Five areas where choosing the “difficult path” pays off

Nick IngramThinking0 Comments

“The best protection is always to be working on hard problems.” “The best protection is always to be working on hard problems”. This is advice to school students from Paul Graham, one of the founders of Y Combinator. The whole speech is worth reading in full. Graham’s point here is simply that at school, and throughout life, you need to … Read More

Your ability to focus: a limited mental resource

Nick IngramThinking11 Comments

Psychologists increasingly think that your “executive function” – the part of you that makes decisions and maintains actions – depends on a limited resource. Your ability to do important things, like focus on a task, depends on a certain amount of mental strength or energy. And, it would seem, just like physical strength and energy, you can deplete that resource: … Read More

To make a real decision you have to kill options

Nick IngramStrategy4 Comments

I learnt the other day that “decide” and “homicide” come from the same Latin root. “Caedere” is the Latin for “cut”. In “homicide” you cut a person (“homo”, literally a “man”). In “decide” you cut “off” (Latin, “de”). In other words a real decision will involve the cutting off, the killing off, of other options. Strategy is about choice Roger … Read More

Why do we fall for the Monty Hall problem?

Nick IngramThinking2 Comments

After posting on the Monty Hall problem ten days ago, I’ve done a bit more reading. Mainly because you guys seemed so interested in it! (It’s been surprising how much traffic that post got.) Anyway, as I’ve been reading it’s become increasingly clear that the Monty Hall problem is a classic in both statistics and psychology. Why is it a … Read More

The Monty Hall problem comes to the cover of HBR

Nick IngramThinking14 Comments

I’ve just received my latest Harvard Business Review (May 2015) – with a special focus on decision making. But it’s the cover (see above) that I want to blog about today.┬áThe three doors, numbered 1 to 3 are clearly a reference to the Monty Hall problem: but none of the articles in the magazine seem to mention it. What is … Read More

Need “cut through”? Find the right question

Nick IngramThinking0 Comments

Nothing lifts the level of your thinking, or the thinking of a group, like a good question. I’ve just started reading “The HEAD Game“, by Philip Mudd (Liveright Publishing, 2015) – a book about decision making. He says the start of good decision making is to ask the right question. This has got me thinking about other places where asking … Read More

Faced with a hard choice? Try doing nothing…

Nick IngramThinking4 Comments

An “old hand” fund manager once described the essence of his job to me…. “The most important part of my job is helping my team to feel comfortable to do nothing.” In short, his job boiled down to stopping most of the trades his team wanted to make. In his view, the best approach to investing was to take a … Read More