• Dolly Chugh is an award-winning associate professor and social psychologist at the Stern School of Business at New York University. Her research focuses on the “psychology of good people”. How and why most of us, however well-intended, are still prone to race and gender bias, as well as what she calls “bounded ethicality.”

    Dolly sits down with Kurt and Tim on this episode, to talk about the concept of “good-ish” which is a central theme to her book The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias Psychology and neuroscience have proven that our minds do things on autopilot. These shortcuts (or heuristics) are laden with unconscious biases, which are juxtaposed to our self identity as a “good” person; one that isn’t racist, sexist or homophobic. Dolly believes we should set a higher standard for ourselves by being good-ish people. By implementing a Growth Mindset, a concept pioneered by Carol Dweck, we don’t hang on too tightly to our identity. We learn to change, and to be taught and to grow.

    In our conversation with Dolly we learn about her beautiful analogy of headwinds and tailwinds that describe the invisible biases and systemic issues that many people in our world face. She explains the “Hmmm Framework” that she came up with after the January 6th Attack on the Capitol. And, of course, we discuss music and how Dolly incorporates it into her teaching and her writing.

    In our focused Grooving Session, Tim and Kurt extract the meaningful ways that we can apply Dolly’s work into our everyday lives. We summarize the key parts of our interview with her and how we can each challenge ourselves to find our good-ish groove!

    What You Will Learn from Dolly Chugh

    (2:41) Speed round questions

    (4:12) What is the difference between good and good-ish?

    (9:09) Why is a growth mindset so difficult?

    (12:28) Why we should integrate psychology more into our educational and political systems

    (15:48) How systemic racism and unconscious bias are related

    (29:12) Hmmm Framework and thought experiments

    (34:04) How do we discover our own blind spots?

    (38:58) How Dolly incorporates music into her teaching and writing

    (43:21) Applications from our interview with Dolly in our Grooving Session:

    Step back and be intentional, use “when...then…” statements.Don’t hold on so tightly to our identity and the status quo.Thought experiments to unveil our own ignorance. The Harvard Implicit Association Test (IAT).Self audit - look at our library, our magazines, our TV shows, what we talk about with friends. How are we showing up in the world? Are we being intentional with where we put our effort?

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves


    Dolly Chugh:

    Dolly Chugh, The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias

    Carol Dweck, Mindset, The New Psychology of Success

    Episode 196: Living Happier By Making the World Better with Max Bazerman

    Mahzarin Banaji

    Molly Kern

    Happy Days

    Grey’s Anatomy

    Steve Martin and Nuala Walsh, Episode 209: GAABS and Improving the Future for Every Applied Behavioral Scientist

    Katy Milkman, How to Change

    Confronting the legacy of housing discrimination

    Harvard Implicit Association Test

    Alec Lacamoire

    Lake Wobegon Effect

    Episode 214: Observing the Non-Obvious: How to Spot Trends Around You with Rohit Bhargava

    Musical Links

    Hamilton “Alexander Hamilton”

    In the Heights “Blackout”

    Something Rotten! “A Musical”

    Bruno Mars “The Lazy Song”

    38 Special “Hold On Loosely”

    Buffalo Springfield “For What It’s Worth”

  • Talk about a unique career path! From performing at Woodstock before Jimi Hendrix, with his band Sha Na Na, to now being a Forensic Linguist, testifying for infamous court cases, one theme runs throughout the life journey of our guest Rob Leonard; his love of language.

    Rob Leonard started his unique career as a band member of Sha Na Na, one of only 32 bands who played at Woodstock in August of 1969. He played at the request of Jimi Hendrix and was the last band to go on to perform before Jimi went on to play one of his most memorable performances; the unforgettable rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

    Sha Na Na shot to fame when Rob was studying for his undergraduate degree at Columbia University. Since his commitment to the band’s rehearsals and performances was so time consuming, Rob chose to study the only language that had classes available on Saturdays: East African Bantu (also known as Swahili). So after graduating, and leaving the band, he spent 7 years in East Africa carrying out socio linguistic fieldwork, and subsequently earning his PhD.

    Rob now practices as a forensic linguistics expert, analyzing the use of spoken and written language in a legal arena. He worked on the murder case of JonBenét Ramsey by analyzing the ransom note and testifying that it had not been written by the man who falsely confessed to her murder. Not only has he worked to solve cases in the US with the FBI, but he's also worked with Canada, and UK, law enforcement agencies as well. And he's worked on big corporate cases between Microsoft and Apple by carefully analyzing the way emails were written.

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves

    Quotes From Our Conversation with Rob Leonard

    (24:41) we can sort of use another metaphor, lift up the cover of the language and see what's going on underneath. And we can infer that there are certain patterns happening here that we then test for and we find

    (26:09) “Most of the information that is transmitted in a conversation does not come from the words that a speaker says, they come from the mind of the listener.”

    Topics we Discuss with Rob Leonard

    (4:48) Speed Round

    (6:08) Can you determine someone’s innocence from the way they speak?

    (8:40) What is forensic linguistics?

    (11:57) Non-random distribution of language

    (13:21) Rob’s journey into learning East African Bantu

    (19:18) How Rob found the career path into linguistics

    (25:55) Theory of Mind

    (34:12) Rob’s stories from playing at Woodstock

    (47:40) Grooving Session about Rob


    Robert Leonard

    “Sha Na Na and the Woodstock Generation,” by George Leonard '67 and Robert Leonard '70

    JonBenét Ramsey

    Tammy A. Gales PhD

    Andy Warhol

    Episode 220: How Do You Become Influential? Jon Levy Reveals His Surprising Secrets

    Musical Links

    Sha Na Na “Teen Angel”

    Jimi Hendrix “The Star Spangled Banner”

    Janis Joplin “Ball & Chain”

    Sha Na Na “Tears on my Pillow”

    The Mamas and The Papas “California Dreamin’”

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  • This episode is a Behavioral Grooves first: we bring you our first ever joint podcast! Mid-way through the episode the tables turn and our guest interviews us! Our guest is the amazing Kelly Leonard, host of the great podcast called “Getting to Yes, And…” presented by Second City Works and WGN in Chicago. This unique conversation with Kelly, Kurt and Tim gives us a glimpse of the people behind the podcasts. It is a light-hearted, raw conversation scattered with some really personal, touching stories about challenges each of them have faced in their lives.

    For over 30 years, Kelly has worked at Second City Improv - in all capacities moving up to Executive Vice President. He’s worked with some of the most unforgettable and influential comedians on the planet, such as Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Keegan Michael Key, Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler! His book, "Yes, And," received rave reviews in Vanity Fair and the Washington Post.

    But what we really wanted to talk to Kelly about was his work as executive director of insights and applied improvisation at Second City. He now co-leads a new partnership with Booth School at the University of Chicago that studies behavioral science through the lens of improvisation. Their mission is to use humor and empathy, interactivity and dialogue, to elevate conversations and inspire people to perform better.

    Kelly talks to us about what improv actually is. He believes it’s fundamentally different from comedy and says many people tell him that improv training changed their life. He likens improv to “yoga for your social skills”!

    We discuss Kelly’s concept of “Yes, And”. So often as humans, our default setting when asked to be involved with something, is to do nothing or say no. But our regrets are almost always about the things that we didn't do. He describes saying “yes, and'' as a little nudge. And he has some innovative ways of sharing this idea through improv exercises

    Kelly has discovered that real value is added to the “Yes, And” approach by adding a final step called “Thank You, Because”. Those are the words that help bridge a gap between us and someone else we fundamentally disagree with. By thanking someone for sharing information, their “fear brain” isn’t triggered, and they feel gratitude. The “Because” part forces us to find something in what they’ve said that is true for both of us. We then have some space to stay in the conversation together.

    Our conversation with Kelly then flips! And for the first time ever on Behavioral Grooves, the interviewers become the interviewees! We delve into the behavioral science work that Tim and Kurt are passionate about; negativity bias and how to overcome it, talking to our emotions and naming our fears, the 4-Drive model of Motivation, as well as how to improve really dull work meetings!

    Kurt and Tim tell us the “yes, and” story of how the Behavioral Grooves podcast actually started! And Kelly shares how an office fire was the spark that ignited his podcast journey. In this unique episode you will learn what makes these 3 great podcast hosts really tick and what techniques and exercises they use to stay positive, grateful and what they’ve learnt by saying “yes, and”.

    Topics We Discuss in This Episode

    (3:36) Welcome to Kelly and speed round questions

    (5:00) What is improv?

    (10:32) The concept of “Yes, And”

    (17:15) Obstacles as gifts

    (20:08) Growth mindset vs. fixed mindset

    (21:46) “Wish” - a resilience exercise

    (23:36) Kelly talks music

    (26:56) Switch! Kelly welcomes Tim and Kurt

    (27:09) Negativity Bias

    (29:06) Talk to the emotions

    (31:23) How writing connects with your emotions

    (36:44) How Kurt started his business

    (37:03) The 4-Drive Model of Motivation

    (39:25) How Behavioral Grooves and Getting To Yes, And podcasts started

    (42:18) Meetings suck! How can we improve them?

    (44:29) Emotional safety at work

    (52:30) Who do Kurt and Tim REALLY want as a guest on their podcast?

    (59:42) Kurt and Tim’s Yes, And stories

    (1:04:18) Grooving session


    Kelly Leonard:

    Second City:

    “Getting to Yes, And” Podcast:

    Art In An Instant: The secrets of improvisation

    The Big Short Movie

    Richard Thaler

    The Second Science Project

    Nicholas Epley “Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want”

    Tim Harford “Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives”

    Kurt Nelson PhD, Communicating To Your Team During A Pandemic

    Devon Price PhD “Laziness Does Not Exist”

    “Getting To Yes, And...podcast with Devon Price PhD”

    Tim Houlihan “The Benefits Of Pre-industrial Revolution Life”

    David Byrne “American Utopia”

    The 4-Drive Model. “Employee Motivation: A Powerful New Model”

    Jane Dutton University of Michigan “Compassion at Work”

    Liz Fosslien “No Hard Feelings: Emotions at Work and How They Help Us Succeed”

    Episode 120: Covid-19 Crisis “Emotional Impact Of Wfh With Liz Fosslien”

    Kimberlé Crenshaw “Intersectionality”

    Amy Edmondson “Psychological Safety”

    Adam Alter “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked”

    Episode 204 “How Shellye Archambeau Flies Like an Eagle”

    Joann Lublin “Work-Life-Sway”

    Alan Alda

    Daniel Kahneman

    Barry Schwartz

    David Byrne

    Robert MacFarlane “The Lost Words”

    Tina Seelig at Stanford University

    Episode 67 “George Loewenstein: On a Functional Theory of Boredom”

    John Sweeney

    Katy Milkman “How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be”

    Episode 220 “How Do You Become Influential? Jon Levy Reveals His Surprising Secrets”

    Musical Links

    Django Reinhardt “Three-Fingered Lightning”

    Keith Jarrett “If I Were A Bell”

    Taylor Swift “Cardigan” from Folklore album

    Taylor Swift “Willow” from Evermore album

    Lake Street Dive “Obviously”

    Switched on Pop Podcast

    Neil Young “Harvest Moon”

    David Bowie “Lazarus”

  • On this episode of Behavioral Grooves we chat with the founder of the engaging new app PIQUE. Bec Weeks is a behavioral scientist turned accidental entrepreneur! By joining forces with some of the brightest minds in behavioral science, including partners Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafir and Mike Norton, they have developed an amazing app that accompanies your favorite books.

    Pique takes users' interests in books to a new level with their slogan: Don't just read the book. DO the book. By using insights from psychology research, the app creates three-minute adventures that change how you see yourself and others. Pique helps you DO things. They know that just reading books doesn’t lead to change. Doing leads to change. That’s where the app can help.

    Pique has created curious, engaging content from some of the bestselling books from the last year:

    Katy Milkman's new book “How to Change” Klotz “Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less” Annie Duke “How to Decide: Simple Tools for Making Better Choices” And many more.

    You can check out the new app Pique here: But first, listen in to Bec's chat with us.

    What You Will Learn About In This Episode

    (2:38) Welcome and speed round

    (5:06) What is Pique?

    (12:50) Why humor is an important part of the app

    (17:03) Why is the app called Pique?

    (21:13) How Bec has used analytics and algorithmic techniques

    (23:05) Bec’s journey to becoming an entrepreneur

    (26:49) The surprises of being an entrepreneur

    (32:43) How Bec first became interested in behavioral science

    (34:37) What music would Bec take to a desert island?

    (41:11) Grooving Session

    I you are a regular listener to Behavioral Grooves, we would really appreciate your support by writing us a podcast review or becoming a Behavioral Grooves Patreon Member at Thank you!

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves


    Bec Weeks:


    Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much”

    Ashley Whillans “Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life”

    Wendy Wood “Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick”

    Dolly Chugh “The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias”

    Katy Milkman “How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be”

    Annie Duke “How to Decide: Simple Tools for Making Better Choices”

    Lidy Klotz “Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less”

    Mike Norton and Elizabeth Dunn “Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending”

    Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas “Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life (And how anyone can harness it. Even you.)”

    Daniel Kahneman “Thinking Fast and Slow”

    Episode 205: The Myth of the “Relationship Spark” with Logan Ury (featuring a guest appearance by Christina Gravert, PhD)

    Episode 220: How Do You Become Influential? Jon Levy Reveals His Surprising Secrets

    Episode 38: Linnea Gandhi: Crushing On Statistics

    Episode 224: Why Is Noise Worse Than Bias? Olivier Sibony Explains

    Deese–Roediger–McDermott paradigm (DRM):

    Musical Links

    Hamilton “Alexander Hamilton”

    Radiohead “No Surprises”

    Taylor Swift “Love Story”

    Dua Lipa “We’re Good”

    Wicked “Defying Gravity”

    Frozen “The Next Fight Thing”

    Moana “You’re Welcome”

    Billie Eilish “Your Power”

    Tame Impala “Let It Happen”

    Powderfinger “These Days”

    Spiderbait “Black Betty”

    The Cat Empire “Brighter Than Gold”

  • The GodFather of Influence, Robert Cialdini joins us again on Behavioral Grooves to share his motivation for expanding his bestselling book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion ( which now includes a completely new Seventh Principle of Influence: Unity. This additional principle can help explain our political loyalties, vaccine hesitancy and why media headlines can be so inflammatory.

    Another motivation for the revised edition to the book is to include more application to the Principles of Influence. So our conversation highlights some of Bob’s advice for start-up businesses and how they can harness the principle of Social Proof. And as general advice, Bob recounts how he recently advised a teenager to be generous to others - this in turn stimulates the Rule of Reciprocity, nurturing a relationship which is mutually beneficial.

    No episode of Behavioral Grooves would be complete without discussing music, even with guests we’ve interviewed before! But the theme of unity has a special significance with music and Bob highlights how music and dance bring people together and help them feel unified. Plus we get an interesting story of an experiment in France, and how a guitar case played a crucial part in one man’s luck.

    We hope you enjoy our discussion with The Godfather of Influence, Robert Cialdini. Since we generously share our great content with you, perhaps you feel influenced by the Rule of Reciprocity and will become a Behavioral Grooves Patreon Member at!

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves

    Topics we Discuss on Unity with Robert Cialdini

    (3:55) Speed round

    (6:50) Ideal number of stars on your online review

    (9:00) Why Cialdini wrote a new edition of Influence

    (12:13) The new Seventh Principle: Unity

    (15:10) How to harness social proof as a start-up

    (20:02) A new color of lies

    (22:22) Principle of Unity with politics

    (24:42) Tribalism and vaccine hesitancy

    (28:35) Why Trump getting vaccinated hasn’t influenced his voters

    (30:50) How framing of media headlines influences our perception of the news

    (33:24) The Petrified Forest Wood Principle

    (36:56) Where will the next generation of research go with Cialdini’s work?

    (40:52) What advice would Cialdini give your teenager?

    (48:23) Music and influence

    (53:05) Grooving session

    Robert Cialdini's Books

    Influence, New and Expanded: The Psychology of Persuasion

    Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade


    Episode 50: Robert Cialdini, PhD: Littering, Egoism and Aretha Franklin

    Increase Your Influence

    Godfather 2 Movie

    Richard Thaler

    Daniel Kahneman

    Episode 222: How Delusions Can Actually Be Useful: Shankar Vedantam Reveals How

    Donald Trump vaccine

    Mike Pence

    Petrified Forest Wood Principle

    Stanley Schachter

    Jerome Singer

    Episode 220: How Do You Become Influential? Jon Levy Reveals His Surprising Secrets

    The psychology of misinformation: Why it’s so hard to correct:

    How to combat fake news and misinformation:

    Teaching skills to combat fake news and misinformation:

    Episode 102: Cristina Bicchieri: Social Norms are Bundles of Expectations

    Episode 214: Observing the Non-Obvious: How to Spot Trends Around You with Rohit Bhargava

    Behavioral Grooves Patreon

  • Linnea Gandhi is one of our favorite people to talk with and we had the pleasure of welcoming Linnea back to Behavioral Grooves recently. We last spoke to her in 2018 when she confessed to having a crush on statistics (a crush she clearly still harbors!) Since that time though, she has made a significant contribution to the infamous new book Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass Sunstein ( Linnea served as the chief of staff; project managing, researching and editing the groundbreaking work on the book. When we interviewed Olivier Sibony about Linnea’s contribution, he was glowing with compliments about her:

    “it took someone as miraculously organized, helpful and smart, always positive and in a consistently cheerful, good mood. And I can't imagine anyone else on the planet who could have pulled this off, but Linnea did. So she's amazing.”

    Linnea is a researcher, teacher, and practitioner of behavioral science in business settings. And she’s obsessed with error. Studying it, fixing it, and even embracing it – to enable better decisions by individuals and organizations.

    Linnea is passionate about bridging the gap between behavioral science in academia and its application in the real world. She teaches decision science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, studies it as part of her PhD at the Wharton School of Business, and consults on it through her company, BehavioralSight ( This foothold in both worlds, has given Linnea the expertise for her current project which sees her teaching the topic of noise in an “edu-tainment” online video course.

    The tremendous new course (we got a sneak’s fantastic) is called Beyond Bias: How Noise May Be Drowning Out Your Decision Making Accuracy which is due to be published in June 2021. The course is purposefully designed for busy professionals who want to understand noise and how to mitigate it in organizations. Linnea and her team have meticulously planned the course videos so that they are short yet informative and entertaining. She is well aware that they are competing with Netflix for people’s attention!

    Our conversation weaves in some endearing anecdotes about her personal experience of working with Kahneman, Sunstein and Sibony on the book. As well as some of the hurdles of working (and recording) from home that many of us can identify with from the last year. But Linnea’s passion for her work on noise and her enthusiasm for statistics is contagious. So much so that it has almost convinced Kurt to start reading about statistics in his spare time (almost!)

    We hope you enjoy listening to Linnea’s work in behavioral science. At Behavioral Grooves, we are passionate about bringing you cutting edge interviews with the world’s best behavioral science practitioners, researchers and authors. If you would like to help support our work, please consider becoming a Behavioral Grooves Patreon at, we really appreciate the support.

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves

    Topics We Discuss With Linnea

    (3:07) Speed Round

    (6:39) About Linnea’s new course on NOISE

    (16:45) Why humans don’t see easily see randomness

    (19:58) Working behind the scenes on NOISE

    (22:48) How did the authors first collaborate on NOISE

    (26:53) What finally convinced Linnea to get a PhD

    (36:12) Decision Hygiene and Linnea’s favorite technique

    (41:20) Music

    (43:20) Grooving Session


    “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment” by Kahneman, Sibony and Sunstein, 2021

    Statistics As Principled Argument

    Linnea’s Video Course on Noise (coming in June 2021) “Beyond Bias: How Noise May Be Drowning Out Your Decision Making Accuracy”

    Episode 224: Why Is Noise Worse Than Bias? Olivier Sibony Explains

    Episode 38: Linnea Gandhi: Crushing On Statistics

    Daniel Kahneman

    Cass Sunstein

    Olivier Sibony

    Noise: How to Overcome the High, Hidden Cost of Inconsistent Decision Making

    Episode 176: Annie Duke on How to Decide

    Tania Lombrozo (Explanations)

    Mona Lisa

    A Structured Approach to Strategic Decisions

    Duncan Watts

    Angela Duckworth

    Episode 99: Katy Milkman: Behavior Change for Good

    Barbara Mellers

    Maurice Schweitzer

    Richard E. Nisbett “Thinking: A Memoir”


    Musical Links

    Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “Thrift Shop”

    White Noise

  • NOISE is set to be the next behavioral science bestseller. Daniel Kahneman, Cass Sunstein and Olivier Sibony describe noise as the unwanted variabilities in our judgments. In our exclusive interview with co-author Olivier Sibony ( we delve into the fundamentals of noise. What different types of noise are there? Where do we find noise? Why does bias get more attention than noise? And finally, Olivier’s favorite topic; how we can mitigate noise by using decision hygiene and actively open minded thinking.

    Olivier Sibony is a professor, writer and advisor specializing in the quality of strategic thinking and the design of decision processes. Olivier teaches Strategy, Decision Making and Problem Solving at HEC Paris. He is also an Associate Fellow of Saïd Business School in Oxford University. Olivier’s research centers on improving the quality of decision making by reducing the impact of behavioral biases. He is the author of numerous articles in academic and popular publications, including Before You Make That Big Decision, co-authored with Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman.

    Our interview with Olivier is, as I’m sure you will agree. absolutely mesmerizing. Learning about the extent of noise in our lives from Olivier and from the new book, is truly enlightening. As their cleverly crafted catchphrase says "wherever there is judgment, there is noise, and more of it than you think."

    Thankfully, the brilliant team of authors have included lots of ways to combat the noise around us. And we know that our discussion with Olivier is just the first of many that we will have around this groundbreaking topic.

    Behavioral Grooves strives to bring you insight and research from world-leading experts in behavioral science, like Olivier. And we do this without the use of paid advertising. If you would like to support our continued ad-free work, please consider becoming a Behavioral Grooves patreon by visiting thank you.

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves

    Topics We Discuss

    (4:38) Welcome to Olivier Sibony and speed round questions(7:51) The difference between bias and noise(11:32) Why has bias received more attention than noise?(14:15) Where noise can be found?(22:32) What is Decision Hygiene?(26:35) How to implement mitigation techniques against noise?(29:32) Actively Open Minded Thinking and what it means for leadership and education(38:45) What are the different types of noise?(44:18) The role of moral philosophical foundations and noise(49:28) Music (54:06) Grooving Session and Bonus Track

    Olivier Sibony’s Books

    Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment by Kahneman, Sibony and Sunstein, 2021

    You're About to Make a Terrible Mistake: How Biases Distort Decision-Making and What You Can Do to Fight Them


    Olivier Sibony

    Languedoc wine

    Rhones Valley wine

    Dr Itiel Dror

    Apgar Checklist

    John Maynard Keynes

    Max Bazerman “Better, Not Perfect: A Realist's Guide to Maximum Sustainable Goodness”

    Bentham's Utilitarianism

    Kant's Deontological Approach

    Noise: How to Overcome the High, Hidden Cost of Inconsistent Decision Making

    Behavioral Grooves Patreon

    Musical Links

    Yo-Yo Ma cellist “Bach Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major”

    Billy Evans “My Foolish Heart”

    Keith Garrett “I Grew Up Today”

    Oscar Peterson “C Jam Blues”

    More Great Episodes Of Behavioral Grooves

    Episode 220: How Do You Become Influential? Jon Levy Reveals His Surprising Secrets

    Episode 211: A Thousand Thanks: A Lifetime of Experiments and Gratitude with AJ Jacobs

    Episode 204: How Shellye Archambeau Flies Like an Eagle

    Episode 176: Annie Duke on How to Decide

    Episode 147: Gary Latham, PhD: Goal Setting, Prompts, Priming, and Skepticism

    Episode 38: Linnea Gandhi: Crushing On Statistics

  • Allison Zelkowitz seized the opportunity to use behavioral science at Save The Children to make a big impact on global projects. By building a world-first “nudge unit” within the organization, her story is an inspiring example of how application of behavioral science principles can make a real difference in the world.

    Allison Zelkowitz is the Founder and ‎Director of the Center for Utilizing Behavioral Insights for Children (CUBIC), part of the international nonprofit organization Save the Children. CUBIC is the first behavioural insights initiative or "nudge unit" in the world to focus on the most marginalised children’s rights and welfare. At CUBIC, they focus on nudging the behaviours and actions of decision-makers, educators, families and communities, so more children get the best possible start in life.

    Ultimately, Allison is well aware that changing behavior isn’t about telling people what to do, it’s about facilitating ways for them to change: understanding the barriers and effectively removing them. The projects of CUBIC are not just inspiring, they are also life-saving. Projects such as

    Nudging children in Thailand to wear bicycle helmets, Encouraging breastfeeding in Laos, and Increasing playful teaching methods to enhance children’s learning in Bangladesh.

    In our chat with Allison, she reveals the vast personal dedication that it took to enable CUBIC to be formed. We love that Allison first carved her interest in behavioral science by listening to podcasts in her spare time (Allison has since become a Behavioral Grooves Patreon - thank you for your support!) But within the space of 14 months, her idea had grown into an international collaboration with other leading behavioral scientists, a huge fundraising effort, and eventually to the global launch of CUBIC in April 2020.

    In this episode you will learn:(11:05) What inspired Allison to start CUBIC at Save The Children International.(15:03) Why just giving people good information doesn't change their behavior.(19:45) An overview of setting up a Nudge unit.(23:55) The steps Allison took to build CUBIC in 14 months.(30:18) About the current project in the Philippines texting parents to encourage them to positively engage with their children.(41:54) Upcoming project on increasing vaccination uptake in the global south.(43:59) Music Allison enjoys.(48:58) Grooving Session and Bonus Track.

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves


    CUBIC - Save The Children International:

    Save The Children:

    CUBIC: Save The Children initiative:

    Eliud Kipchoge:

    United States Parachute Association:

    Allison's Blog on Skydiving with Behavioral Science:

    Behavioral Grooves Patreon:

    Fadi Makki, Founder of Nudge Lebannon:

    The Busara Center for Behavioral Economics:

    Faisal Naru, OECD:

    Josh Martin, Ideas 42:

    The Behavioral Insights Team:

    Dr Susanna Loeb, The Annenberg Institute, Brown University:

    The Lantern Group:

    Behavioral Alchemy:

    Musical Links

    Hamilton Soundtrack:

    Journey “Don’t Stop Believing”:

    Video for Allison’s wedding:

    Other Episodes You Will Enjoy

    Episode 202: How Chaning Jang Works Around Not Being WEIRD

    Episode 209: GAABS and Improving the Future for Every Applied Behavioral Scientist

    Episode 190: Cornelia Walther on POZE: Pause, Observe, Zoom in, and Experience

    Episode 168: The Stages of Grief, Pandemics and the Psychology of Protests with Nicole Fisher

    Episode 165: Shlomi Ron: Visual Storying Telling In a Time of Crisis

    Episode 146: Covid-19 Crisis: Mariel Beasley on Increasing Short Term Savings During the Crisis

    Episode 139: Iris Tzafrir: A Kind Word

    Episode 73: Terry Esau: Carbon Fiber Therapist

    Episode 19: The Teaspoon Hustle – Part 1 with Rob Burnet

    Episode 20: The Teaspoon Hustle – Part 2 with Rob Burnet

    Episode 221: Donating Our Money Is Irrational, So Why Do We Do It? Tim Kachuriak Explains Our Motivations

    Episode 1: Behavioral Grooves 1: James Heyman, Phd

    Episode 222: How Delusions Can Actually Be Useful: Shankar Vedantam Reveals How

  • In this episode, we are delighted to welcome Shankar Vedantam, host of the wildly popular podcast, Hidden Brain and esteemed author of the new book Useful Delusions (

    Before reading Shankar’s book and interviewing him for this podcast we were, as Shankar describes himself, card-carrying rationalists. We were firmly in the camp of believing rational, scientific findings and believing that lies and deception are harmful to ourselves and to our communities. However, Shankar walks us through a compelling argument, that paradoxically, self-deception actually plays a pivotal role in our happiness and well-being.

    In our discussion with Shankar we cover:

    (6:38) Speed round questions.(11:04) The difference between self delusions being useful and being harmful.(16:23) How nations are a delusional construct.(23:00) Awareness of self-delusions and how daily gratitudes can shift our perspective of the world. (25:56) Shankar’s personal story of delusional thinking. (29:58) The role emotions play in our mood and delusions.(35:23) How avoidance of delusional thinking is a sign of privilege.(37:30) Why our perceptions play an important role in understanding delusions.(44:36) Shankar’s unique approach to conspiracy theories.(52:28) What music Shankar has been listening to during COVID.(52:15) Grooving Session and Bonus Track with Kurt and Tim.

    We really hope you find Shankar’s unique insight on how delusions are useful as compelling as we did. If you’re a regular Behavioral Grooves listener, please consider supporting us through Patreon ( Thank you!

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves

    Books Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars and Save Our Lives Links

    Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment by Kahneman, Sibony and Sunstein, 2021

    Richard Dawkins


    Lake Wobegon Effect

    Other Episodes We Talk About

    The Myth of the “Relationship Spark” with Logan Ury (featuring a guest appearance by Christina Gravert, PhD):

    Robert Cialdini, PhD: Littering, Egoism and Aretha Franklin:

    Self Control, Belonging, and Why Your Most Dedicated Employees Are the Ones To Watch Out For with Roy Baumeister:

    George Loewenstein: On a Functional Theory of Boredom:

    Gary Latham, PhD: Goal Setting, Prompts, Priming, and Skepticism:

    John Bargh: Dante, Coffee and the Unconscious Mind:

    Linda Thunstrom: Are Thoughts and Prayers Empty Gestures to Suffering Disaster Victims?

  • Tim Kachuriak is the founder and Chief Innovation and Optimization Officer for NextAfter (, a fundraising research lab and consulting firm that works with businesses, nonprofits, and NGOs to help them grow their resource capacity.

    By his own admission, Tim is not a behavioral scientist, but what we love about Tim’s work is that he is using knowledge and research from the world of behavioral science and applying it to improve the efficiency of gift giving for nonprofit organizations. And not only does he use behavioral science techniques, he tests the theories in the nonprofit sector and generously publishes the findings on the NextAfter website (

    In our conversation with Tim, he underscores the need for thinking about value proposition, a term widely used in the digital marketing world, but rarely thought of in terms of nonprofit organizations. He argues that potential donors are constantly weighing up the perceived value vs. the perceived cost of donating their money.

    Tim also brings up the idea of reducing friction for donors: how can the giving experience be improved to make donating money a more seamless transaction. And we couldn’t help but see the parallels with the infamous new behavioral science book NOISE coming out later this month (Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment ( by Kahneman, Sibony and Sunstein, 2021).

    There are many reasons why we donate to nonprofits; emotional reward, belonging, anger, guilt (or as Tim positively reframes it - gratitude!). Understanding these motivations is a huge part of Tim’s work and why, as behavioral scientists, we are fascinated to understand the research he has conducted around donations.


    Hey groovers, just wanted to let you know that somehow, at 29:28 mins of the podcast we ended up cutting Tim’s response to the Susan G Komen question and can’t find it on the cutting room floor…sorry about that.

    What he answered was that it is important to look at the scale that these organizations work at and that sometimes spending 50% on marketing to raise a $100 million is more effective and can drive a larger change than only spending 10% on marketing, but only raising $10 million. We then went in and asked about how the pandemic has impacted giving.*

    We hope you enjoy our discussion with Tim Kachuriak and if you are a regular Behavioral Grooves listener, perhaps you feel motivated to donate to our work by becoming a Behavioral Grooves Patreon Member (

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves


    (0:06) Introduction to our guest, Tim Kachuriak

    (3:50) Speed Round Questions

    (5:57) Why do People Give?

    (9:41) The Principle of Reciprocity

    (12:10) Effective Messaging and Value Proposition

    (22:25) Reducing Friction

    (34:48) Music

    (40:27) Grooving Session

    (58:44) Bonus Track


    NextAfter (

    NextAfter Research To Grow Generosity (

    Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy (

    Roger Dooley: Friction and Engagement (

    Susan G. Komen (

    Dan Pallotta, TED - The Way We Think About Charity Is Dead Wrong (

    John Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Centre (

    Rotary Club (

    Salvation Army (

    Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment ( by Kahneman, Sibony and Sunstein, 2021

    Phish, Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City on 10.30.2010 (

    Behavioral Grooves Patreon (

    Musical Links

    Billy Joel “Scenes from An Italian Restaurant” (

    Phish “Whole lotta love” (

    Other Episodes We Talk About

    Robert Cialdini, PhD: Littering, Egoism and Aretha Franklin (

    Linda Thunstrom: Are Thoughts and Prayers Empty Gestures to Suffering Disaster Victims? (

  • Our guest, Jon Levy, is arguably one of the most influential behavioral scientists in the world. Over 10 years ago, Jon founded The Influencers Dinner, a secret dining experience for industry leaders ranging from Olympians, Nobel laureates, executives, to musicians. Over the course of the last decade, these dinners have developed into a wide community of influential people.

    Our opening speed round with Jon did not disappoint. We learn his unique perspective on which Star Trek Captains was the best, and the surprising answer to who his dream guest was at one of his dinners.

    In our discussion with Jon, he shares the secrets behind his influential approach: what motivated him to start this novel idea, how he developed it and the key steps behind the ongoing success of the community that he has curated.

    Jon’s second book, “You’re Invited: The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence” is released on May 11, 2021. Which follows his hugely successful first book: “The 2 AM Principle: Discover the Science of Adventure” We had the privilege of previewing his latest book for this interview and we were blown away by Jon’s unique approach to cultivating human connections through trust and community.

    Of course, we discuss what music Jon has been listening to at home and we are surprised to learn what has recently sparked his musical interest. Jon has found that through his Influence Dinners, he has hosted a lot of his childhood pop idols, which he still enjoys listening to.

    Thanks for listening and thank you for taking a minute to join the others who have already left us a review.

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves

    Jon Levy's Books

    You're Invited: The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence

    The 2 AM Principle: Discover the Science of Adventure


    Jon Levy

    Peter Cullen (voice of Optimus Prime)

    James T. Kirk

    Jean-Luc Picard

    Neil deGrasse Tyson



    Sir Richard Branson

    Stephen Hawking


    Mark Zuckerberg

    Nicholas Christakis

    James H. Fowler

    The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years

    Christakis and Fowler (2007)

    Nike Run Club

    Bill Nye the Science Guy


    The Daily Show

    The New York Times: Want to Meet Influential New Yorkers? Invite Them to Dinner

    SNVTA - Ventral tegmental area of the brain


    Bill Gates

    Angela Merkel


    My Octopus Teacher

    United States Navy SEAL selection and training

    The IKEA Effect,of%20furniture%20that%20require%20assembly

    Common Biases & Heuristics

    Brené Brown

    Adam Grant

    Behavioral Grooves Patreon

    Musical Links

    Bridgerton Soundtrack

    Vitamin String Quartet “Thank u, next” (Ariana Grande)

    John Williams “The Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back”

    Tribe Called Quest “Electric Relaxation“

    Biggie Smalls (The Notorious B.I.G.) “Big Poppa”

    Maroon Five “Sugar”

    98 Degrees “I Do (Cherish You)”

    Cowboy Junkies “Sweet Jane”

    The Tragically Hip “Ahead by a Century”


    (4:46) Speed Round Questions

    (9:03) Power vs Influence

    (13:00) Why do we want influence?

    (20:21) Jon discusses his new book

    (25:41) Jon became influential

    (32:11) How to create a community

    (37:03) How trust is made and how to trigger it

    (41:00) Music

    (1:13:11) Bonus Track and Groove Idea

    Other Episodes You’ll Enjoy

    Dessa: The Attention Shepherd On The Curious Act Of Being Deeply Human (Episode 208)

    Mapping the Influence of Corporate Cultures – Silke Brittain (Episode 12)

    Robert Cialdini, PhD: Littering, Egoism and Aretha Franklin (Episode 50)

  • In this episode we are thrilled to be discussing our two favorite topics: human behavior and music. We learn that music, more than any other activity, can help lift our mood, during COVID. Our guests Pablo Ripollés PhD and Ernest Mas Herrero have spent years studying how the brain responds to rewards, learning and memory. Early in the pandemic, they decided to conduct research on a long list of activities that people were doing at home to manage their stress and increase the pleasure in their lives. While a number of the activities were found to help with mental health, the research overwhelmingly showed that engaging with music was the best way to lift your mood.

    We have a really engaging conversation with Pablo and Ernest about their research findings on wellbeing and music. They believe that because listening to music is a passive activity and is so accessible, or “fun and free” as they call it, everyone can experience pleasure from it. And it’s not just listening to music; dancing, singing or playing music are all beneficial. We also learn that the best type of music to engage with is whatever music you really enjoy: “It will be beneficial as long as it is pleasurable.”

    The questionnaire Pablo and Ernest discuss in the podcast is the Barcelona Music Reward Questionnaire It will take you only a few minutes to find out about your individual sensitivity to musical reward. And you can also read Pablo and Ernest’s full research article: “Rock ’n’ Roll but not Sex or Drugs: Music is negatively correlated to depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic via reward-related mechanisms”

    Listen in to find out more from Pablo and Ernest about how music can benefit your mental wellbeing. And If you’d like to support the work we do at Behavioral Grooves bringing you interesting research insights, please consider becoming a Patreon member at

    © 2021 Behavioral GroovesTopics

    (0:06) Introduction

    (5:20) Speed Round Questions

    (8:44) Research Insights with Pablo and Ernest

    (36:50) Grooving Session

    (50:26) Bonus Track

    Musical Links

    Dropkick Murphys


    Catalan music


    Depeche Mode

    Aretha Franklin “Think”


    “Rock ’n’ Roll but not Sex or Drugs: Music is negatively correlated to depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic via reward-related mechanisms” Herrero et al (2020):

    “Neural correlates of specific musical anhedonia” Martínez-Molina et al (2016):

    Pablo Ripollés:

    Ernest Mas Herrero:

    Jamón ibérico

    Lionel Messi

    Michael Jordan

    Roger Federer

    “Goal Gradient Theory” Kivetz et al (2006):

    Robert Zatorre, PhD

    Neomi Singer, PhD

    Laura Ferreri, University of Lyon

    Michael McPhee, NYU

    Hedonia and anhedonia

    Barcelona Music Reward Questionnaire


    The Ikea Effect,of%20furniture%20that%20require%20assembly

    The Singing Revolution

    Music of the Civil Rights Movement

    Baroque Music

    Agatha Christie

    Other Podcast Episodes

    Dessa: The Attention Shepherd on the Curious Act of Being Deeply Human”

    The Counterintuitive Persuasion of The Catalyst with Jonah Berger

    Chris Matyszczyk: Listening to Music While You Work

    Covid-19 Crisis: Emotional Impact of WFH with Liz Fosslien

    Jonah Berger episode: “The Counterintuitive Persuasion of The Catalyst with Jonah Berger”

  • Our guest this week, Sandra Matz PhD exposes the truth behind our online presence. In our conversation, Sandra reveals that with simple analytics, the digital footprints we leave behind online (our Facebook Likes, our credit card transactions, our Google Map searches) add up to paint a very revealing picture of our personality and state of mind.

    Sandra Matz PhD is an associate professor at Columbia Business School. She takes a Big Data approach to studying human behaviour. Her methodologies use psychology, computer science and data collection to explore the relationships between people’s psychological characteristics and their digital footprints.

    Sandra’s work has been published in top-tier journals such as Psychological Science and the American Psychologist, and has attracted worldwide media attention from outlets like the Independent, the BBC, CNBC, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the World Economic Forum.

    Our discussion delves into Sandra’s experience around social media profiles, digital ethics, data privacy and our understanding of informed consent. As always we find out about our guest’s musical taste but this week we even find out what our musical preferences can reveal about our personality and social identities.

    We hope you enjoy our discussion with Sandra Matz PhD, and if you do, please leave us a quick review or join our Patreon team at


    3:04 Welcome to Sandra Matz PhD and speed round questions

    4:52 Discussion about Sandra Matz’s Research

    52:32 Grooving Session

    1:10:37 Bonus Track with Kurt


    Sandra Matz

    Cambridge Analytica

    Cass Sunstein


    Kate Crawford, NYU

    Helen Nissenbaum, Cornell

    Tory Higgins, Shared Reality: What Makes Us Strong and Tears Us Apart


    Brene Brown

    Steve Bannon


    Behavioral Grooves @behavioralgroov

    Kurt @motivationguru

    Tim @THoulihan

    Mary @BeSciMary

    Musical Links

    Taylor Swift

    Justin Bieber

    Bob Dylan

    Britney Spears



    Lady Gaga

  • Research is showing that there are four broad groups of people who are the most vaccine hesitant:

    African AmericansLatinosWomen between the ages of 20 and 36Rural Americans and Republicans

    Many of us have a family or friend who feels hesitant about the vaccination. In this episode, Kurt and Tim address how you can have a positive conversation with them, using proven behavioral science techniques.

    Compassionate curiosityListen with compassionUnderstanding motivationsBe genuine with curiosityLeverage the right messengerFraming what you’re going to shareThink about their perspectiveFind an authority figure who they respectTrumpcineThe MessageChange the social normBeing able to take our masks off “Take a shot, take off your mask”Personalise the messageLinks

    Morgan Freeman

    Kwame Christian

    Steve Martin & Joe Marks: BG episode

    Robb Willer, Stanford University

    Donald Trump

    Ivanka Trump

    Ted Cruz


    Frank Luntz

    Robert Cialdini

    The Petrified Forrest

    Katy Milkman

    Surfacing norms to increase vaccine acceptance


    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves

  • Dr. Melanie Green is a professor at the University of Buffalo. She joined us on the podcast to explain how the power of a compelling narrative, including the effects of fictional stories, can be used to change beliefs and attitudes. Her theory of "transportation into a narrative world" focuses on how immersive storytelling is a mechanism of narrative influence.

    It was an in-depth conversation that explored concepts around how stories move us, the power of narrative to affect both cognitive and emotional feelings, and how restorative narratives can be used to help heal communities after disasters. We touch on the psychological response of reactance, the appeal of conspiracy theory stories and the elements needed to create a compelling story.

    We also introduce - in a slightly more proper fashion - our production and research assistant, Mary Kaliff. We are excited to introduce Mary to our listeners and hope you will welcome her with a happy greeting on social media!

    Finally, no episode of Behavioral Grooves would be complete without understanding our guest’s musical tastes. Melanie’s upbringing in Gainesville, Florida influenced her lifelong love of music, in particular the hometown hero, Tom Petty. She’s also a fan of James Taylor, which delighted Tim. More recently, Melanie’s house is often filled with the sound of the Hamilton soundtrack, thanks to her children’s love of the musical, which delighted Kurt. So, it was wins all around.

    We hope you enjoy our conversation with Melanie and if you like it, please jump down to the bottom of your listening app and share a quick rating or a short review with us. It goes a long way in helping others decide if they should listen to Behavioral Grooves.


    0:07 Introduction

    1:00 Hello from Mary Kaliff

    3:46 Welcome and Speed Round with Melanie Green

    7:44 Reactance and empathy

    16:25 What makes a good story?

    22:26 Storytelling in different mediums

    27:12 Parasocial Interaction

    33:10 Storytelling for social good

    38:50 Conspiracy Theories

    43:07 Melanie’s music and playlist

    47:30 Grooving Session


    (14:13) If you do have a story that's not representative, the danger of it kind of having an undue influence on people's thinking and decision making is, I think, a real one, especially with something consequential, like these medical decisions.

    (18:21) the way that stories can inform us and change our minds, is through this process of being immersed in them.

    (31:17) And so a story can be a really nice kind of way of summarizing and illustrating the guiding principles maybe that people want the organization to follow

    (33:37) restorative narratives tell those stories, you know, how people move from something bad to kind of come back to a better place.

    Social Media

    Tim @THoulihan

    Kurt @motivationguru

    Mary @BeSciMary

    Other Content

    To listen to more podcasts about narratives and messages why not delve into these episodes:

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves


    Melanie Green:

    The Game of Thrones:

    Story telling Mirrors in the Brain:

    Victoria Shaffer, PhD:

    The Bible:

    The Koran:

    The Bhagavad Ghita:

    Pamela Rutledge:

    Guy Schoenecker:


    Common Biases & Heuristics:

    Jon Levy:

    Mirror Neurons: Why good stories provoke empathy and connection (Kyle Pearce)

    Musical Links

    Bruce Springsteen “Fire”:

    “Hamilton” soundtrack:

    James Taylor “Never Die Young”:

    Traveling Wilburys “End of the Line”:

    Tom Petty “Don’t Fade on Me”:

  • Leidy Klotz is the Copenhaver Associate Professor of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Virginia. His research fills in underexplored overlaps between engineering and behavioral science, in pursuit of more sustainable environmental systems. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles in venues that include top academic journals in built environment engineering, engineering education, and design, as well as imprints of both Science and Nature.

    We explored the rarity of subtraction from our lives and the fact that we tend to add things much more than we remove things. Granted, we’ve been builders of things since the dawn of civilization, but when is enough, enough? Leidy suggested we begin any initiative by subtracting before we start adding.

    We traced the concept from Lao Tzu through DaVinci through Kurt Lewin and right up into today’s literature with Marie Kondo and Tim Ferriss. But Leidy’s thoughts are truly fresh because he is adding to this historical narrative with scientific data. He offered us fresh ways to think about this uphill battle with our natural desires.

    We also discussed Leidy’s view of the Planetary Tipping Point: where our very fixed-resource planet gets maxed out by humans with an unlimited desire for more. And we were pleased to talk about Kurt Lewin and his force-field analysis and, as you might expect, we enthusiastically discussed Bruce Springsteen as a prolific and gifted writer.

    We hope you enjoy our discussion with Leidy Klotz, and if you do, please leave us a quick review or join our Patreon team at


    Leidy Klotz, PhD:


    Harry Potter Lego Set - Hogwarts

    Wildlife Bingo

    Michael Jordan

    Bruce Springsteen

    Mayan City of Coba

    Marie Kondo

    Tim Ferris

    Da Vinci

    Lao Tzu


    Allison Zelkowitz

    Chaning Jang

    Kurt Lewin

    Kate Orff, Lexington Waterway Project

    Dan Ariely “Predictably Irrational”

    Roger Dooley “Friction”

    Musical Links

    Bruce Springsteen “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”

    Bruce Springsteen “Born In The USA”

    Bruce Springsteen “Western Stars”

    Bruce Springsteen “Letter to You”


    3:20 Leidy’s 6-year-old son answers a speed round question

    4:34 Speed round with Leidy

    7:14 Leidy’s book - Subtraction

    13:00 “More-ality”

    24:00 Planetary tipping points

    26:15 Kurt Lewin force field theory

    29:28 Kate Orff Lexington Waterways Project

    33:40 Subtraction checklist

    37:57 Springsteen

    45:24 Grooving

    Interview Quotes

    (8:10) we're doing these mental searches for solutions, and our mind goes to additive solutions before it goes to subtractive ones.

    (12:01) as people are trying to change things from how they are to how they want them to be, we systematically think of adding first and then, only subsequently or with effort or with reminders, think of subtraction

    (35:15) so often we kind of come to a problem and don't actually spend time defining what the what the problem is, right

    (9:51) My favorite is Lao Tzu, even farther back talking about, to gain wisdom, you have to subtract something every day.

  • Rohit Bhargava is on a mission to help everyone in the world become a non-obvious thinker. In this episode, he talks with us about how intentionality is the key to seeing the non-obvious and how he uses The Haystack Method to gather insights from the world. He also shared how he has become a speed-understander and the benefits that go with it.

    In 2011, Rohit embarked on the annual task of documenting the digital trends of the year, which after a decade, culminated in his book on megatrends in 2021 #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of seven books including “Non-Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future” Rohit discusses with us how he analyses trends, not just on the superficial level, but digging deeper into the “why” question.

    Our conversation with Rohit is full of compelling insights about the human condition, unique analysis of the world around us, and actionable tips on how to train yourself to observe with intention. You’ll also get a quick education in contemporary Latin music and some head-scratching about why He-Man ever became a superhero in the first place.

    Two of Rohit’s books are currently being republished into new editions;

    The Non-Obvious Guide to Virtual Meetings and Remote Work (Non-Obvious Guides) The Non-Obvious Guide to Marketing & Branding (Without a Big Budget) (Non-Obvious Guides)

    If you’re a regular Behavioral Grooves listener, please consider supporting us through Patreon. Thank you!

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves


    Rohit Bhargava:

    Isaac Asimov:

    Ali Pittampalli “Persuadable”:

    Henry Coutinho-Mason “The Future Normal”:

    Maysoon Zayid:


    Dan Simons Invisible Gorilla video:

    Tom Cruise “Cocktail”:



    Meave Leakey:

    Dan Hill - Episode 151:



    The Non-Obvious Guide to Virtual Meetings and Remote Work (Non-Obvious Guides):

    The Non-Obvious Guide to Marketing & Branding (Without a Big Budget) (Non-Obvious Guides):

    Non Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future (Non-Obvious Trends Series):

    Musical Links

    Neil Peart (Rush):

    Fanny Lu:

    Maná “Rayando del Sol”:

    Carlos Vives “Cumbiana”:

    Carlos Vives & Shakira “”La Bibcicleta”:

    Juaness “Es Por Ti | One World: Together” At Home:



    6:37 Trends vs Fads

    11:10 Haystack Method

    13:18 Trends

    19:15 Brave Enough to Change Your Mind

    28:00 Non Obvious Brand

    30:28 Spare Time

    35:30 Rohit’s Inspiration

    40:45 The Yellow Balloon Light Bulb

    45:04 Naming

    47:14 He-Man


    (6:37) ...trend is something that implicates behavior, which is very topical for us. And whereas a fad is just usually a thing or a platform, but doesn't always correlate to behavior.

    (7:55) ...a speed understander is someone who thinks about what to pay attention to as an end is intentional about what they choose not to pay attention to.

    (10:55) ...if you spend enough time gathering interesting, fascinating stories, instead of obsessing about why they're interesting or fascinating in the moment, then later on, you can start to spot the patterns that you would never have otherwise seen.

    (16:37) ...being observant is not a skill you're born with, or not born with. Being observant is a choice.

    (19:45)...being persuadable requires You to rethink those things, those assumptions, those points of view that you have. And I think the only way that anyone can do that is by not letting themselves be defined by the stands that they have taken. Because the more you see a stand that you've taken, or a belief or something that you've put out in the world as core to your identity, the less likely you are to change.

    (20:07) ...the more you see a stand that you've taken, or a belief or something that you've put out in the world as core to your identity, the less likely you are to change

  • Tim Ash is a very interesting guy. He is both an authority on evolutionary psychology and digital marketing, which puts him in pretty rarified air. He is the bestselling author of Unleash Your Primal Brain and Landing Page Optimization (with over 50,000 copies sold worldwide and translated into six languages). He has been identified by Forbes as a Top-10 Online Marketing Expert, and by Entrepreneur Magazine as an Online Marketing Influencer To Watch.

    Our conversation with Tim focused on his most recent book, Unleash Your Primal Brain, and addressed a question very central to behavioral science today: What is rational? This led to addressing how biases and heuristics are grounded in important evolutionary foundations. Tim likens the way we talk about biases today as glitches in the matrix when we should be acknowledging them for what they are: important evolutionary tools to help us survive our environments and thrive in our tribes.

    We also discussed the importance of culture and its central focus on the way humans learn to be human. A paradox we discussed is that culture is dependent on tribe members passing down the cultural (social) norms to the next generation without interruption, and yet cross-tribal collaboration is what has given us an evolutionary edge. Tim notes, that what we need to do today is to “stretch beyond our current tribes needs to go and make the effort to contact other people that are very different from us.” And the consequences of not doing that, according to Tim, “ …are going to be the ones that are going to bring down the larger society.” Fascinating stuff.

    We hope you’ll find this conversation with this insightful researcher and speaker as exciting as we did. And if you do like it, please give us a quick 5-star rating or a two-sentence review. And thank you for listening to Behavioral Grooves.

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves


    Tim Ash:

    “Primal Brain”:


    Robert Sapolsky:



    Carl Sagan:

    Neil deGrasse Tyson:

    Robert Cialdini:

    Robert Heinlein:

    Antonio Damasio:

    Carlos Castaneda “Journey to Ixtlan”:

    “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”:

    Sabre fencing:

    Tai Chi:

    Kung Fu:

    Don Miguel Ruiz “The Four Agreements”:

    Bhagavad Gita:

    Coleman’s Boat:

    Musical Links

    Pat Metheny Group “Last Train Home”:

    Chet Baker “Almost Blue”:

    Elvis Costello “Almost Blue”:

    Miles Davis “So What”:

    Salsa “Al Monte”:

  • Michael F. Schein is a hype specialist and the author of The Hype Handbook: 12 Indispensable Secrets from the World’s Greatest Propagandists, Self-Promoters, Cult Leaders, Mischief Makers, and Boundary Breakers. He is also the founder and president of MicroFame Media, a marketing agency that specializes in making idea-based companies famous in their industries.

    We caught up with Michael recently to talk about his book about how hype can be a very good thing. In and of itself, hype can be a powerful tool of promotion and its bad reputation may be well deserved, but it’s not carved in stone. Hype has a place in a world abundant with choice and Michael has some ideas on how to use hype to cut through a crowded field.

    Michael offers some tips on how to manage your way – ethically – through the world of hype to help you and your ideas breakthrough.

    We also talked about Tim Ferriss’s claim on the world kickboxing championship, and we discussed which world would be a better world to live in: a world that was imagined in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, or Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World. Buckle up, Buttercups!

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves


    Michael Schein:

    You can download Michael’s recommendations on hype ideas at

    Access to Anyone podcast:

    George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four:

    Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World:

    Tim Ferriss:

    Anarchist Cookbook:

    Shep Gordon:

    “Wall Street” movie:

    Wembley Stadium:

    Frans de Waal Capuchin Monkey Experiments:

    Behavioral Grooves Patreon:

    Musical Links

    Black Flag “Nervous Breakdown”:

    Violent Femmes “Blister in the Sun”:

    David Bowie “Modern Love”:

    Alice Kooper “No More Mister Nice Guy”:

    Ministry “Jesus Built My Hotrod”:

    Dead Milkmen “Punk Rock Girl”:

    Sonic Youth “Superstar”:

    California Raisins “Heard it Through the Grapevine”:

    WWF “Land of A Thousand Dances”:

    Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You”:

    Boomtown Rats “I Don’t Like Mondays”:

    The Specials “Monkey Man”:

    Sex Pistols “God Save The Queen”:

    The Clash “Rock the Casbah”:

    Husker Du “Camden Palace”:

    The Replacements “I Will Dare”:

    Depeche Mode “Personal Jesus”:

    The Dead Kennedy’s “In God We Trust”:

    Joy Division “She’s Lost Control”:

  • AJ Jacobs is an author, journalist, lecturer, and human guinea pig. He has written four New York Times bestsellers, including The Year of Living Biblically, that combine memoir, science, and humor with a dash of self-help. AJ has said that he sees his life as a series of experiments in which he immerses himself in a project or lifestyle, for better or worse, then writes about what he learned.

    His most recent book, Thanks A Thousand: A Gratitude Journey, starts with wanting to thank the people who brought him his cup of coffee. It starts with the barista and ends up in South America on a mountainside coffee plantation. The book is based on some simple ideas that gratitude can be the catalyst for a journey around the world, and how experimentation keeps our brains flexible in ways that enhance our lives.

    We loved our conversation with AJ because he made a passionate case for learning to pay more attention to things. To immerse ourselves in the moment where we can appreciate that moment for what it is. He encourages us to see the details, and in those details, to see the connections. He challenges us to be grateful for the life we are given. If we can slow down, savor these moments for what they are, we can curate a better life for ourselves.

    You’ll find lots about AJ that is fun and informative – but above it all, you’ll find him inspiring. If AJ can do these things on such a grand scale, we ought to be able to experiment with our lives – even if it is just not making your bed in the morning.

    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves


    AJ Jacobs:

    “Thanks A Thousand”:

    AJ’s TED Talk:

    George Clooney:

    The Encyclopedia Britannica:

    Windshield Wiper:

    The New York Times Crossword Puzzle:

    Alex Trebek:

    George Loewenstein:

    Ambient Noise:

    Coffitivity (ambient noise generator):

    Melanie Brucks:

    Michael Phelps:

    French Horn:

    Electronic Dance Music:


    Jonathan Mann, Episode 207:

    Mark Landau:

    Neil Gaiman:


    Gratitude / Gratia / Grace:

    Robert Emmons:

    Francesca Gino, Episode 60:

    Tony Robbins:

    Behavioral Grooves Patreon:

    Musical Links

    ZZ Top “La Grange”:

    Lil’ Wayne “2 Diamonds”:

    Sex Pistols “God Save the Queen”: