The Science of Success

The 3 Keys You Need To Answer Life’s Most Important Questions with Dr. Barry Schwartz

June 8, 2017
In this episode we look at how Toyota turned the worst automobile factory in America into the best without changing any personnel, we discuss the paradox of choice, paralysis by analysis and the danger of having too many choices, the vital importance of having a multi-disciplinary viewpoint to truly understand reality, ask if there are quick fixes for wisdom, and much more with Dr. Barry Schwartz
Dr. Barry Schwartz is a Professor at the Haas school of business at UC berkley. He has authored over 10 books including The Paradox of Choice, Why We Work, and Practical Wisdom as well as more than 100 professional journal articles. He has been featured on the TED stage, in the The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, and much more.
We discuss:
  • How Barry’s work in animal learning, following in the footsteps of BF Skinner, led him down the path of his journey
  • Why a focus on rewards and punishments is too narrow an understanding
  • The importance of multi-disciplinary work to unearth the truth and understand reality
  • How we can begin to think in a more multi-discplinary way
  • The answers to the most important questions in life are very complex, and efforts to simplify them are doomed to failure
  • The flaws in the dominant ideologies of western society in understanding and explaining why we work
  • People don’t work only for pay - here are the other reasons people work:
    • They want to be engaged
    • They want discretion and control
    • They want to be appreciated
    • They want to be challenged
    • They want to do something that has meaning
  • Why only 10% of the world’s work force is “engaged in their work”
  • How did Toyota turn around the worst automobile factory in America into the BEST factory in America without changing the work force?
  • The importance of the big 3 factors - Autonomy, Control, and Discretion
  • What has enabled the container store to be so successful
  • How focusing on improving the quality of work and creating good work can be good for the bottom line as well
  • How Aristotle defines “Wisdom”
  • How excessive management and supervision has destroyed the ability of teachers to become effective
  • How the the reliance on rules and incentives to get people to behave properly is the enemy of wisdom
  • Wisdom is learned, but it can’t be taught - the way you learn to be wise is by trying and failing
  • You learned by doing, by getting it wrong, and by correcting your mistakes
  • Trial and error, mentoring, modeling - there’s no quick fix for wisdom, you have to be in it for the long haul
  • Its OK to get it wrong
  • We go deep into Barry’s famous book The Paradox of Choice
  • Paralysis by analysis and the danger of having too many choices
  • How can we simplify our lives and avoid the paradox of choice?
  • “Good enough is virtually always good enough”
  • People who aspire to “the best” get better results, and feel worse about them, than people who are happy with “good enough”
  • Don’t be unambitious and have no standards, have high standards, but don’t feel like if you aren’t the absolute best you’re a failure
  • And much more!