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Perthblog

This is the official Perth blog site for posts, comments, and other contributions about leadership, behavioral finance and economics, and about management generally, as well as other related topics that take our fancy.

Maybe Alzheimer’s isn’t a Brain Disease?


So I guess you saw that latest failure of an Alzheimer’s drug ( verubecestat from Merck )? Scratch yet another Phase III Alzheimer’s drug hopeful. Of 244 drugs tried out for Alzheimer’s between 2002 and 2012 , only one was approved and it is of tiny effectiveness anyway. It’s got a 99.6% failure rate in this area. As you probably know, the reigning...
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Quantum economics – can 2 (or more) minds be entangled?


I just read “ The Undoing Project” by Michael Lewis . You remember him? The author of Moneyball , the best-selling book about a new way to win at baseball. “The Undoing Project: is about the emergence of behavioral economics and behavioral finance. It focuses on the two key figures in the drama, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman and the incredibly f...
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Does noise cause global dysfunction in human mood?


Music streaming is hot. Everyone’s doing it. So why is it so popular? Well, the music is popular and varied, often relaxing. You can live in your own world. What’s not to like? Outside there’s a lot of hurly-burly and especially a lot of noise. Is music streaming a way to get away from the noise? We are all bathed in a constant tumult of noise, unc...
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Can refugees be the key to a new and vibrant immigration policy?


I think the debate about immigration is missing something really big. The biggest thing we should be worried about is the vitality and energy of our country. If we get that right everything else falls into place. I was just watching a documentary about Japan and the ongoing depopulation there. With more and more seniors as a proportion of the popul...
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Must the world end?


So where did this come from? Well, it’s from a launcher article in the New York Times for 2017 where the Gray Lady asks what scientific topics should be trending for the New Year. I don’t know why they picked this one, but here it is - Steven Pinker on the Second Law of Thermodynamics . It’s all about entropy, that warm cuddly stuff you love and ch...
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The leaderati are out of touch with the masses!


I guess there’s no need to engage in any further exegesis concerning the latest Black Swans on the political front, domestically and globally. But I’ve been surprised that the leadership literati (let’s call them the leaderati) haven’t been talking about what this all means for leadership thinking. Seems to me it means a whole lot. So what does lea...
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Exercise is being way overhyped!


So you know what I mean? Can’t open any magazine, blog, newspaper, social media without being bombarded by how great exercise is for you. Nauseating right? Full disclosure: I wear a Fitbit (Blaze) permanently, run every day, walk whenever I can. I’ve drunk fulsomely of the Kool-Aid. But that doesn’t make me right. Nor does it mean that I am totally...
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Can the cognitive biases of the intelligence agencies be exploited by our enemies?


National intelligence has been a hot topic lately. That’s a bit weird given that I have been posting on artificial intelligence . Does national intelligence come even close to AI? Can we trust its analyses? OK so I have a tiny bit of first-hand experience in this. In my callow youth I was actually a junior diplomat for a small power allied to the U...
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AI is heading in a wrong and terrible direction!


My recent post on AI argued that currently AI is not interesting because it’s really just more incremental thinking based on current, boring,  paradigms, in effect party tricks (“AI – Let’s move beyond party tricks!” ). Yep, I’ve seen the latest celebratory article in the new York Times about the amazing things they’re doing with Google Transl...
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Is reading bad for you?


As a book writer myself I’m always interested to see who might want to read my books, or for that matter, any books. The bad news is that the book market is essentially flat, so doesn’t look like I’m going to make out with my book, even if it were a best-seller, which it’s not. The slightly better news is that e-books are growing a little faster bu...
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Are celebrities better venture investors than the professionals?


We Americans are obsessed by celebrities. Many of them have lots of moolah. So I’m sure you took notice of the recent announcements that Leonardo DiCaprio has joined a Boston VC firm . Maybe you also happened to notice another recent announcement that Kobe Bryant had launched a $100 MM VC fund, with one Jeff Stibel . This is just the tip of the ice...
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Is real behavioral change ever possible?


Well this is taking a different view. There is a huge supply of companies and methods to make you a better person, a better leader, a better manager and so on. And the vast majority, if not every last man-jack of them, are based on the assumption that people can change their behavior, if not a lot, then at least a little. Aren’t we humans just a li...
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AI – Let’s move beyond party tricks!


Right now AI is really hot. But to me it’s boring, showing no imagination. Siri still performs at the level of a very dumb 5 year old. Self-driving autos work but the tech is soooo incremental. Basically AI is all about performing party tricks. When will it get truly smart, even shocking? I am sure you have heard of the famous American science fict...
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There’s a better alternative to the UN!


Nikki Haley has just been appointed the new US Ambassador-Elect (??) to the UN. Another day, another dollar. Elections have consequences & etc. But she’s an impressive person. So how come she is allowing herself to be appointed to be the US representative to a body which, by wide agreement just doesn’t work? One that just has not been capable o...
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Was Darwin wrong? Why it matters


Hmmm, this sounds like a stretch, even for me. Surely natural selection is gold-plated, like the Bible, maybe even better? Nope, it’s starting to look like Darwin was barking up the wrong (evolutionary?) tree. But just so you know, I’m just the messenger, using info from the big guns, in this case a widely-published professor of biology Kevin Lalan...
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etedprince
Thx James for your thoughtful comments. You obviously know a lot about this topic and certainly far more than I do. However the ma... Read More
Sunday, 27 November 2016 00:11
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Are universities obsolete?


So I’m sure you’ve heard about the MOOCs – massively open online courses? There’s a bunch of them now like Udacity and Coursera. Many universities are adding new online course offerings powered by them. So the MOOCs are already doing a little to disrupt the university scene. But so far they haven’t had a fundamental impact, notwithstanding recent m...
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Being overweight is not your fault – and how to cure it


So yep a majority of people are either overweight or obese. And it’s a commonplace that they need to diet and exercise to fix the problem. The subtext is that for such people it’s their own fault. If they only had the willpower they wouldn’t have the problem. I beg to differ. Sure, for many if not most people a lack of exercise or poor diet is a co...
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Robo-Etiquette by Emily Roast


  Have you noticed the recent explosion of robots? There are robo-soldiers , robo-advisers , robo-vacuums and so on. To my great shame I’ve even added to the clutter ( Robo-coaches ), so I’m part of the problem too. We have a rapidly-emerging existential crisis, namely how to communicate with these robos. I mean no-one teaches you at school or...
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Can we unify traditional and behavioral economics?


So active investing is dead. Even the investment literati have finally figured that one out even though the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. I’ve been heralding the issue (“ An Inconvenient Truth - Alpha Financial Styles Beget Ginormous Returns ” and “ Less Algebra More Fudge Brownie - What Will Managed Investing 2.0 Look Like ?”)....
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Head transplants – body optional?


So you haven’t heard of head transplants? Get with the times, dude! Believe it or not an Italian medical research team is planning to do a head transplant in 2017 . And yep, they even have a volunteer. Takes all types. There’s considerable skepticism however that the operation can go ahead let alone succeed. Most mainstream surgeons think it’s impo...
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