Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World

Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World Hardcover

by Noreena Hertz  (Author)

Eyes Wide Open

Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World is Noreen Hertz’s practical, cutting-edge guide to help you cut through the data deluge and make smarter and better choices, based on her highly popular TED talk. In this eye-opening handbook, the internationally noted speaker, economics expert, and bestselling author of IOU: The Debt Threat and Silent Takeover reveals the extent to which the biggest decisions in our lives are often made on the basis of flawed information, weak assumptions, corrupted data, insufficient scrutiny of others, and a lack of self-knowledge. To avert such disasters, Hertz persuasively argues, we need to become empowered decision-makers, capable of making high-stakes choices and holding accountable those who advise us. In Eyes Wide Open, she weaves together scientific research with real-world examples from Hollywood to Harry Potter, NASA to World War Two spies, to construct a path to more astute and empowered decision-making in ten clear steps. With a razor-sharp intellect and an instinct for popular storytelling, she offers counter-intuitive, actionable guidance for making better choices—whether you are a business-person, a professional, a patient, or a parent.

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Why We Make Bad Decisions: We listen to the information we want to hear and ignore the rest

Why We Make Bad Decisions


OCT. 19, 2013


LONDON — SIX years ago I was struck down with a mystery illness. My weight dropped by 30 pounds in three months. I experienced searing stomach pain, felt utterly exhausted and no matter how much I ate, I couldn’t gain an ounce. I went from slim to thin to emaciated. The pain got worse, a white heat in my belly that made me double up unexpectedly in public and in private. Delivering on my academic and professional commitments became increasingly challenging. It was terrifying. I did not know whether I had an illness that would kill me or stay with me for the rest of my life or whether what was wrong with me was something that could be cured if I could just find out what on earth it was. Trying to find the answer, I saw doctors in London, New York, Minnesota and Chicago. I was offered a vast range of potential diagnoses. Cancer was quickly and thankfully ruled out. But many other possibilities remained on the table, from autoimmune diseases to rare viruses to spinal conditions to debilitating neural illnesses. Treatments suggested ranged from a five-hour, high-risk surgery to remove a portion of my stomach, to lumbar spine injections to numb nerve paths, to a prescription of antidepressants. Faced with all these confusing and conflicting opinions, I had to work out which expert to trust, whom to believe and whose advice to follow. As an economist specializing in the global economy, international trade and debt, I have spent most of my career helping others make big decisions — prime ministers, presidents and chief executives — and so I’m all too aware of the risks and dangers of poor choices in the public as well as the private sphere. But up until then I hadn’t thought much about the process of decision making. So in between M.R.I.’s, CT scans and spinal taps, I dove into the academic literature on decision making. Not just in my field but also in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, information science, political science and history. Read more of this post

The Not-So-Hidden Cause Behind the A.D.H.D. Epidemic

The Not-So-Hidden Cause Behind the A.D.H.D. Epidemic


OCT. 15, 2013

Between the fall of 2011 and the spring of 2012, people across the United States suddenly found themselves unable to get their hands on A.D.H.D. medication. Low-dose generics were particularly in short supply. There were several factors contributing to the shortage, but the main cause was that supply was suddenly being outpaced by demand. The number of diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has ballooned over the past few decades. Before the early 1990s, fewer than 5 percent of school-age kids were thought to have A.D.H.D. Earlier this year, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 had at some point received the diagnosis — and that doesn’t even include first-time diagnoses in adults. (Full disclosure: I’m one of them.) Read more of this post

The New Science Behind Medical Investing: Big pharma companies increasingly are relying on venture capitalists who generate their own ideas and then build companies around them


The New Science Behind Medical Investing


Big pharma companies increasingly are relying on venture capitalists who generate their own ideas and then build companies around them.

The senior management of Third Rock Ventures knows something about making money from biotechnology. Back in 2008, co-founder Kevin Starr and his partners, Mark Levin and Bob Tepper, raked in $8.8 billion for themselves and investors by selling Millennium Pharmaceuticals, a global drug giant, to a Japanese drug maker. After a celebratory weekend in Las Vegas, the three decided they wanted to try their hand at medical start-ups in a new kind of venture firm that would address what they thought was a broken model for funding biotech and drug introductions. In six years, they’ve raised $1.3 billion in three funds, backed three successful initial public offerings, and had a couple of their fledgling companies acquired. The IPOs include gene-therapy maker Bluebird Bio(ticker: BLUE), up more than 48% from its June pricing, cellular-metabolism specialistAgios Pharmaceuticals (AGIO), which has gained more than 52% following its July pricing, and Foundation Medicine (FMI), which provides molecular information about cancer patients and has seen its stock rise 91% since its September pricing. In light of their success in a revved-up market for biopharmaceutical IPOs and the debate about the state of American health care, we thought it a good time to chat with Starr at the firm’s offices on Newbury Street in Boston. Read more of this post

Underground, overground: London has built about as good a transport network as it could, given its constraints. Time to remove the constraints

Underground, overground: London has built about as good a transport network as it could, given its constraints. Time to remove the constraints

Oct 19th 2013 |From the print edition

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FROM his offices high above Victoria station, Glenn Keelan, an engineer, looks down on a hive of activity. Huge diggers chew up and spit out earth just outside the 19th-century façade of the original station. Nearby, workers are lowered in boxy metal cages to work on an emergency entrance. By the time the extension is finished in 2018, the Tube station will be three times bigger. It needs to be: Victoria now has more people going through it than Heathrow airport, and its traffic has increased more quickly over the past four years. Read more of this post

How Jeff Bezos Makes Decisions

How Jeff Bezos Makes Decisions

by Dan McGinn  |   1:00 PM October 18, 2013

Over the last 19 years, Amazon.com has revolutionized the way we shop—and for much of that time, journalist Brad Stone has been watching closely. This week Stone, a senior writer at Bloomberg Businessweek, published The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. I talked with Stone about the evolution of Bezos as a decision-maker. Some excerpts from our conversation:

In the course of your reporting, what did you observe about Bezos’s decision-making style?

Two factors come to mind. The first is an observation made by Rick Dalzell, his right hand guy. He says that Jeff does two things better than anyone else. One is that he tries to find the best truth at the time. That may sound obvious, but Rick says that while a lot of people know what the truth is, they don’t engage their thinking about how the truth may change. Second, Rick says that Jeff refuses to accept the conventional wisdom about the way things are typically done. He thinks about reinventing everything—even small things. Two weeks ago, for instance, Amazon introduced the new Kindle Fire tablets. Ordinarily when tech companies do this, they hold a big press conference. Instead, Jeff brought about two dozen reporters in to see him in small groups. He did all the product demos himself. Everyone left feeling like they had a special session with this dynamic CEO, and Amazon received great press coverage. It’s a small example of how he tries to reinvent how things are done. Read more of this post

Since its debut in August, the “Chinese Characters Dictation Competition” has exploded in popularity. The show has touched a nerve in China, where purists complain that smartphones are eroding language skills

Chinese TV’s Latest Hit Features a Character-Driven Plot

Show Aimed at Reviving the Country’s Written Language Explodes


Updated Oct. 19, 2013 12:32 a.m. ET


A hit Chinese game show is revealing a startling fact: Chinese youth are losing their writing skills. Photo: CCTV

The word “toad” would be a snap in an English-language spelling bee, but not in a nationally televised contest in China. In Chinese, toad has three characters that are made up of 46 individual strokes. Yu Shuang, a 14-year-old contestant, came close in an early round. As her teammates squealed and drew out the word in the air, Miss Yu quickly wrote the characters on a screen that projected her effort on a big display above her head. When she finished, one of three judges hit the buzzer signaling a correct answer, bringing cheers. But the other two didn’t agree, pointing out that the young girl had missed a single dot in the third character. “You were obviously very nervous just now,” said the judge, as Miss Yu’s teammates groaned in disappointment backstage. Miss Yu wasn’t alone. The show tested a group of adults in the audience, and just 30% of them could write toad correctly, state media lamented after the broadcast. “It’s a word that everyone knows,” said the Xinhua News Agency. Read more of this post

Nobel winner Robert Shiller talks about the forces that made him a questioning, data-driven economist

Robert Shiller: A Skeptic and a Nobel Winner


OCT. 19, 2013

Robert J. Shiller, a professor at Yale, learned on Monday that he had wonthe Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, along with Lars Peter Hansen and Eugene F. Fama of the University of Chicago. The Nobel committee described Professor Shiller as a founder of the field of behavioral finance, an innovator in incorporating psychology into economics and a pioneering analyst of speculative bubbles in the stock and real estate markets. He is also one of a group of eminent economists who write the Economic View column for Sunday Business, and has contributed 60 of those columns since August 2007. As the editor of that column, I have talked to him often about his work, and on Wednesday, he called me from the airport en route to a lecture at the Dutch central bank in Amsterdam. Here is an edited, condensed version of that conversation.  Read more of this post

Leslie Moonves turned CBS into the country’s No. 1 network and revolutionized the way broadcasters get paid for content. Why he believes the future of TV is still bright


The Hit Maker


Leslie Moonves turned CBS into the country’s No. 1 network and revolutionized the way broadcasters get paid for content. Why he believes the future of TV is still bright.


“The guy relaxes by working,” says superagent Ari Emanuel of Moonves.

There’s no business like show business, as the Irving Berlin song goes. Trouble is, too few in the trade understand the business as well as the show. Leslie Moonves, who has run CBS since its spinoff from Viacom in early 2006, is a notable exception, having restored the so-called Tiffany network to glory and profits with programming hits and savvy deal-making. Today, CBS is No. 1 among television networks, and a strong fall lineup of new shows, including The Crazy Ones with Robin Williams, seems likely to secure its coveted status.

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India’s MCX says CEO submits resignation

India’s MCX says CEO submits resignation

4:07am EDT

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCEI.BO: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz) said on Saturday its managing director and chief executive officer, Shreekant Javalgekar, had submitted his resignation from the company, in which Financial Technologies (FITE.NS: Quote,ProfileResearchStock Buzz) holds a 26 percent stake. It did not specify a reason for the resignation in a statement. Financial Technologies also owns National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL). The NSEL has been under investigation by local police since last month after India’s commodities regulator ordered it to suspend trading over suspected violations of rules on contract duration. The MCX board will meet on Tuesday to discuss the appointment of a new CEO, its spokesman said.


To Catch Up, Walmart Moves to Amazon Turf

To Catch Up, Walmart Moves to Amazon Turf


OCT. 19, 2013

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — A plucky Silicon Valley company, forced to compete for talented engineers, is trying it all — recruiting billboards on Highway 101; workplace perks like treadmill workstations and foosball tables; and conference rooms named after celebrities like Rihanna and Justin Bieber.

The name of that arriviste company?


The country’s largest retailer, which for years didn’t blink at would-be competitors, is now under such a threat from Amazon that it is frantically playing catch-up by learning the technology business, including starting @WalmartLabs, its dot-com headquarters. The two retail behemoths, one the king of the physical store and the other the conqueror of the online world, are battling over e-commerce — competing for the most talented engineers, trying to gain the upper hand in the new frontier of same-day delivery and warring over online pricing. Read more of this post

It’s Time for Amazon to Open Its Black Box; Amazon.com’s Kindle business is big and growing bigger. How big, and how fast? No one knows. A risk for investors


It’s Time for Amazon to Open Its Black Box


Amazon.com’s Kindle business is big and growing bigger. How big, and how fast? No one knows. A risk for investors.

In the coming days, Amazon.com will turn up its marketing muscle to promote its latest tablet, known as the Kindle Fire HDX. The device went on sale last Friday, and it has received hefty praise from gadget reviewers. At $229, the tablet undercuts Apple‘siPad mini by $100. If recent history is any guide, the new Fire will jump to the top of sales charts at Amazon, and the company will tout its success with a rather vague set of pronouncements. And then the news flow will come to a halt. Read more of this post

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