11   And then it finally dawned on me of like, I know what he's doing.

01:28:15   So this is my metaphor for this section.

01:28:17   Let me describe a student for you.

01:28:19   She's the smartest girl in school, and she loves books.

01:28:23   She's great at memorizing long lists of things.

01:28:26   of things and she's about to be sorted into a Hogwarts house.

01:28:31   Which house do you think she's going to be sorted into?

01:28:34   Did you guess Ravenclaw?

01:28:36   LOL no, she ended up in Gryffindor.

01:28:40   She ended up in Gryffindor because there's more brave people than smart people.

01:28:46   Now don't you feel stupid?

01:28:47   Oh my God.

01:28:48   It's inferior.

01:28:49   Like this whole thing is fake.

01:28:51   It's not real.

01:28:51   That's what it just dawned on me.

01:28:53   Like that's what it is.

01:28:54   I am being judged for guessing people's Hogwarts house incorrectly based on fictional

01:29:00   descriptions of fictional people.

01:29:03   And he's given me a lesson on like, well, you know, the stereotype of Ravenclaw students

01:29:08   is that they're smart, but actually in the book, it's not really mentioned very often

01:29:11   that they're smart.

01:29:12   So joke's on you, like you really fell for something here.

01:29:16   Like I don't like, it's maddening.

01:29:18   It's absolutely maddening.

01:29:19   Like, I actually find it more maddening because there is a good idea underneath this.

01:29:28   It's just presented in the worst of all possible ways.

01:29:31   I want to, again, I'm going back to Wikipedia because that's apparently what I do on this

01:29:35   podcast now.

01:29:36   So this is known as the conjunction fallacy in some part of it and it's going back to

01:29:42   the Linda problem.

01:29:43   I just want to read it out just so people that haven't read the book can, like, because

01:29:46   we're just getting so upset now.

01:29:48   Linda is 31 years old. Single, outspoken and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As

01:29:55   a student she was deeply concerned of issues of discrimination and social justice and also

01:30:00   participated in the anti-nuclear demonstrations. Which is more probable? 1. Linda is a bank

01:30:05   teller. 2. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement. The majority of

01:30:09   those asked choose option 2, however the probability of two events occurring together in conjunction

01:30:14   is always less than or equal to the probability of either one occurring alone.

01:30:19   So the idea is she's more likely to be a bank teller than a bank teller active in the feminist

01:30:24   movement because the probability, you have to ignore the fact that you were told, you

01:30:28   were told clearly in such a way that would suggest that she would be active in the feminist

01:30:34   movement.

01:30:35   And that is so angering to me because I honestly genuinely believe this person is more likely

01:30:44   with real, like, the way we believe about the world kind of thinking to be a bank teller

01:30:51   active in the feminist movement than just a bank teller. Because people are not math.

01:30:57   Yeah, so I mean, here's the thing, I will disagree with you on that. That's fine. Right.

01:31:03   But the the, this is why I think he's it's particularly bad at explaining this concept.

01:31:09   Now, like, I think that the Linda one is, is less bad because the fundamental thing

01:31:15   that he's trying to convey is true on a mathematical perspective.

01:31:19   Yeah, the Tom one is worse, I say.

01:31:21   Right.

01:31:22   The Tom one is worse because it's just, you guessed wrong about this person's job.

01:31:26   Like that's, that's what I mean with the Ravenclaw houses.

01:31:29   But like, also with the Tom one, the thing that's frustrating to me about it is like,

01:31:34   okay, so let me, let me translate this into the useful idea.

01:31:38   idea people is don't bet against the base rate unless you have a really good reason

01:31:46   why you think this time is different.

01:31:49   So all that means is say like, I think this is really useful idea for trying to make predictions

01:31:55   is you say, Oh, I want to I want to predict something.

01:31:59   Well, if I didn't know anything about the details of this particular situation, but

01:32:05   It's like a class of situations.

01:32:09   So you might say, what's the chance that the CEO at a big tech company will get

01:32:16   replaced within the next year, let's say, and you want to place a bet on that.

01:32:20   You can lose yourself very easily in like, Oh, here's all these things

01:32:25   that I know about Apple and this might have an effect or this might have an effect.

01:32:29   I think this is super important.

01:32:31   This thing, like you can get lost in those specifics.

01:32:34   And this is the argument against experts in some ways is you can

01:32:39   become too obsessed with the details.

01:32:41   The very starting question should be, what is the likelihood in any

01:32:47   given year that a tech CEO is replaced as CEO based on the last 10 years of data?

01:32:53   And that should be your default betting position unless you have like a really

01:33:01   good reason why you think you may know differently this time.

01:33:04   And like, maybe you do, maybe you don't.

01:33:06   And so that's what the Tom question is trying to get at.

01:33:09   But the way it should be phrased is more like,

01:33:12   if you have to guess what someone's job is,

01:33:15   and you don't have reliable information about them,

01:33:20   you should just guess whatever the most frequent job is,

01:33:23   and you will be correct most of the time.

01:33:25   But he just presents it in like this totally bizarre social way,

01:33:31   Where if you have to take it seriously, in real life, when you're really

01:33:38   interacting with people, I think people are actually pretty good at making

01:33:44   correlative judgments about other people.

01:33:47   And like, this is, this is why I say like the selection effect

01:33:50   is really undervalued in humans.

01:33:51   That if you know a couple things about someone, you probably can estimate

01:33:57   very well other things about them.

01:34:00   But he's not doing that with an artificial person.

01:34:04   Like this artificial person is just math.

01:34:08   And like, that's just not how it works if you are really interacting with someone.

01:34:14   Like if Tom was a real person, I'm pretty sure if I was talking with him, I could

01:34:20   figure out pretty quickly, is he more likely to be a librarian or a farmer based

01:34:25   on information that you get about interacting with the person rather than

01:34:29   like this stroke inducing description of his personality.

01:34:33   So that's why it's absolutely infuriating.

01:34:36   And it's a more infuriating because like, don't bet against the

01:34:39   base rate is a really good idea.

01:34:42   I feel like it's an idea that I've only really become aware of in like

01:34:47   the past five years as something that just wasn't really on my mind before.

01:34:50   If like, base rates really important.

01:34:52   You should think about it if a decision really matters.

01:34:54   And so that's why I'm like, when I get to the Tom section, I'm like,

01:34:57   "Ah, like I can't deal with it."

01:35:00   And thank God this is not where I first came across

01:35:02   this concept.

01:35:03   This mixture of social and math, I think,

01:35:07   serves neither of them.

01:35:10   There's one more thing I just have to tell you about.

01:35:13   Okay, 'cause I highlighted it,

01:35:15   'cause this was the other time.

01:35:17   I don't know if you have this experience, Myke,

01:35:18   but sometimes when you're listening to a podcast

01:35:20   or an audio book, like, you can remember exactly

01:35:22   where you were when you heard something.

01:35:24   - Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

01:35:25   I feel this and I've heard a lot of people say this to me about my shows in the past.

01:35:30   Yeah, so I was listening to this audiobook and I was at a particular spot in London and

01:35:34   again had like an aneurysm on the street when I got to this point in the audiobook and I

01:35:38   know that forever in my life I will always think of this one corner in London as bat

01:35:44   and ball corner. So do you remember the bat and ball section in the book? Did this strike

01:35:49   you at all?

01:35:50   Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

01:35:53   So I'm just going to read this little section from the book word for word.

01:35:56   He's talking about system one and system two thinking.

01:35:59   For example, here is a puzzle.

01:36:02   Do not try to solve it, but listen to your intuition.

01:36:06   A bat and ball cost $1.10.

01:36:08   The bat costs $1 more than the ball.

01:36:11   How much does the ball cost?

01:36:13   Right?

01:36:14   So I listened to that.

01:36:16   I followed his instructions.

01:36:19   And the first number that pops into my head is 10 cents as the answer, which of course

01:36:24   is the wrong answer.

01:36:26   And I actually knew it was the wrong answer because I've heard this before.

01:36:31   But following his instructions, like don't try to solve it, just listen to your intuition,

01:36:35   it's still the number that just pops right into my head of like, "Oh, it's got to be

01:36:38   10 cents."

01:36:39   That's not the way it works.

01:36:40   Like it's actually 5 cents if you write it out with some algebra and you solve it.

01:36:44   But this is one of those sections where he sort of goes on to be like, "lol, aren't

01:36:49   people dumb?"

01:36:51   And I had an aneurysm because later on he's like, he starts talking about, "Oh, how

01:36:56   were people able to solve it?"

01:36:58   Like they were obviously able to overcome their system one fast thinking and, you know,

01:37:05   really work it out.

01:37:06   It's safe to assume that the intuitive answer also came to the mind of those who ended up

01:37:10   with the correct number, but they somehow managed to resist the intuition.

01:37:16   And I'm like, okay, well, screw you, because you didn't give me the chance to actually

01:37:21   solve it.

01:37:22   You specifically told me, don't try to solve this, just say whatever pops into your head

01:37:25   for the first time.

01:37:27   And then this is also the mixing socialness with math.

01:37:30   "Furthermore, we also know that the people who gave the intuitive answer have missed

01:37:35   an obvious social cue.

01:37:37   They should have wondered why anyone would include a question to a puzzle with such an

01:37:42   obvious seeming answer.

01:37:44   And it's like, God f*cking damn it!

01:37:46   Like, I would have actually solved it if you didn't explicitly tell me, like, "Don't try

01:37:51   to solve it," and now I feel like you're gaslighting me, like I should have rethought, like, "Oh,

01:37:58   but it's such an obvious answer, like, there must be something more complicated."

01:38:01   It's just like, it's another one of these weird traps of, "Oh, you got the wrong answer!"

01:38:07   encouraged you to get the wrong answer.

01:38:09   And I tricked you, I fooled you and like,

01:38:11   ha ha ha, the correct answer is this one.

01:38:13   It's just a bunch of stuff in the book is

01:38:15   infuriating like that.

01:38:16   And it's like, yeah, the social cue stuff,

01:38:18   obviously, and it's also why anyone who ever

01:38:22   does public speaking, I highly recommend you

01:38:25   never do the thing where you ask the audience

01:38:28   a question where you're expecting them to

01:38:30   give one answer and then you're going to tell

01:38:31   them, oh, it's the other answer.

01:38:33   It just never works in an audience because a

01:38:35   audience because a real group of people, you can always feel it.

01:38:39   They hesitate because they don't know what to do.

01:38:42   They don't know if they're supposed to give the answer that they know that you

01:38:45   want to give so that you can then say the other answer, or if they should pick the

01:38:50   contradictory answer because they know from a lifetime of experience that when

01:38:54   people ask really dumb questions with obvious answers, spoiler, it's going to

01:38:58   be the surprising answer.

01:38:59   Like don't ever do this.

01:39:02   Like, so him to just mention this thing about missing out on the social queue also just really flipped me out.

01:39:08   It's like, you can't keep switching between are you trying to solve a math problem or are you aware of a social situation and using them to bounce off of each other.

01:39:17   So that's not a part of the book I did not enjoy.

01:39:19   In case, like, so it took me a while, right?

01:39:23   Like in case you're one of these people like me that struggles with it.

01:39:25   It's $1.05 is the cost of the bat.

01:39:31   the bat costs $1 more than the ball. So the ball is five cents, the bat is $1.05.

01:39:35   That's how that works. I hate this. Makes me feel stupid and I hate it.

01:39:40   Yeah, and it's also it annoys me because, again, like with the fake people,

01:39:48   I can't help but wonder all of these people who get this question wrong,

01:39:52   what is the situation under which you're asking them? Like, it says something about like,

01:39:56   oh, we asked all of these people at really smart call. Oh, yeah, Harvard, MIT and Princeton,

01:40:01   We asked all of these people, "graduates of these elite universities and they got it wrong!"

01:40:05   That's like, yeah, but what's the scenario under which you asked these people?

01:40:09   Because it matters quite a lot.

01:40:12   I think anyone who graduates from MIT, if you gave them this question

01:40:16   under a scenario in which like, "hey, really think about it,"

01:40:22   I think they could get you the answer.

01:40:23   I suspect like a lot of these wrong answers are because it's not worth anything to the

01:40:29   being asked to think about it for more than a second, right?

01:40:32   It's just part of a thing.

01:40:34   Like, I also kept having flashbacks to when I was getting my sociology

01:40:39   degree and as part of that, guess what?

01:40:41   You have to participate in these exact kind of experiments.

01:40:45   It's like, okay, I had to go into the lab sometime and answer a bunch of

01:40:48   questions on a computer, or they'd have you look at a thing and, and be like,

01:40:52   and, you know, try to react to something.

01:40:53   And this is also part of the replication crisis.

01:40:57   It's like, guess what?

01:40:58   Guess what?

01:40:58   A lot of these studies, they're not done on random people.

01:41:02   They're done on undergraduates of psychology and sociology who are trying

01:41:07   to get credits so they can graduate.

01:41:10   And so, you know, when I did those experiments, number one, anyone who

01:41:16   has participated in those things.

01:41:17   If you're doing a degree in sociology, spoiler, you already know that

01:41:23   whatever they say they're studying is not the thing that they're studying.

01:41:26   That's like step one of an experiment.

01:41:28   So you're already thinking, "I wonder what they're really trying to find out

01:41:31   in this experiment because they're asking me to solve math problems, but

01:41:34   it's not really math problems.

01:41:35   Like I know how this works."

01:41:36   You know, or I remember sitting on the computer and you had to do one of these

01:41:40   things where it's like, "Oh, we're going to show you certain kinds of pictures.

01:41:44   And then you move the mouse cursor up and then other kinds of pictures.

01:41:47   And we move the mouse cursor down or like you have to react."

01:41:49   And like, "I didn't care, whatever.

01:41:52   Like I'm there just to get a credit."

01:41:54   But it's like, if it really mattered that I performed well at this task of like classifying

01:42:01   different sorts of flowers quickly, you bet I could do it better if the incentive was

01:42:06   high.

01:42:07   So this is the other like massively conflating problem for all of this stuff.

01:42:11   And so I just, you know, again, this is this is why I'm willing to bet just a huge amount

01:42:15   of this stuff just does not check out.

01:42:18   Even dumb little things where they're like, oh, the Harvard graduates can't get this question

01:42:22   right.

01:42:23   But who are you asking? And how? I bet it just wasn't worth their time at all to think about it, which

01:42:30   you can sort of say is part of the idea of the book that people think fast and slow sometimes,

01:42:39   but is also

01:42:42   totally uninteresting as a piece of information that like if people don't care about a question, they won't think about it very much. So

01:42:51   Sorry, I got way more worked up than I thought I was gonna be over this book.

01:42:55   - I mean, I was pretty worked up about it too, so I'm pleased that you were.

01:42:58   I will say that we have spoken about this book for much longer than I thought we were going to today.

01:43:03   I really thought we were gonna have to plan more stuff, and we have a lot of stuff as is usual,

01:43:08   that we're not gonna talk about today.

01:43:10   Like many books, it has a good thing, it has a lot of bad things.

01:43:13   Unfortunately, I think that the bad things that this book has is maybe more bad than the typical.

01:43:19   Yeah, I would say that I anti-recommend this book.