Reciprocation (Weapons of Influence, part 1 of 3)

Robert Cialdini’s book Influence discusses several “Weapons of Inflence”. This first part examines the power of reciprocation — our need to give back to someone who has given something to us — and how this is used to influence us every day in our buying decisions and in other areas. Parts 2 and 3 will look at social proof and comment and consistency.

Finding Gmail Messages with No Label

Finding all your unlabeled Gmail messages can be a chore. If you find yourself wanting to do that regularly, here’s how to build a bookmark for your link bar so you can have single-click access to all Gmail messages without a label.

Teaching Kids to Ski with the Tom Sawyer Method

A successful child ski lesson has at least three components: safety, fun and skills acquisition. In that order. When a parent entrusts us with a child, they have a reasonable expectation that we will take reasonable safety precautions. There are dangers inherent in skiing, of course, but we still place a first priority on safety. […]

Are you my friend? Social norms versus market norms

We are motivated to do good, even great, things for friendship (social norms) and we expect to pay for commercial goods (market norms), but when we mix these, bad things happen in our social lives and for companies that get this wrong.

Don’t Blink (Does Logic Betray Us?)

If you have to make a snap decision to save your life, that’s one thing, but the hoopla around Malcom Gladwell’s book Blink got me thinking of the times when I’ve been told that you can’t always trust logic. Well, never trust someone who tells you that.

The Problem With Common Sense

Common sense keeps us from doing uncommonly stupid things. And uncommonly wonderful things.

Microsoft Word Index Entries Out of Order

If you’re Word 2000 index is out of alphabetical order, the culprit could be a semicolon in my the text of an index entry. If you do that, it throws a wrench in the works.