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The Anatomy of Charisma (Reading Time: 19 Mins)
“Menges found that students were far more likely to report they remembered the exact contents of speeches delivered by individuals who used charismatic speaking techniques that evoke emotions, than the content of speeches from individuals using a straightforward, non-charismatic mode of delivery. Yet written tests revealed those exposed to charismatic speakers remembered far less than those exposed to the non-charismatic speakers. Even so, when offered the chance to follow each speaker into a coffee room to discuss the ideas of their talks, the students almost never followed the boring speaker—and almost always followed the charismatic one.
… explained his findings in the context of a theory called the “predictive coding framework.” The brain is essentially a pattern recognition machine, constantly making predictions. Our perception is a combination of our prior expectations—expressed in the form of these automatic predictions—and actual sensory perception. As long as the sensory information matches the predictions, the brain hums along. When there is dissonance, the brain steps into make a correction. But when we are around people we believe to have special powers or abilities—when we have made an implicit decision that we can trust them—we seem to unconsciously down-regulate our analytical thinking.”
Getting Rich vs. Staying Rich (Reading Time: 7 Mins)
“It goes like this. The more successful you are at something, the more convinced you become that you’re doing it right. The more convinced you are that you’re doing it right, the less open you are to change. The less open you are to change, the more likely you are to tripping in a world that changes all the time.
There are a million ways to get rich. But there’s only one way to stay rich: Humility, often to the point of paranoia. The irony is that few things squash humility like getting rich in the first place.”
Suicides In Rural America Increased More Than 40% In 16 Years (Reading Time: 5 Mins)
“Consider this shocking chart produced by the Brookings Institution. It shows that, in 2000, George W. Bush won 2,397 counties (compared to Al Gore’s 659), and those counties represented 46% of America’s GDP. Fast forward to 2016. Donald Trump won an even larger share: 2,584 counties (compared to Hillary Clinton’s 472). Yet, counties that voted for Trump accounted for only 36% of the nation’s GDP. Since most Bush counties also voted for Trump, that means — in a span of just 16 years — economic productivity shifted by 10 percentage points, away from small town America and toward the big cities.
…From 1999 to 2015, suicide rates increased everywhere in America. On average, across the U.S., suicides increased from 12.2 per 100,000 to 15.7 per 100,0001, an increase of just under 30%. However, in rural America, the suicide rate surged over 40%2, from just over 15 per 100,000 to roughly 22 per 100,000. Similarly, the suicide rate in micropolitan areas (defined as having a population between 10,000-49,999) went from 14 per 100,000 to 19 per 100,000, an increase of around 35%.”