Jan
24

Must Read In 2012

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If you are reading this blog, you are curious about Human nature. If you are curious about Human nature, there is a book you ABSOLUTELY have to read.  It’s the book I just finished.

Daniel Kahneman is a Professor of psychology. An extraordinary one. A psychologist who won a Nobel Prize in Economic Science.
Together with his long time collaborator Amos Tversky, they conducted research since the 1970’s that have disproved the widely accepted economic model which traditionally assumes that humans are rational and maximise utility.
Their research lead to the development of a new science called ‘Behavioural Economics’ based on the assumption that humans are irrational, and that we tend to be influenced by data that is totally irrelevant to the topic at hand.

For example, in one experiment they asked college students two questions:
“How happy are you with your life in general?” and “How many dates did you have last month?”
When asked in this order they found almost no correlation. However, simply changing the order of the questions influenced the students a great deal: those who had been on a lot of dates rated themselves as much happier than those who had not.

In another experiment in Germany, they found that experienced judges were much more likely to give shoplifters a longer sentence if they had rolled a dice loaded to give a higher number just before making that decision.

‘Thinking, Fast & Slow”‘ is a great way to start the year: after reading the book, you will feel completely comfortable being as irrational as you want, and let’s face it, nothing is more liberating than irrationality. 🙂

Another way to understand Human nature and the complex processes behind our decision making is to take one of the NLP courses that we have lined up for you this year. Visit the schedule of all courses to read more about them.

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Nov
24

The Heart of Conflict

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When we are driven by a need to be right, conflict arises. Listen to this TEDx talk by Jim Ferrell.

Categories : Communication
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Are we in control of financial markets, our landscapes, communication and ultimately of our universe? According to Kevin Slavin, as algorithms are increasingly used to break out ‘big things into small things’ and build ‘small things back into big things’ we have less and less control over our universe. In this TedGlobal talk, he shows how these complex computer programs determine: espionage tactics, stock prices, movie scripts, and architecture.

‘We are riding these things that we can no longer read’ and we lost sense of our world. You can find those algorithms everywhere, in financial markets, but everywhere else. Algorithms lock in loops with each other without human supervision. Netflix “pragmatic chaos’ for example is trying to understand what movie you want to watch in order to present it to you. ‘Epagogix’ is an algorithm that movie moguls use to determine whether a movie will be a hit or not. Cleaning robots are algorithm based. Have you ever been in a button-free lift (one of those where you have to select your floor before you enter the lift).

We are increasingly designing our world with algorithms. ‘If you are a wall street algorithm and you are 5 micro-seconds late, you are a loser’. The closer you are from the place that the internet is distributed from, the more advantage you have. So algorithms trading companies hollow out building next to the building where the internet originate to close the deal 3 micro seconds faster, and gain that competitive advantage and squeeze revenue out of that space.

We are now writing code we can’t understand, with implications we can’t control. Which leads to a question that has been at the centre of philosophers and scientists attention for a few decades now: do we have enough wisdom to handle the complexity that we have created in the world? The answer so far has been negative.

Wisdom is not taught as a skill, but can be developped in many ways. At The MasterMinds, we hope to make a contribution through the trainings and the experiences we facilitate for the public (check the schedule of courses here).

Developping the ability to think systemically is one of the requirements for the leaders of the 21st Century who will be faced with a world that is increasingly complex and uncertain. We address this specific issue during the Collective Values module of the NLP Master Practitioner Certification course, based on the work of Clare Graves (next course in November 2011).

 

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Aug
05

The Price Of Medical Fads

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A very interesting Newsweek article on how American children are being misdiagnosed as suffering from bi-polar disorder and the dire consequences highlights the relationship between language and our health.

In his article, Stuart Kaplan, a child psychiatrist with nearly 50 years experience, talks about the fad diagnosis that launched bi-polar disorder as a juvenile disease and the subsequent 40-fold increase of outpatient office visits for children and adolescents with bipolar disorder from 20,000 in 1994–95 to 800,000 in 2002–03. “Before 1995, bipolar disorder, once known as manic-depressive illness, was rarely diagnosed in children; today nearly one third of all children and adolescents discharged from child psychiatric hospitals are diagnosed with the disorder and medicated accordingly“.

What he tags as ‘trendy thinking’ started in the 1990s, is founded on shaky scientific grounds he says (notably that the symptoms for children bi-polar disorder include behaviours that are natural in children, and that several of the studies done by some leading scholars on the disease are based entirely on reports by parents). Read More→

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‎”Each of you possesses the most powerful, dangerous and subversive trait that natural selection has ever devised. It’s a piece of neuro-audio technology for rewiring other people’s minds. I’m talking about your language”…

Biologist Mark Pagel shares a theory about why humans evolved our complex system of language and transformed humanity in the process.

Did you know that the European Union spends over 1 billion Euros every year just on translating between the 23 languages of its members countries? Pagel makes the point that language has been shaped by the evolution needs and that our world requires cooperation more than ever before. Is it far fetched then to think that we are heading toward a one language world? Watch the Ted video to find out.

And click here to check the schedule of courses on language and communication.

 

Categories : Communication
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