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In Dan Ariely’s book The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Home and at Work, the author talks about how logic isn’t always the best way to go and that, at times, it makes much more sense to act in a counter-intuitive manner. One of his chapters is devoted to an age old fault that most people find difficult to ignore: that if someone else comes up with a solution to something, it’s not worth considering since you didn’t come up with it yourself. We, as humans, are more likely to ignore good advice simply because we didn’t think of it first.
This was something that happened to me while I was watching Michael Moore’s new documentary, Where to Invade Next. The basic premise of the film revolves around our intrepid and peripatetic hero Moore, traveling from nation to nation in Europe and studying how each has managed to resolve issues that are verily plaguing us, whereupon at the end, he plants an American flag whenever he takes that solution for the U.S.
His first stop is Italy, which has an incredibly large number of holiday and vacation days, as well as five months for pregnancy leave, shorter work days and two hour lunches. The workers are much happier and seem to enjoy life a lot more, since there’s more life to enjoy. With the result that Italy is just as, if not more, productive than the U.S.
And this is where my defense mechanism kicked in. I said in my mind, yeah, maybe, but Italy has a lot of problems, which means I’m not so sure we should consider adopting such a work place attitude.Continue reading →