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  • Writer's pictureMichael Gallant

#21 - Dan Ariely on Experimenting as a Way of Life, and the Potential Silver Lining of COVID-19

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

This is the second out of a 4 episode mini-series. If you haven't checked out the first episode, you're very welcome to do so!

"We usually don’t stop to think about our actions; we make choices automatically rather than deliberately. From this perspective, the current uncertainty might be a gift.
People have a chance to reflect on their life plan and ask if it’s still what they really want, whether that means starting a family, buying a home or choosing a career." -Dan Ariely

Dan Ariely (@danariely) is the modern definition of a renaissance man. He is a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and founder of the Center for Advanced Hindsight that aims to empower people with the wisdom of behavioral economics. His focus on the reality of how people act in the marketplace vs. how they should or would if only they were more rational, sets him apart from many behavioral scientists of his time.

Dan’s bestselling books include Irrationally Yours, Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, Dollars and Sense and Amazing Decisions. Dan’s writing is driven by the motivation to make research and science more ‘user friendly’ so that people can experience for themselves the thrill of behavioral economics and discover ways this knowledge can benefit their lives.

In his “Ask Ariely” column in the Wall Street Journal, Dan tackles everything from how to manage the uncertainty brought on by the current pandemic to more personal questions of how to establish rituals to get through the painful reality of a break up. His ability to create a safe space for discussing science based arguments as well as more emotionally driven matters of the heart make him a fascinating person to interview.

With so much ground to cover I was lucky enough to sit down with Dan twice, for a total of four hours. Our time together will be divided into four episodes. If you haven’t yet had a chance to listen to our first episode you can find it here. In today’s episode we dive deeper into:

  • How research can help set our experimentation off on the right track

  • The importance of creating a “culture for experiments” and a “culture for implementation”

  • How to set about creating the change we want to see in our lives

  • How we can use “reward substitution” to counter our habit of procrastination (something I am personally guilty of)

Happy listening!


Stay tuned for our next episode of the mini-series with Dan!

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