Archive for September, 2013

Noreena on Bloomberg [Podcast]

September 30th, 2013 by admin

Noreena discusses Eyes Wide Open with Kathleen Hays and Vonnie Quinn on Bloomberg Radio’s “The Hays Advantage.”

Running time 17:55

bloomberg logo

Noreena on the cover of Newsweek

September 30th, 2013 by admin

Read Stacy Perman’s profile on Newsweek site.

Newsweek cover

Eyes Wide Open review

September 29th, 2013 by admin

Eyes Wide Open is comprehensive – it covers everything from the use and abuse of statistics and numerical techniques (including a depressing reminder that most of our political leaders can barely count) to the need to be qualitative in our decisions.”

Read Jon Moulton’s review on Management Today.


management today logo

Noreena About Consumer Behaviour [Podcast]

September 26th, 2013 by admin

Noreena talks to Marketing Smarts about Eyes Wide Open. Read some excerpts here or listen to the podcast on MarketingProfs.


“I invited Noreena to Marketing Smarts to discuss her book, Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World, which uses scientific research and real-world examples of the factors that influence our decision-making, and offers tips for making more independent and empowered decisions in every context, whether you’re a professional, a patient, or a parent.

Here are just a few highlights from my talk with Noreena.

You think you’re making rational decisions, but sometimes you’re not (2:15) “It’s incredible how many of our decisions are shaped by factors we’re not even slightly aware of. There’s research which looks at how color shapes our decisions, so men rate women as being more physically attractive and sexually desirable when they see their photo superimposed against a red background rather a than a white, gray, blue, or green background. Even savvy financial investors, when they’re given information about a stock set against a red background…are less likely to want to buy it than if they get the same information against a green background. So, color is one area where we might be making a decision thinking that we’re making it for a whole host of rational reasons, but actually there’s something going on which we’re not aware of.”

Just one word can radically affect your decisions (3:10): “There was a wonderful experiment done at an American university where participants were given a passage about a fictional city, Addison, a city that was plagued by crime. The two passages that the two groups were given were absolutely identical, the only difference was one word in a passage of 79 words. In one, it said  crime is a ‘beast ravaging the city of Addison.’ In the other it said crime is a ‘virus ravaging the city of Addison.’ Then they asked the two groups what should be done about crime, and the group who had the passage with the word ‘beast’ in it…all the strategies they came up with were ‘catch and cage’ strategies: we need to hire additional police officers, we need to build more jails, that sort of thing, so really ‘let’s attack the beast,’ whereas the participants in the group who got ‘virus’ in their passage, that was all about ‘let’s put in place crime prevention strategies. Let’s implement educational reforms. It was all about treating the illness. And when you asked people afterwards ‘why did you come up with this particular solution for dealing with crime,’ only 3% of people knew that it was because of the metaphor used, so there’s so much going on…so many things we’re not aware of that are steering our decisions.”

You’re hard-wired to believe experts (12:00): “A study was done where people were put into an MRI scanner and their brains were scanned as they processed experts’ information and advice. When experts gave advice, what you could see on the brain scan was that the part of the brains that we use to make independent decisions literally switched off. So, people trust experts and believe what they say, whether they are right or wrong. If the last (few) years have taught us anything…it’s that experts frequently don’t get things right.”

Snacking can help you to make more rational decisions (23:52): “There’s been a whole host of studies now, done around blood sugar levels and decision making… There have been studies that show that people make worse financial decisions when their blood sugar dips. There was even a study done in Israel of judges granting parole decisions, and the thing that determined most whether or not the judge granted parole was not the gender of the person before him, nor the type of crime, nor the ethnicity of the person. It was whether the judge had recently eaten or not. If you went before a judge just before they’d had lunch or their mid-morning snack, that was disastrous: virtually no chance of getting parole. But if you went before them just after they’d eaten, (those chances) shot up again.”

Say no to yes-men

September 26th, 2013 by admin

Janet Street-Porter discusses Eyes Wide Open in her column, published in the Independent on Sunday and on The Belfast Telegraph.

Independent on Sunday 23rd Sept_01_cropped

Want to make smart money decisions?

September 25th, 2013 by admin

Eat, Sleep, Meditate And 6 Other Surprising Tricks To Making Smarter Money Decisions – read the Forbes‘ article about Noreena’s new book, Eyes Wide Open.



Don’t get stuck in your own success

September 24th, 2013 by admin

“Dick Zanuck was one of the most successful film producers of recent times. His hits include such classics as “The Sting”, “Jaws”, “Cocoon”, “Driving Miss Daisy” and more recently Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” which grossed more than $1 billion.

Hollywood royalty who spoke at his funeral and memorial services included Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg, who called him a ‘cornerstone of the film industry’.

But when I had lunch with Dick Zanuck last year just days before he died, we discussed one of the rare moments when his decision-making had gone very wrong.”

Read Noreena’s piece on about how getting stuck in your own success can be the death knell for innovation.


Face a tricky decision? Then carry a raisin

September 23rd, 2013 by admin

“Hertz is a bestselling author who also advises prime ministers, heads of companies and international organisations such as the World Bank. Her aim is to alert us to myriad ways in which irrational factors influence our decisions.”

Read Toby Young’s great review of Eyes Wide Open in the Mail on Sunday.

Mail on Sunday Sept 23rd-page-001

“Noreena Hertz was the darling of the anti-globalization set for her 2001 bestseller ‘The Silent Takeover’. Now with her newest book, she is looking to shake up a whole new field: the expertise industry.” Read Stacy Perman’s article on The Daily Beast.


Daily Beast picture

This Decision Will Change Your Life

September 20th, 2013 by admin

“It’s Monday morning.

In Washington, the President of the United States is sitting in the Oval Office assessing whether or not to order a military strike on Iran.

In Idaho, Warren Buffett is deciding whether to sell his Coca- Cola shares or buy more.

In Madrid, Maria Gonzalez, a mother, is trying to work out whether to let her baby continue crying until he falls asleep, or pick him up and soothe him.

I am sitting by my father’s bedside in hospital, trying to decide whether I should let the doctor operate, or wait another twenty-four hours.

We face momentous decisions with important consequences throughout our lives. Difficult and challenging problems that we are given the sole responsibility to solve.

On top of this, we have to make up to 10,000 trivial decisions every single day, 227 just about food. Caffeinated or decaf? Small, medium, large or extra large? Colombian, Ecuadorian, Ethiopian? Hazelnut, vanilla or unflavoured? Cream or milk? Brown sugar or sweetener?

If you make the wrong choice when it comes to your coffee, it doesn’t matter very much. You make a face and move on.

But make the wrong choice when it comes to your finances, your health or your work, and you could end up sicker or poorer, or lose your job. And if your decisions relate to others – your parents, your children, your country or your staff – the choices you make can irreversibly impact the direction their lives will take too. Not only today, but in the months and years ahead.”


Read an excerpt from Eyes Wide Open: How To Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World on the Huffington Post.

huffpo logo