Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Scarcity mindset


Here's a link to a nice review of a new book called "If you're so smart, why aren't you happy?", by Raj Raghunathan, in the form of an interview with the author:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/why-so-many-smart-people-arent-happy/479832/

If the review is to be believed, the book, while a self-help book, is rooted in some science, and cites some studies. But what I found particularly interesting is this quotation: they are talking about the "Scarcity mindset", and how humans have a tendency to value their goods, and food, and (sic!) time; and how actually it may be counterproductive. Raj says:

I think that as intelligent beings we need to recognize that some of the vestiges of our evolutionary tendencies might be holding us back. If I'm at an advertising agency, for example, or in software design, those are the kinds of fields where it is now being shown in quite a lot of studies that you actually perform better if you don't put yourself under the scarcity mindset, if you don’t worry about the outcomes and enjoy the process of doing something, rather than the goal.
What I find curious about this statement is how it resonates with another book I'm reading right now, called "The Slow Professor" by Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber. I'm not ready to tell yet whether this other book is good or not, but it's definitely provocative. The subtitle is "Challenging the culture of speed in the academy", and so the book is exactly about how modern academia inflicts the ultimate scarcity mindset upon its members - the one of scarcity of time. And then fosters it through seemingly "helpful" advice on the ultimate time management.

But so far I'm reading the descriptions of how everything is bad and sad, which is an easy part to write =) The ultimate test for the quality of the book is in its "self-help manifesto", which is still to come. We'll see. I'll keep you, invisible 10 or so readers, posted.

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