Really boring book title, really fascinating book–especially for those, like me, who are savers. Are you a saver? Are there people in your life with simple misconceptions that make them unhappy and that you’d love to disabuse them of? For instance, my kids’ view that I’m a “health freak,” and that they’d be much better off stuffing themselves with the “regular” food served by “normal” moms? Or a coworker’s view that if she just tried the latest diet, she’d soon be thin and all her problems solved? Or a divorced friend’s idea that avoiding all social interaction is a good plan?
David Brooks examined this book recently in his NYT column, where he summarized some of its most counterintuitive findings, such as: people are not motivated to vote because you tell them there is low voter turnout, but rather because you tell them that all of their peers are voting; people wrongly assume they are consuming less of a beverage in a short, wide glass than in a tall, narrow one; and those police officers given post-trauma grief-counseling often end up worse-off because it enhances and enlivens the tragic experience. Brooks discusses the ramifications of these findings in the context of wrong-headed public policy, but as savers who operates locally, they force us to rethink our efforts to help the people we care about. [Read more…]