Scientist Mode: With Guests Adam Grant & Luca Parmitano

June 7, 2021
How can thinking like a scientist improve your everyday decisions?

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After you listen

How can the barriers to behavior change affect your saving and investing?

  • Listen as Katy Milkman sits down with Mark Riepe on a special episode of the Financial Decoder podcast. They discuss the fresh-start effect, temptation bundling, and habits among many other topics.  

How can the barriers to behavior change affect your saving and investing?

  • Listen as Katy Milkman sits down with Mark Riepe on a special episode of the Financial Decoder podcast. They discuss the fresh-start effect, temptation bundling, and habits among many other topics.  

Important decisions can be complex and difficult to make. We’re at the mercy of certain behavioral biases, and we often face a degree of uncertainty. And while it’s helpful to be aware of our shortcomings and mindful of our incomplete picture of the world, there is a proven way to make better decisions, on balance. 

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how questioning our basic assumptions and thinking like a scientist can help us untangle the knottiest of problems and make choices with greater confidence.

Luca Parmitano was the first Italian astronaut to perform an EVA—an extravehicular activity, otherwise known as a space walk—in 2013. During that EVA, Luca noticed a small amount of excess moisture in his space suit. Engineers chalked it up to a minor leak in his drinking container.

But on his second EVA, Luca nearly drowned in space. You’ll hear from Luca himself about what happened and what it was like to have his helmet fill with water, 250 miles above the earth, outside the International Space Station. You’ll also hear how NASA worked to prevent a repeat of what has been called “the scariest wardrobe malfunction” in the agency’s history.

Luca Parmitano is an astronaut with the European Space Agency and a colonel in the Italian Air Force.

A version of Luca’s story appears in Adam Grant’s new book Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know.

Adam Grant joined Katy to talk about the methods scientists use to avoid certain pitfalls, such as confirmation bias, in the search for objective information. Rather than treat our beliefs or opinions as truths, Adam encourages us to treat them instead as hunches. Hunches can be tested, as scientists test their hypotheses. Taking this scientific approach to difficult problems often yields better results in business, politics, and life.

Adam Grant is the Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He’s also host of the popular TED podcast WorkLife.

Choiceology is an original podcast from Charles Schwab.

If you enjoy the show, please leave a rating or review on Apple Podcasts.

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