About this Almanack

In this Almanack you will find a collection of commentaries, personal reflections, summaries and links to articles, videos and books that I found useful and inspiring. This effort is inspired by Poor Charlie’s Almanack written by Charlie Munger in 2005.

I hope this Almanack will be useful to everyone. But, I am collecting this material mainly for myself and my family and friends.

The material will cover the following topics (the list is preliminary)

1) The Science of Living Well

  • Energy (eat, move and sleep)
  • Interactions (givers and takers)
  • Purpose/meaning (why, Ikigai)
  • Philosophy (stoicism)
  • Daily routines (meditation, reflections and journaling)
  • Health and Ageing
  • Children

2) Understanding the World

  • Natural Sciences (biology, genetics, chemistry)
  • Big History Project (where we come from)
  • Literature (emotions and feelings)
  • Social forces: friends, family and culture
  • Great Thinkers
  • Future (new technology and possibilities)

3) Reasoning

  • Cognitive Biases (Thinking Fast and Slow)
  • Preferences and Personality
  • Decision-making (Behave)
  • Mathematics and Logic
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Artificial Intelligence (robots and algorithms)
  • Creativity
  • Conscience

 

 

Dan Ariely – Behavioral Economics and Health

Prof. Dan Ariely (Duke) says: “In the future we are all wonderful people. In reality we are always tempted to misbehave. Temptations are the biggest barriers to health and are in fact killing us.” Ariely explains that goals and objectives don’t matter much: “Being motivated by long-term outcomes that fluctuate over time is not part of the human system. Let’s focus on the small details. Shift the focus from outcome to action.”

Click on the picture to start the video.

ariely

Michele Belot – Behavioural Economics and Health Behaviours

Prof. Michele Belot (now at the European University Institute).

The last century has seen a dramatic increase in “lifestyle” diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes. The rapid change we have experienced in modern technologies and availability of food has led to substantial changes in our lifestyle. We spend most of our days indoors, with little exercise and eating food coming from all parts of the world and processed in various ways. These changes have happened fast, and arguably perhaps too fast for us to adapt, such that most developed countries are now facing a major public health crisis. The lecture recorded below in 2014 aims to describe how Behavioural Economics can help design appropriate policy interventions to achieve behavioural change.

Click on the picture to start the video.

belot

Walter Mischel – The Marshmallow Test

Prof. Walter Mischel led the famous Stanford marshmallow experiment in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A child is given a marshmallow and a choice: eat it now or wait and get two later. This simple, elegant and funny test for self-control has sparked decades of discussion. In fact, Mischel found that the ability to delay gratification in this task predicts later success in life. Moreover, in his book The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control Renowned, Mischel argues that willpower can be learned and shows how to apply it to a variety of endeavors.

Click on the picture to start the video.

 

Mischel.png

Sendhil Mullainathan – Psychology of Scarcity

Prof. Sendhil Mullainathan (Chicago Booth) tries to answer the following questions: why poverty persist? Why do successful people get things done at the last minute?

His research summarized in his book “Scarcity” shows how scarcity creates its own mindset. Understanding this mindset sheds light on our personal problems as well as the broader social problem of poverty and what we can do about it.

Click on the picture to start the video.

Sendhil Mullainathan