📚 Book recommendations

Some highlights from books I've read.
I keep updating this list.

🪁 Behavioral Sciences

A compilation of articles, books, and more on these topics and their intersections.

📚 Books

Perennial Seller [Ryan Holiday]
Ryan Holiday
Perennial Seller
Score: 
10
/10

Powerful insights about building long-lasting work.

Amazon
A few highlights
Amazon

"Chances are those companies will still exist in ten years. Whatever changes I will have to make to this book in later editions, I have little doubt that, barring some tragedy, the Pantry, Shawshank , Iron Maiden, and Zildjian will still be going strong. They are examples of a phenomenon known in economics as the Lindy effect. * Named after a famous restaurant where showbiz types used to meet to discuss trends in the industry, it observes that every day something lasts, the chances that it will continue to last increase. Or as the investor and writer Nassim Taleb has put it, “If a book has been in print for forty years, I can expect it to be in print for another forty years. But, and that is the main difference, if it survives another decade, then it will be expected to be in print another fifty years. . . . Every year that passes without extinction doubles the additional life expectancy.”

"We must set out, from the beginning, with complete and total commitment to the idea that our best chance of success starts during the creative process. The decisions and behaviors that bring you to creating the product—everything you do before you sit down to build whatever it is you’re building—trump any individual marketing decisions, no matter how attention-grabbing they turn out to be. And, as we’ll see later, those creative decisions can be critical marketing decisions in themselves."

"If you are trying to make something great, you must do the making: That work cannot be outsourced to someone else. You can’t hire your friends to do it for you. There is no firm that can produce a timeless work of art on your behalf for a flat fee. It’s not about finding the right partner, the right investor, the right patron—not yet anyway. Collaboration is essential, but if this is your project, the hard work will fall on you. There is just no way around it."

"Creating is often a solitary experience. Yet work made entirely in isolation is usually doomed to remain lonely."

"One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten as a creator was from a successful writer who told me that the key to success in nonfiction was that the work should be either “very entertaining” or “extremely practical.” Notice they didn’t say, “Should be very fulfilling to you personally” or “Should make you look super smart” or “Capitalize on some big trend.” Those concerns are either secondary or implied. It’s better to be focused on those two timeless use cases of enjoyability or utility."

"When it comes to feedback, I think Neil Gaiman’s advice captures the right attitude: “Remember: When people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”"

"Positioning is what your project is and who it is for.

Packaging is what it looks like and what it’s called.

The Pitch is the sell—how the project is described and what it offers to the audience."

"In my definition, a platform is the combination of the tools, relationships, access, and audience that you have to bring to bear on spreading your creative work—not just once, but over the course of a career. So a platform is your social media and the stage you stand on, but it also includes your friends, your body of work, the community your work exists in, the media outlets and influencers who appreciate what you do, your email list, the trust you’ve built, your sources of income, and countless other assets. A platform is what you cultivate and grow not just through your creative work, but for your creative work, whatever it may be."

Metaphors We Live By [George Lakoff, Mark Johnson]
George Lakoff, Mark Johnson
Metaphors We Live By
Score: 
10
/10

A wonderful book about our language and thought structures; and how they interact with the reality around us.

Amazon
A few highlights
Amazon

"The essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another."

"The idea that metaphors can create realities goes against most traditional views of metaphor. The reason is that metaphor has traditionally been viewed as a matter of mere language rather than primarily as a means of structuring our conceptual system and the kinds of everyday activities we perform. It is reasonable enough to assume that words alone don't change reality. But changes in our conceptual system do change what is real for us and affect how we perceive the world and act upon those perceptions."

"Within the experientialist myth, understanding emerges from interaction, from constant negotiation with the environment and other people. It emerges in the following way: the nature of our bodies and our physical and cultural environment imposes a structure on our experience, in terms of natural dimensions of the sort we have discussed. Recurrent experience leads to the formation of categories, which are experiential gestalts with those natural dimensions. Such gestalts define coherence in our experience. We understand our experience directly when we see it as being structured coherently in terms of gestalts that have emerged directly from interaction with and in our environment. We understand experience metaphorically when we use a gestalt from one domain of experience to structure experience in another domain."

Mindwise [Nicholas Epley]
Nicholas Epley
Mindwise
Score: 
10
/10

About our [in]ability to understand other people.

Amazon
A few highlights
Amazon

"One word: construction. You are consciously aware of your brain’s finished products—conscious attitudes, beliefs, intentions, and feelings—but are unaware of the processes your brain went through to construct those final products, and you are therefore unable to recognize its mistakes."

"The problem with a lens is that you look through it rather than at it, and so your own perspective doesn’t seem unique until someone else informs you otherwise."

"Our impressions about the minds of others seem to reflect the world we observe. Stereotypes, in this way, seem like mirrors. But our stereotypes about other people can also affect the world we observe, and in this way can also act like magnets. Our belief that groups are opposed to each other may push those groups even further apart in our minds than they are in reality, leading to stereotypes that exaggerate genuine differences between groups. Our belief that groups differ can also push the targets of these stereotypes to behave in ways that are consistent with them."

"The more unpredictable an object, the more mindful it appears."

Nudge [Richard Thaler, Cass Sunstein]
Richard Thaler, Cass Sunstein
Nudge
Score: 
9
/10

A great introduction about our power [and responsibility] to influence other people's behavior.

Amazon
A few highlights
Amazon

"A choice architect has the responsibility for organizing the context in which people make decisions."

"...small and apparently insignificant details can have major impacts on people’s behavior. A good rule of thumb is to assume that “everything matters.” In many cases, the power of these small details comes from focusing the attention of users in a particular direction."

"Libertarian paternalists want to make it easy for people to go their own way; they do not want to burden those who want to exercise their freedom. The paternalistic aspect lies in the claim that it is legitimate for choice architects to try to influence people’s behavior in order to make their lives longer, healthier, and better."

"A nudge, as we will use the term, is any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not mandates. Putting the fruit at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning junk food does not."

Made to Stick [Chip Heath, Dan Heath]
Chip Heath, Dan Heath
Made to Stick
Score: 
9
/10

Great insights for crafting impactful messages and campaigns.

Amazon
A few highlights
Amazon

"By “stick,” we mean that your ideas are understood and remembered, and have a lasting impact—they change your audience’s opinions or behavior."

"PRINCIPLE 1: SIMPLICITY

How do we find the essential core of our ideas? A successful defense lawyer says, “If you argue ten points, even if each is a good point, when they get back to the jury room they won’t remember any.” To strip an idea down to its core, we must be masters of exclusion. We must relentlessly prioritize. Saying something short is not the mission—sound bites are not the ideal. Proverbs are the ideal. We must create ideas that are both simple and profound. The Golden Rule is the ultimate model of simplicity: a one-sentence statement so profound that an individual could spend a lifetime learning to follow it.

PRINCIPLE 2: UNEXPECTEDNESS

How do we get our audience to pay attention to our ideas, and how do we maintain their interest when we need time to get the ideas across? We need to violate people’s expectations. We need to be counterintuitive. A bag of popcorn is as unhealthy as a whole day’s worth of fatty foods! We can use surprise—an emotion whose function is to increase alertness and cause focus—to grab people’s attention. But surprise doesn’t last. For our idea to endure, we must generate interest and curiosity . How do you keep students engaged during the forty-eighth history class of the year? We can engage people’s curiosity over a long period of time by systematically “opening gaps” in their knowledge—and then filling those gaps.

PRINCIPLE 3: CONCRETENESS

How do we make our ideas clear? We must explain our ideas in terms of human actions, in terms of sensory information. This is where so much business communication goes awry. Mission statements, synergies, strategies, visions—they are often ambiguous to the point of being meaningless. Naturally sticky ideas are full of concrete images—ice-filled bathtubs, apples with razors—because our brains are wired to remember concrete data. In proverbs, abstract truths are often encoded in concrete language: “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.” Speaking concretely is the only way to ensure that our idea will mean the same thing to everyone in our audience.

PRINCIPLE 4: CREDIBILITY

How do we make people believe our ideas? When the former surgeon general C. Everett Koop talks about a public-health issue, most people accept his ideas without skepticism. But in most day-to-day situations we don’t enjoy this authority. Sticky ideas have to carry their own credentials. We need ways to help people test our ideas for themselves—a “try before you buy” philosophy for the world of ideas. When we’re trying to build a case for something, most of us instinctively grasp for hard numbers. But in many cases this is exactly the wrong approach. In the sole U.S. presidential debate in 1980 between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, Reagan could have cited innumerable statistics demonstrating the sluggishness of the economy. Instead, he asked a simple question that allowed voters to test for themselves: “Before you vote, ask yourself if you are better off today than you were four years ago.”

PRINCIPLE 5: EMOTIONS

How do we get people to care about our ideas? We make them feel something. In the case of movie popcorn, we make them feel disgusted by its unhealthiness. The statistic “37 grams” doesn’t elicit any emotions. Research shows that people are more likely to make a charitable gift to a single needy individual than to an entire impoverished region. We are wired to feel things for people, not for abstractions. Sometimes the hard part is finding the right emotion to harness. For instance, it’s difficult to get teenagers to quit smoking by instilling in them a fear of the consequences, but it’s easier to get them to quit by tapping into their resentment of the duplicity of Big Tobacco.

PRINCIPLE 6: STORIES

How do we get people to act on our ideas? We tell stories. Firefighters naturally swap stories after every fire, and by doing so they multiply their experience; after years of hearing stories, they have a richer, more complete mental catalog of critical situations they might confront during a fire and the appropriate responses to those situations. Research shows that mentally rehearsing a situation helps us perform better when we encounter that situation in the physical environment. Similarly, hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight simulator, preparing us to respond more quickly and effectively."

Contagious [Jonah Berger]
Jonah Berger
Contagious
Score: 
8
/10

Good insights to help spread products, messages, and ideas.

Amazon
A few highlights
Amazon

“There are lots of examples of things that have caught on. Yellow Livestrong wristbands. Nonfat Greek yogurt. Six Sigma management strategy. A certain gym will be the trendy place to go. A new church or synagogue will be in vogue. Everyone will get behind a new school referendum. These are all examples of social epidemics. Instances where products, ideas, and behaviors diffuse through a population. They start with a small set of individuals or organizations and spread, often from person to person, almost like a virus.”

"Word of mouth, then, is a prime tool for making a good impression—as potent as that new car or Prada handbag. Think of it as a kind of currency. Social currency. Just as people use money to buy products or services, they use social currency to achieve desired positive impressions among their families, friends, and colleagues. So to get people talking, companies and organizations need to mint social currency. Give people a way to make themselves look good while promoting their products and ideas along the way. There are three ways to do that: (1) find inner remarkability; (2) leverage game mechanics; and (3) make people feel like insiders."

"Remarkability explains why people share videos of eight-year-old girls flawlessly reciting rap lyrics and why my aunt forwarded me a story about a coyote who was hit by a car, got stuck in the bumper for six hundred miles, and survived. It even explains why doctors talk about some patients more than others. Every time there is a patient in the ER with an unusual story (such as someone swallowing a weird foreign object), everyone in the hospital hears about it. A code pink (baby abduction) makes big news even if it’s a false alarm, while a code blue (cardiac arrest) goes largely unmentioned."

"If most students were uncomfortable with the drinking culture, then why was it happening in the first place? Why were students drinking so much if they don’t actually like it? Because behavior is public and thoughts are private."

Hooked [Nir Eyal]
Nir Eyal, Ryan Hoover
Hooked
Score: 
8
/10

About the process that products/services, mainly digital, use to develop habits/addictions in us

Amazon
A few highlights
Amazon

“Cognitive psychologists define habits as, “automatic behaviors triggered by situational cues:” things we do with little or no conscious thought. [v] The products and services we use habitually alter our everyday behavior, just as their designers intended. [vi] Our actions have been engineered.”


“Instead of relying on expensive marketing, habit-forming companies link their services to the users’ daily routines and emotions. [vii] A habit is at work when users feel a tad bored and instantly open Twitter. They feel a pang of loneliness and before rational thought occurs, they are scrolling through their Facebook feeds. A question comes to mind and before searching their brains, they query Google. The first-to-mind solution wins.”


“A trigger is the actuator of behavior — the spark plug in the engine. a website link, or the app icon on a phone.”


“The exciting juxtaposition of relevant and irrelevant, tantalizing and plain, beautiful and common, sets her brain’s dopamine system aflutter with the promise of reward. Now she’s spending more time on Pinterest, hunting for the next wonderful thing to find. Before she knows it, she’s spent 45 minutes scrolling.”


“Having a greater proportion of users returning to a service daily, dramatically increases Viral Cycle Time for two reasons: First, daily users initiate loops more often (think tagging a friend in a Facebook photo); second, more daily active users means more people to respond and react to each invitation. The cycle not only perpetuates the process — with higher and higher user engagement, it accelerates it.”


“Remember and Share

  • Variable Reward is the third phase of the Hook Model, and there are three types of variable rewards: tribe, hunt and self.
  • Rewards of the tribe is the search for social rewards fueled by connectedness with other people.
  • Rewards of the hunt is the search for material resources and information.
  • Rewards of the self is the search for intrinsic rewards of mastery, competence, and completion.
  • When our autonomy is threatened, we feel constrained by our lack of choices and often rebel against doing a new behavior. Psychologists call this “reactance.” Maintaining a sense of user autonomy is a requirement for repeat engagement.
  • Experiences with finite variability become increasingly predictable with use and lose their appeal over time. Experiences that maintain user interest by sustaining variability with use exhibit infinite variability.
  • Variable rewards must satisfy users’ needs, while leaving them wanting to re-engage with the product.”

📁 Blogs

Ideas 42: publications

List of behavioral economics videos

The Compedium [check also other sections of the website]

🎥 Videos

The Social Dilemma
The Social Dilemma

About how social media makes use of personal and interpersonal biases, dynamics, and weaknesses.

Is our attention for sale?
Is our attention for sale?

Short animated video about the challenges of keeping our freedom of attention

Persona
Persona

About personality tests and how they can lead to wrong preconceptions and decisions about people.

Behavioral Economics & Psychology in Marketing | Short preview
Behavioral Economics & Psychology in Marketing | Short preview

I bought this course, but didn't like it. More basic than I expected.

How fake science won
How fake science won

“The immediate gratification of one belief is made all the easier by simple explanations for an often complex and contingent world.”

🧰 Prototyping assets & tools

A compilation to help you create better presentations, prototypes, and more.
There are countless options out there - and I tried many - and these are some good ones.

🦾 AI tools

There are so many AI tools already, and many others are popping up every day. Here's a list of AI tool directories.

🧩 Assets

🎨 Illustrations

Blush [free]

Essentials [curated list of free & paid resources]

Humaaans [free]

Open Peeps [free]

Streamline UX 2.0 [free & paid]

unDraw [free]

🔲 Icons

Essentials [curated list of free & paid resources]

Feather [free]

Flaticon [free & paid]

Font Awesome [free & paid]

Iconoir [free]

Icons8 [free & paid]

Noun Project [free & paid]

Remix Icon [free]

Reshot [free]

Streamline [free & paid]

📷 Photos

Burst [free]

Nappy [free]

Neurascapes [AI images] [free]

Pexels [free]

Snapby AI [free & paid]

StockSnap [free]

Unsplash [free]

Variart [free & paid]

It looks like something that will be illegal at some point. You upload a royalty-protected image, and it will generate another one for you to use freely.

WOCinTech [free]

📝 Form builders

Feathery [free & paid]

SurveyMonkey [free & paid]

Tally [free & paid]

Typeform [free & paid]

🖥️ Website builders & prototyping tools

I tried so many throughout the years. Most of them still requires a lot of repetitive work to get things done.

Coda or Notion [free & paid]

They didn't start as website builders but became decent ones. Good for speed and simplicity. This website is on Coda.

Dora [free & paid]

Interesting new player. Focused on 3D-heavy websites. Good for eye-catching websites.

Editor X [free & paid]

Part of the WIX family, but more visually appealing. Builder's UI is terrible.

Mailchimp [free & paid]

Simple. Good for landing pages and newsletter signup forms/pages.

Readymag [free & paid]

Not so easy to use, but visually appealing. Good for static content.

Spline [free & paid]

Web-based 3D design.

Kind of simple, but with good-looking templates. Good for decent UI with minimum setup.

Webflow [free & paid]

Steep learning curve but the most flexible of all. Pricey as well. Good for great UX/UI.

Wix [free & paid]

Simple. Better for basic websites. Builder's UI is terrible.

🛠️ Products & Services I use

A compilation to help you create better presentations, prototypes, and more.
There are countless options out there - and I tried many - and these are some good ones.

Video & Photo

  • 📷 Sony A7C, iPhone 14 Pro, GoPro 7
  • 🎤 Shure VP83F, Comica VM10
  • 🎬 DaVinci Resolve [the free version]
  • 🔈 Epidemic Sound
  • 🖼️️ Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Express

Websites

Others

See more