Science and marketing: Strange bedfellows

Here’s something I published today in the on-line version of Metro. Someone who read it asked me if it meant I was against all ‘Soft’ sciences. I’m not sure what is meant by that word but I am not for or against anything per se. Science simply means knowledge and there is no such thing as bad knowledge. The problem is that we often substitute belief for knowledge. Throw in marketing and knowledge gets pretty blurred.

I will believe and support anything as long as it meets two criteria. First, it has to make some logical sense based on reality. For example someone once described a hockey...

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How many fingers?

How many fingers?
(SVP, voir plus bas pour la version Française)

Every once in a while, when talking to a client, I briefly hold up two fingers. I then ask the person how many fingers I held up. He or she quickly says, “Two.” It’s a simple question and people never hesitate when answering.

But then I make the simple question much more complicated by adding a few conditions.

“I will ask you the question again. This time there are three possible scenarios. Number one, don’t answer and nothing happens. Number two, answer correctly and I hand you a million dollars. Number three, answer...

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Do I need to take a pill?

Montreal Gazette

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An article in the paper two weeks ago quoted a researcher who claimed that 98% of anti-depressants and other psychiatric medication prescriptions could be stopped with no ill effects. As much as I agree that they can sometimes be over-prescribed, I certainly don’t think his statement makes any sense. I decided to send an editorial to The Gazette in response to the claims in the article. It was published last week and I’ve included it below.

I focus on antidepressants in the article but every class of medication should be...

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The golden rule 2.0

THE GOLDEN RULE 2.0
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The golden rule is nice – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Unfortunately, just like any advice, what may be good for one person can be a pretty bad for someone else.

The rule of moral reciprocity is based on a simple principle; everyone should be treated equally. But it is also based on the idea that you will treat yourself fairly…and that isn’t always the case.

I have written before about a basic dimension of personality called agreeableness. We all have different degrees of this dimension. At one...

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Why is that cop following me?

Temple Grandin - Author, activist, diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome

WHY IS THAT COP FOLLOWING ME?

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If a police officer were walking toward you, would you run? Clearly not. Most of us would never take off no matter how scared we were. We would never want to give the police officer a reason to believe we had something to hide.

Yet this is exactly what one person with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of Autism, recently did. When finally cornered he made a threatening move and the police officer shot and wounded him seriously.

In another person’s mind

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Inspirational people

The kind of story that moves me the most is one where a person triumphs over adversity and manages to maintain a healthy positive attitude. (Chèrs lecteurs Francophone, voir plus bas pour une belle histoire inspirante, écrite en Français). There is enough horror and evil out there to make us all miserable. But we are not completely impotent in the face of it. Good and evil are forces of human nature highly influenced by context. In a war, previously good people can be made do so horrible things. In a campaign to raise money for earthquake survivors, previously stingy people can make...

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The flagpole and the flag

THE FLAGPOLE AND THE FLAG
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A flagpole stays in its place while the flag keeps changing position. Such is the way of logic and emotion. These two parts of our minds are in a constant dance for control. They can work together as allies and take us far in life, or battle each other and keep us from ever finding mental peace.

If you were to see a rattle snake while on a hike you would certainly freak out and get away from it. After you made it back safely to camp you would calm down. But regardless of whether you are calm or in the process of...

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Am I having a heart attack?

AM I HAVING A HEART ATTACK?
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Do you worry whenever you get an unexplained pain in your chest? Whenever you hear of someone your age having died, do you suddenly start feeling the same sensations in your body as the other person noticed before dying?

Health worries affect us all from time to time. Even the calmest and most rational person is not immune to this type of anxiety.

Always wrong…almost
I like to say that every time we think we have a disease that will kill us, we will be wrong…except for the last time! This implies that we can never...

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I’m dying for some chips

I’m dying for some chips!
(Published on-line: La Vie en Tranches. Journal Métro, February 23, 2015)

Man, don’t we all get the occasional hankering for some salt? A nice pile of crunchy chips will do the trick! Go to your cupboard, grab a bag, plop down in front of the TV, and munch away in a nirvana of carb, salt and fat! It doesn’t get any better than this.

But wait! You can’t find any. Where are the chips? Oh, no, don’t tell me they’re finished. AAAHHH! Oh well, that’s good. Phew! Now I won’t be tempted. I’ll just stick to my diet plan. There, I feel good. I dodged a bullet there.

Then...

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Workaholic nutcases

Workaholic nutcases
(Published on-line, La vie en tranches, Journal Métro, February 9, 2015)
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Would you like a recipe for building a strong and hyper-productive team? Here’s a strategy:

Step 1: Hire ten people for your team. Among the ten, there is a pretty good chance you will find one workaholic nutcase willing to work 80 hours per week and do whatever is asked.
Step 2: Either fire the other nine or make their lives so miserable they all quit.
Step 3: Hire nine others. Chances are pretty good you will find another workaholic nutcase.
Step 4:...

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