“I don’t know”: Intellectual Humility and power imbalance when Dunning Kruger meets the Prisoner’s Dilemma

I am drawn to clickbait articles about self-improvement. Especially ones about being smart (their appeal is a suitable reminder to myself that I'm not, in case my head swells too much). This morning I was reading one such. It had all the classics of a genre which tends to be populated by smart-ish people trying … Continue reading “I don’t know”: Intellectual Humility and power imbalance when Dunning Kruger meets the Prisoner’s Dilemma

Art, Extreme Sports and the Sunk Cost Fallacy

figure wearing a hydration vest standing in front of a large stone

Many of us have heard of the sunk cost fallacy. Many of those of us who have heard of it know that it describes something bad. So why do so many of us still talk as though we either haven't heard of it, or don't realise it's bad (hint: the answer is, itself, an example … Continue reading Art, Extreme Sports and the Sunk Cost Fallacy

You’ve Found a Niche: What Now?

Finding a niche is the key to maximising your impact in the world. But the fact it is a niche is also the biggest barrier to creating that impact. It may be that, as Peter Thiel says about start-ups in Zero to One, fields that would make the world better are not distributed in the … Continue reading You’ve Found a Niche: What Now?

Misunderstanding Excellence: relating the parts to the whole

a plastic model of a dugong and packs of playing cards on a large wooden meeting table

My day job is with the University of Oxford, working in the administration. Two recent developments have shone a light on what in retrospect, is a fundamental truth about organisations that should have been obvious to me long since: The excellence of an organisation is not dependent on the excellence of its parts. There are … Continue reading Misunderstanding Excellence: relating the parts to the whole

Subjectivity and Friction

Subjectivity - what it means for a "person" (whatever that is) to be the direct, immediate, or ultimate (or a combination of all three) cause of their actions - is something I have been studying in earnest since I was a very wet behind the ears Masters student a quarter (eek!) of a century ago. … Continue reading Subjectivity and Friction

Our Dreams Make Different Shapes

Our Dreams Make Different Shapes: how your creativity can make the world a better place and why the world will try to stop you is now available as an ebook (£2.99/$3.99) and paperback. (£7.99) For Kindle Paperback Links to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo & others here This book is a field kit for would-be … Continue reading Our Dreams Make Different Shapes

Convergence, Divergence, Vision, Strategy, Tactics, Behavioural Science, Game Theory and Coronavirus

Originally a twitter thread, I thought it might be useful to lay out more readably: There is a lot of criticism of behavioural science at the moment (because, largely, 1. of the people using it - & our memories of Cambridge Analytica; 2. It is highly impersonal & thus inappropriate when lives are involved). Much … Continue reading Convergence, Divergence, Vision, Strategy, Tactics, Behavioural Science, Game Theory and Coronavirus

The Monk, The Mushroom, and The MRI

This is the full text of the talk "The Monk, the Mushroom, and the MRI: how creativity could save the world", given at Meeting Minds in Oxford on 20 September. You can download the slides here. I have kept in the slide prompts so you can follow. When I give talks on the subject of … Continue reading The Monk, The Mushroom, and The MRI