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  • David Bloomfield

#24 Sharing some things that I’ve Read, Heard & Seen

What I’ve Read


The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change by Charles Duhigg - Why habits exist, how they are coded and how they can be changed.


Some things I learned and found useful


The brain will try to make almost any routine into a habit, because habits allow our minds to ramp down. When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making and unless consciously addressing the habit the pattern unfolds automatically...


The habit process is a three-step loop. Which over time becomes more and more automatic until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerge. First - a trigger (cue) that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use; Second - there is a routine, which can be physical, mental or emotional; and third - a reward which helps your brain figure out if this loop is worth remembering for the future


Habits never rarely disappear, they are encoded into the structures of our brain. The problem is that your brain can’t tell the difference between good and bad habits

To change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine. It is easier to convince somebody to adopt a new behaviour if there is something familiar at the beginning and the end


When we see the cue we start anticipating the reward and if it doesn’t come we unsatisfied and can lead to anger or depression. Only when your brain starts expecting the reward, craving the endorphins or sense of accomplishment - will a habit be programmed and that it becomes automatic


Why habits are so powerful: they create neurological cravings, most of the time these cravings emerge so gradually that we are not really aware that they exist, so we are often blind to their existence. But as we associate cues with certain rewards, a subconscious craving appears in our brains that starts the habit loop spinning




What I’ve heard


Revisionist History - The standard Case - my most favourite podcast. Hosted by Malcolm Gladwell, revisionist history is back for its fourth season! and in this episode we are introduced a framework that has been around for ever on how to solve novel problems.

You Can't solve novel problems with old principles

When it comes to answering new problems you can't answer them by appealing to a principle. Because principles are the product of past experience and only helpful if living in a world that the past experiences create. In those situations with novel problems you have to work scenario by scenario.


A process of reasoning to resolve novel and moral problems was developed by the jesuits called Casuistry. And the genius of this framework is that it re-frames the problem without using established (irrelevant) principles, by finding out what is distinctive about the problem.


The process to answering new problems...

  1. Find a standard case - that is in the same general territory, where agreement has already been reached

  2. Find another relevant case

  3. Create a Taxonomy - How close does the case in question come to the standard cases? and then where are the breaking points where its no longer legitimate

During the podcast this method is illustrated several examples but the one that stands out is an example from baseball - how the case of Andy Pettitte (pitcher for the New York Yankees) who admitted using performance enhancing drugs to aid recovery from injury fits against other examples of athletes using PEDs to get ahead vs. When a player receives restorative surgery, how one is considered bad and the other ok... It really does show how powerful and provocative such a framework is in re-framing the problem.



What I've Seen


How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio - An essential video that does an incredible job of simplifying the complex world of economics, explaining how the economy works and how it is influenced by the following 3 forces.


1. Productivity growth

2. Short term debt cycle

3. Long term debt cycle


And by laying these 3 parts on top of each other, you can see a very mechanical economic model that repeats itself over and over...


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