Being Marge: December 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Review of Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman, is for you if you want to understand that you might want to heed red flags from your logical brain when you’re over relying on your intuition to make decisions and plans.

If you chose to delude yourself by accepting extreme predictions, however, you will do well to remain aware of your self-indulgence…Perhaps the most valuable contribution of the corrective procedures I propose is that they will require you to think about how much you know.” From Thinking Fast and Slow

I borrowed this book from my older son’s library, thinking it was going to be an exciting read along the lines of Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell. While the book captured my interest and kept it for the first quarter of its pages, I found it a tedious read from that point to the end.

I do have great respect for the author, Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. I wasn’t able to connect with my Economics professor in college, so maybe there is a carryover here. I did finish the book, but not without flashbacks of forcing myself to read college Economics textbooks. I commend the author for writing a sophisticated best-seller, although his writing style is very impersonal.

System 1 and System 2

Kahneman does a great job setting up the book’s two main characters in the beginning of the book. Unfortunately, they aren’t utilized effectively throughout the book to provide a common thread for understanding the numerous psychological concepts explored through various academic studies.

The two main characters are System 1, or your subconscious or intuitive mind, and System 2, your conscious or logical mind.

What you’ll learn by following the often surprising results of the author’s and his colleagues' experiments, is that humans have measurable and predictable tendencies to use the two systems of their minds together in certain ways under similar circumstances.

It’s helpful to understand the predictable patterns so that when you are in such circumstances, you can be more aware of how people's Systems 1 and Systems 2 will most likely work together with results that might or might not be to your advantage. Or, as stated by the author: “The voice of reason may be much fainter than the loud and clear voice of an erroneous intuition, and questioning your intuition is unpleasant when you face the stress of a big decision.”


The book describes experiments that were designed to test the integration of subjects' Systems 1 and Systems 2, to help the reader understand how to extrapolate the author’s findings to common real-life scenarios.

For example, rather than conducting open-ended interviews where the interviewer relies on their overall gut feeling about a job candidate, a more effective approach is to identify the top six traits needed for a high performer in the open job, create specific questions to elicit a candidate’s rating on each trait, score each candidate on each trait, and then hire the candidate with the highest score rather than a subjective impression.

Conversely, as a job candidate, if you study the interaction of System 1 and System 2 and the "anchoring effect", you might be able to negotiate a higher starting salary than you thought possible.

There are other interesting studies in the book related to jury awards, fund management, and how we tend to evaluate the quality of our own lives and the lives of others. Hint: Life stories trump concern for people’s feelings.

Personal Takeaway

While the book was promising in the beginning, I felt like the author forgot about his readers. I often found myself asking the question, “Where is this book going?” It read like a textbook - very impersonal. 

However, I’m glad I persevered because overall Thinking, Fast and Slow, convinced me that I need to pay attention to those red flags that I often have a tendency to ignore when I’m relying too much on my intuition, or System 1. And I will definitely be even more conservative with my business projections going forward, slow down, and let my System 2 do more of the calculations.

For more insights on the author, Daniel Kahneman, check out this article.


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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Throwback Thursday

This is a very special birthday post for my dear husband, Bruce Brown, who turns 70 years old today! I found this clipping recently, and it reminded me of what a long-term pioneer he has been for new technology. This is a photo of Bruce with our daughter, Liz, which was published on 3/10/83.

The caption reads, "Elizabeth Brown, almost four years old, perches on her father's lap and carefully types her first name on the computer terminal. Bruce R. Brown believes that today's children won't experience the computer anxiety that affects adults."

He was certainly right about that!

Bruce lugged personal computers into our house in the mid-80's before most people had even heard of the term "personal computer". Our kids grew up as early adopters, and they haven't stopped! Our two sons are technology journalists, following in their father's footsteps. Liz is teaching her own brood of three kids to use technology responsibly.

Happy birthday to my favorite tech pioneer, Bruce! I love living on the tech edge with you!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Holiday Season is No Excuse to Gain 10 Lbs.

Since becoming a Team Beachbody Coach, I've adopted a wellness lifestyle. I opened myself to learn more about exercise and diet, and I'm incredibly grateful for all the positive lifestyle changes I’ve made. 

I made a pact with myself to not allow the holiday season become an excuse to gain 10 lbs.

Holiday festivities are already in full swing for most of us. That doesn’t mean it’s inevitable that you’ll gain weight during the holiday season. Here are some practical tips to help me and you stay on course.


Of course, the MOST effective fitness strategy to control weight gain is to exercise regularly and eat nutritional meals and snacks. On that note, there’s still time to gift yourself and/or a loved one with a Beachbody Challenge Pack.

Try lighter versions of your favorite holiday recipes, such as this one for the classic green bean casserole.

 May your holiday season be filled with fun and zero weight gain!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Holiday Health and Fitness

Holiday Health and Fitness

I restarted the Slim in 6® home workout program this month, and I'm glad I did! I feel stronger and more energetic after just one week of following the first module of the program. Debbie Siebers is one of my favorite trainers! 

Slim in 6 and Shakeology Challenge Pack

I always complete my workout in the morning, before the day gets ahead of me. Are you a morning person? Even if your answer is no, consider the benefits of morning exercise outlined in this article. It’s a great way to start your day, and you might decide to shake up your routine!

Who do you know that could use the gift of fitness? We all need it, so check out the Beachbody December Challenge Pack Specials for home workout programs for you and your loved ones.

Nutrition Tips
Here’s a recipe for some wholesome holiday bars, which are made from a base of oats and raw almonds.

Be sure to keep your health and fitness a priority during the holiday rush!