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Pop Economics — Page 2

Why you’re lazy and can’t break bad habits

January 21, 2011
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It’s not a “motivation” problem. If you’re anything like me, self-motivation looks something like this. Day One: “I need to get my act together and make more money!” Day Two: Bought $20 book on career advancement. Very inspiring. Day Three: Lots of options out there for advancement. Take classes? Career change? Ask boss for promotion? [...]

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The law of small numbers

January 14, 2011
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Making big decisions without much information to go on Quick game: I have just invented a device that will show me a “face” or a “tree” at random every time I use it. I’m going to use it 16 times, and you’re going to guess the probability that the device will show a “face” the [...]

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The science of a good first impression

December 17, 2010
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You have one-tenth of a second to make a good impression. You’ve heard that old yarn about only having one chance to make a good impression. You might have even heard that first impressions happen fast. Maybe you didn’t know they happened this fast. Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov had test subjects look [...]

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When placing trust in someone, defaults matter

December 14, 2010
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Is your default “trust” or “no trust”? After the accounting scandals earlier this decade (think Enron and WorldCom) many economists were puzzled as to why investors didn’t pick up on problems sooner. Why weren’t the accounting firms that supposedly checked up on these guys under more scrutiny? Why were they still not under more scrutiny [...]

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The characteristics of a successful entrepreneur

December 10, 2010
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So what do the successes have in common? On Tuesday, I detailed the results of several studies on entrepreneurship, all of which started with certain hypotheses—like, “entrepreneurs are risk-takers!”—but came up empty when actually putting those to the test. After that post, you might, rightly, be wondering what entrepreneurs do have in common? They’re not [...]

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Do you have what it takes?: What makes an entrepreneur successful

December 7, 2010
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Is a will to succeed enough? I’ve never started a business. It’s something I’ve thought a lot about, and you could argue that Pop Economics is kind of a small business. Just one with no revenues. But I’ve been fascinated by all the research that’s been done into what makes entrepreneurs succeed or fail. Are [...]

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Using the “small wins” strategy to achieve big goals

December 4, 2010
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Hello Get Rich Slowly visitors! I’m flattered J.D. sent you here, and I’d be even more thrilled if you stopped by on your own! Here are a few reasons why you should:   1. This ain’t your typical personal finance blog. I don’t often tackle the basics of a Roth IRA or how to choose [...]

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The unstoppable force of feedback loops

November 30, 2010
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Working ourselves up into a frenzy. Tell me if you recognize this story: A group of developers begin building entire cities out of nowhere in Florida, putting hundreds of homes where none had existed and billing a “Florida lifestyle” of palm trees, relaxation, and tropical beaches. As they snap up land, prices rise, and people [...]

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Six investing books that never left my bookshelf

November 27, 2010
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I’m not one to do round-ups… …but over the last couple months, I’ve gotten a dozen or so e-mails asking about investing and behavioral economics and where to read more about it. One of the problems with learning about this stuff is that unless you’re still an undergrad, it might seem like you missed your [...]

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Where’s the inflation?: We remember the negative better than the positive

November 23, 2010
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Both anecdotes and statistics lie. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal and Sarah Palin had a rare face-off over a pretty trivial remark. In a blog post, a reporter wrote about a speech Palin gave against the Fed’s new quantitative easing efforts, and toward the end, pointed out that one bit of rhetoric she [...]

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