Why You’ve Been Manipulated

Your brain can easily be manipulated. Be careful. Science says you are more likely to buy German wine when German music is playing at the store in the background, and French wine when French music is playing. You are more likely to name Gatorade when you are given a green pen in order to fill out the survey of your favorite sports drink. You are more likely to buy an an expensive couch from a website with a background of fluffy white clouds.

A bit sad (haha) but research shows this is how simple our brains can be when it comes to decision making.

For today’s Book-Of-The-Day I was just reading, “Everything is Obvious – How Common Sense Fails Us” by Duncan J. Watts.

The author makes a good point. You can’t always just rely on common sense.

The world is too complex.

Too many factors are involved.

“Common sense is bad at dealing with complex social phenomena like political conflicts, healthcare economics, or marketing campaigns…”

Our inborn common sense only works some of the time.

Watts explains, “Urban planners in the United States have repeatedly set out to ‘solve’ the problem of urban poverty and have repeatedly failed. There is a wistful myth that if only we had enough money to spend—the figure is usually put at a hundred billion dollars—we could wipe out all our slums in ten years.… But look what we have built with the first several billions: Low-income projects that have become worse centers of delinquency, vandalism and general social hopelessness than the slums they were supposed to replace…”

Why did those housing experts with good intentions make such stupid mistakes?

It’s the effects of the cognitive biases.

“Psychologists have identified so many of these effects—priming, framing, anchoring, availability, motivated reasoning, loss aversion, and so on…”

I would add to this book’s list all of the other 25 cognitive biases and 100+ logical fallacies.

If your whole life strategy is to just trust your common sense, you are probably headed for a disaster.

“Bad things happen not because we forget to use our common sense, but rather because the incredible effectiveness of common sense in solving the problems of everyday life causes us to put more faith in it than it can bear.”

Common sense is best kept for simple stuff like not petting a growling Rottweiler.

Don’t over use it.

It won’t work on some of the most important areas of your life

It won’t work on your diet. When you eat junk food your bodies “common sense” meter will tell you that it must be good for you because it tastes good.


If you’re driving fast and you hit a water puddle and start spinning out of control, common sense will tell you to slam on the brakes.


The list could go on and on.

Learn when to use common sense and when to use higher thinking.

Higher thinking comes only through training.

The world is full of people going to the gym for their body.

But hardly anyone’s going to the bookstore to “workout” their brain.

One of the main reasons I created the 67 steps program was to show how you can invert the problem and reverse engineer your own brain.

Put in the work.

Use your common sense for common things and your “trained” brain for the harder things in life.

What’s an example of an area in your life where you overused common sense?


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