Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Time Magazine - Apr 13 Issue

Lots of interesting writing from the April 13 issue of Time Magazine (which was subtitled the "Special Environment Issue").

The most profound piece was titled "Why Are Army Recruiters Killing Themselves?". Written by Mark Thompson, it's a painful look at the pressures put on Army recruiters (particularly those out of the Army's Houston recruiting battalion) to "make mission" and meet recruiting numbers. A job characterized by 15-19 hour work days and belittlement by leadership... very messed up.

Another interesting story was by Michael Grunwald and titled "How Obama is Using the Science of Change". It looks at some of the social science behind the Obama campaign and office message, specifically how the field of behavioral economics is employed. Some of the examples put out were how get out the vote campaign efforts often promoted the idea of record turnouts to get people to "emulate their neighbors" and the more recent idea of opt-out 401K programs to encourage savings.

Also from the Grunwald article was mention of books written by some of the Obama advisers that made up what's referred to as his "behavioral dream team":

- "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness" by Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein

- "Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism" by George Akerlof & Robert Shiller

- "Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions" by Dan Ariely