Nir And Far: Business, Behaviour and the Brain

Nir And Far: Business, Behaviour and the Brain

Nir And Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support

Episodes

April 19, 2021 18 min

In 2017, I decided I’d had enough of my smartphone and the companies that make the apps that were robbing me of my time and attention. I thought I found the perfect solution: the card phone.

The card phone is what it sounds like: It’s a $18 tiny phone with no social media, no internet browser, and no email. In fact, the card phone has no apps whatsoever. It has only the ability to make phone calls and send text messages. (It even h...

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By promoting the idea that technology is hijacking our brains and getting all of us addicted to our devices, techno-fearmongers elevate the exception rather than the rule.

Josh Hawley, a Republican senator from Missouri, introduced the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act, which—beyond its forced acronym—was remarkable for how aggressively it would regulate the design of certain tech products.

Among other provisions, the...

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Babies. They’re such jerks, aren’t they? They wake you up in the middle of the night. They make huge messes for you to clean up. And let’s not forget to mention the inevitable diaper blowouts that happen at all the wrong times. Who do they think they are?

Of course, this is a pretty awful way to think of infants. We were all babies at one point, and if other people hadn’t given us some grace, we wouldn’t have made it to our first b...

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There are various ways of classifying lies: by their consequences, by the importance of their subject matters, by the speakers’ motives, and by the nature or context of the utterance.

Perhaps the most useful way to classify lies is by to the people who tell them. Understanding lies and liars can help us avoid getting duped as well as protect us from drifting into dishonesty ourselves.

You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: The Ul...

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Nir’s Note: This guest post was written by Cheryl Maguire

The laundry hamper was overflowing with dirty clothes. Lacking the motivation to throw it into the wash, I pushed the clothes down deeper into the bin so I could fit more clothes. This occurs almost every other day. When you are married and the mother of three kids, the laundry is a never-ending task especially since we are all active in sports or working out that often requ...

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I once worked with a person we’ll call “Dick.” Dick always told me he’d get things back to me “today or tomorrow,” but he seldom did.

Dick didn’t have to tell me he’d get things to me that soon. He could have said, “next week” or “as soon as I can,” and I would have been fine with that. Instead, Dick had a habit of promising to deliver by a certain date, but he wouldn’t follow through.

You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: Hypoc...

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Over the past few weeks, people have asked me for my review of the Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma. It’s no surprise. One of the film’s central themes is that social media is like an addictive drug, and I wrote the book on habit-forming technologies: Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. I also have a personal connection to the film.

In August of 2018, I sat with the filmmakers for a three-hour interview. We discusse...

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Society’s fear of technology destroying our children’s future has reached a fever pitch and many parents have resorted to extreme measures.

A quick search on YouTube reveals thousands of videos of parents storming into their kids’ rooms, unplugging the computers or gaming consoles, and destroying their devices.

You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: Screen Time for Kids: Give Them What They Need https://www.nirandfar.com/screen-t...

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Imagine you bought a new phone, but at the end of each day, every day, the operating system crashed. Would you keep using the faulty phone? Of course not. You’d take it back to the store, complain, and get a new one.

And yet, many people run their entire lives on a faulty operating system. It’s called the to-do list. Have you ever met someone who runs their day using a to-do list and actually finishes everything they said they’d do...

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Hindsight bias occurs when people feel that they “knew it all along” – when they believe that an event is more predictable after it becomes known than it was before it became known2.

In other words, when we’re looking back at an event after it already happened, knowing that outcome influences our perception of the events leading up to it.

You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: Hindsight Bias: Why You Make Terrible Lie Choices htt...

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What stresses you out? How do you deal with that dreaded feeling? And did you know there’s a bullet-proof method for disarming stress?

You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: How to Turn Off Harmful Stress Like a Switch https://www.nirandfar.com/handling-stress/

Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will gre...

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Which of the following is true?

    A. Screen time is the leading cause of anxiety and depression amongst teenagers

    B. Studies have found that screen time shrinks people’s attention span to less than that of a goldfish

    C. Studies show screen time causes addiction

    D. None of the above

The correct answer: D.

You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: This is How the Media is Misleading You on “Technology Addiction” 

Nir &am...

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Society’s fear of technology destroying our children's future has reached a fever pitch and many parents have resorted to extreme measures.

A quick search on YouTube reveals thousands of videos of parents storming into their kids’ rooms, unplugging the computers or gaming consoles, and destroying their devices.

You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: Screen Time for Kids: Give Them What They Need https://www.nirandfar.com/scre...

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You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: Be a Schedule Builder, Not a To-Do List Maker https://www.nirandfar.com/todo-vs-schedule-builder/

Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and tea...

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In 1967, a catchy tune by The Beatles, “All You Need is Love,” became the anthem for the Summer of Love. The Flower Power culture embraced the song and its message, “love is all you need.” If someone had asked humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers what the song meant, he might have said, “Unconditional Positive Regard!”

Although it didn’t quite roll off the tongue the same way, Rogers introduced the concept nearly a decade before the...

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When Harvard’s Leslie Perlow began to study The Boston Consulting Group, she was well aware of the firm’s round-the-clock reputation. After conducting interviews with BCG’s staff, Perlow found that this reputation was coming at a major cost.

Employees were leaving the elite consulting firm, in part because they lacked control over their schedules. To address the issue, Perlow offered a simple proposition: If everyone who worked at ...

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What are the ethical responsibilities of companies that are able to manipulate human behavior on a massive scale? It’s a question one hopes technologists and designers ask themselves when building world-changing products — but one that hasn’t been asked often enough.

Operant conditioning, intermittent reinforcement, the search for self-actualization — the techniques used by product managers at the world’s largest companies are equa...

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As parents, we all want to raise kids who are smart and focused, especially in a world where digital distraction seems to be inescapable. (Even tech titans like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have strategies for limiting their children’s screen time.)

Why? Because in the future, there will be two kinds of people in the world: Those who let their attention and lives be controlled and coerced by others and those who proudly call themselve...

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Nir's Note: This article is part of a series on "The Hooked Model in Action." Previous analyses have included Slack, Fortnite, Amazon's EchoTinder, and The Bible App. Note, I never take compensation for writing articles on my blog.

Could there be a behavior more antithetical to human nature than exercise? Our caveman ancestors, if they could observe our workout habits today, would think we’ve lost our minds. We li...

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Email is the curse of the modern worker. Some basic math reveals just how big the problem is. The average office-dwelling professional receives a hundred messages per day. At just two minutes per email, that adds up to three hours and twenty minutes per day. If an average workday is nine to five minus an hour for lunch, then email eats up nearly half the day.

Realistically, though, that’s a very conservative estimate, since those t...

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