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About this Blog

This blog is exactly what the title suggests:

It contains the leftovers and tidbits that are of interest to me but that don't fit other outlets of which I have a few.

As a behavioral economist, I publish academic papers which are serious research (or so I'm told), but do not attract a wide audience (or so I assume).  I look forward to writing more freely here about what drives people to behave in ways that often contradict mainstream economic theory.  As someone with other diverse interests, ranging from Taekwon-do to food to fashion, I will also be leaving posts on a variety of random topics.

Finally, to clarify the seeming typo in the title of the blog: Evan is my son's name, and he is three at the time of this post.  Many posts here will have a theme of how to navigate and balance family, parenthood, career, and hobbies. There is no such thing as 'having it all', but there is such a thing as compromising to achieve balance.

Popular posts from this blog

Redefining success

I can hardly believe it: last week marked the 10-year anniversary of my becoming a faculty member at Wellesley College.Over the last decade, I’ve coached countless students through health crises, anxiety over recruiting for jobs, striking the right school-life balance, and struggling over seemingly impossible problem set questions.But no concern looms larger for Wellesley college students than their angst over grades.      Grade anxiety isn’t just a Wellesley thing, of course. Yet the extreme extent to which grades define student experience at Wellesley has always bothered me, and never more so than now. Only at Wellesley would a student show up in her professor’s office after an exam not to argue about her grade, but rather to apologize for disappointing the professor. Oftentimes that “bad” grade is a B+!  More importantly, it seems like this self-defined “bad” grade is viewed as more than just academic weakness. Students see it as a failure in life in general – a profoundly disturbin…

Facing the challenges of everyday life, Part 2

Fall of 2017: my closet is out of control.  Bursting at the seams with hardly ever-worn party dresses, jackets, and jumpsuits, it still manages to be completely devoid of options.  How is this possible, I muse, digging through the racks, laden with hangers, each carrying two or more items. Among the multitude of impulse buys and total duds, I locate that 15-year-old black jacket, two sizes too big and 20 dry cleans past its prime.  I wear it with a belt, and it looks ok.      Fast-forward one year: I no longer fall for impulse buys, and I almost never dry clean anything! Thank you, unlimited membership at Rent the Runway.   In a nutshell, I rent clothes, keep the four items I pick as long as I want to, and then return (no dry-cleaning required!).  As soon as the returns arrive back at the distribution center, I can pick my next items (conveniently "hearted" in the app).  First, this is a perfect mental replacement for shopping (hello, commitment device!).  I no longer go for …

Why I chose left

A few weeks ago, on March 1, 2019, I wrote a seemingly innocuous post on Facebook seeking my network’s opinions regarding my most recent professional photos.Specifically, I wrote: “Time to pick my new work profile pic! What looks more “professorial” - left or right?”The two photos are reproduced below.     Little did I know that this post would generate the greatest number of non-birthday comments ever (87!). On Instagram, the same post got 25 comments. Without even realizing it, I was conducting a survey experiment.The photo on the left displayed only a hint of a smile, chin up, and head slightly tilted to the right. The one on the right had me smiling a toothy smile, chin down, and head tilted left.Otherwise, the pictures were identical, down to the arm fold, slightly unruly hair, and outfit.(The only give-away that I didn’t originally plan this as an experiment was the fact that the two pictures were cropped differently, with the one on the left more zoomed in, so that less of m…