Business and Economics

By  for the Buffer Blog

3810233454_10cbc36346Every day it seems like we feel hundreds of different emotions – each nuanced and specific to the physical and social situations we find ourselves in.

According to science, it’s not that complicated by a long shot. A new study says we’re really only capable of four “basic” emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted.

But much like the “mother sauces” of cooking allow you to make pretty much any kind of food under the sun, these four “mother emotions” meld together in myriad ways in our brains to create our layered emotional stews.

Robert Plutchik’s famous “wheel of emotions” shows just some of the well known emotional layers.

In this post we’ll take a close look at each of the four emotions, how they form in the brain and the way they can motivate us to surprising actions. Read More

By Susan Greenberg for Stanford GSB News

38301974_illustration [Converted]Americans have never been particularly good at saving money. In 2013, for example, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that Americans saved on average only 4.5% of their household income, while Europeans saved nearly 8% and Australians more than 11%. But according to a new study by Stanford Graduate School of Business researchers, there’s a way to change that: simply make people feel more powerful.

“When it comes to managing finances, it’s easy for people to feel overwhelmed and out of control,” says PhD student Emily Garbinsky. “How to help consumers regain control and make better decisions with their money is the focus of my work.” To do so, she relies on the strong relationship between money and power, investigating how feelings of power critically influence financial decision-making. She demonstrates, in collaboration with Stanford GSB professorJennifer Aaker and Anne-Kathrin Klesse of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, that making consumers feel more powerful increases their motivation to save.

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Self-compassion.   It took me more than 15 years after business school and some major setbacks to grasp this concept, a simple but powerful concept which would have made my life during that time so much happier and my struggles so much easier.

Vanessa Loder graduated exactly a decade later from the same school – Stanford University, but she learned this, and several other important things, much faster, which she writes about in this article below.

Not only that, she is bringing these lessons to other high-achieving women, teaching them “how to shift from overwhelm to ease”.  After a highly-coveted career in private equity, she founded Akoya Power and later co-founded Mindfulness Based Achievement, the New MBA, bridging business and technology with mindfulness and personal growth, to support overwhelmed women in giving themselves permission to create a fulfilling life based on their passions and values.

Mindfulness Based Achievement is offering its next online course starting on April 28th and in person program in San Francisco starting on May 6th.   Click for details.


7 Things I Wish I Learned in Business School


Vanessa Loder, Co-Founder, Mindfulness Based Achievement (“the New MBA”). She received her MBA from Stanford University and is trained in hypnosis and past life regression healing.

By Vanessa Loder


Would you spend $200,000 on something if it didn’t make you happier? As it turns out, you can invest over $200,000 all in on a top MBA program these days and while you will on average earn more and have a better network upon graduation, that $200,000 investment does not guarantee you will feel happier.

I had a truly wonderful experience at Stanford Business School and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. And, now that I’ve quit my “safe” job in private equity to run my own business teaching Mindfulness Based Achievement programs to people who want to create Success with Ease, I’ve learned that there are some universal principles that are highly effective at 1) increasing happiness and 2) increasing success – and, surprisingly, I was completely unaware of these concepts while I was at Stanford.

I believe learning these seven practices is the best investment any individual can make in her or his career, and the research backs me up:

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By Tim McCormick.

People crouch to collect leftover vegetables in Athens

People crouch to collect leftover vegetables in Athens. Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images via Guardian.

After hearing plenty about it, I’m reading the interesting 2013 book Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir (behavioral economist, Harvard, and cognitive scientist, Princeton, respectively).

I couldn’t help but notice that how I’m reading, and why I’m reading the book right now, are themselves an example of what the book talks about. First, in general, I have piles of books and articles I’m quite interested to read, along with many projects and tasks — I’m constantly aware of the scarcity of my time/attention, and puzzling over best methods to allocate scarce attention among them. Like the path of the righteous, this effort is beset on all sides by iniquities and the tyrannny of circumstance.

For example, the reason I chose to read Scarcity right now, above the other books on my reading pile, is I discovered it’s due back at the library, and couldn’t be renewed because others have requested it. So I both moved it to the top of my reading, and set out to read it quickly so as to return it in a day or two. Like the example at start of Scarcity about haggling over a tiny but unfair taxi overcharge, here my behavior is being altered all out of proportion to the trivial fee involved, which suggests distortion from scarcity. On the other hand, it’s focusing my attention, making me stick to finishing a good book, and transmitting to me a message that others value the good (why it can’t be renewed at library indefinitely)

This provides a tidy example of the complex ways various types of scarcity can affect us, and how it can both focus and distort our “mindset.” Mullainathan and Shafir propose that scarcity of many types has a common logic, and can be helpfully understood as the perceived lack of any resource — e.g. money, time, food, or the right to borrow further books at the library:

the feeling of scarcity depends on both what is available and on our own tastes…We let preferences be what they are and focus instead on the logic and the consequences of scarcity: What happens to our minds when we feel we have too little, and how does that shape our choices and our behaviors?…. Scarcity, in every form, creates a similar mindset.

The rest of the book studies that mindset, and might be summarized as follows:  Scarcity, defined as perceived lack of any resource, tends to lower bandwidth (mental/decision-making capacity) and lead to tunneling (short-term distorted focus). This tends to create a scarcity trap, or long-term continuation of perceived and/or actual scarcity. Read More

Formed in the spring of 2013, the Stanford Neurosciences Institute aims to solve problems of the brain. In this talk, Professor Bill Newsome discusses neuroscience’s implications in health, law and business.

Bill Newsome is the Harman Family Provostial Professor, the director of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute, and a professor of neurobiology and, by courtesy, of psychology. A leading investigator in sensory and cognitive neuroscience, he teaches graduate and medical courses in neuroscience, and co-teaches an undergraduate course on social and ethical issues in the neurosciences. Professor Newsome’s honors include the Rank Prize for Optoelectronics, the Spencer Award for highly original contributions to research in neurobiology, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, the Dan David Prize and the Karl Lashley Award of the American Philosophical Society.

Rhonda Shrader, published originally on Essinova Blog, March 19th, 2013

Swissnex San Francisco recently hosted a discussion between top scientists from the University of Geneva and Stanford on how neuroscience is changing the understanding of the mind and cognition, and the impact in other fields. The debate is part of an ongoing World Economic Forum series exploring the link between neuroscience, economics and policy.

Like every other science, neuroscience has its fashions. Two enormous theoretical projects have just been introduced–the EU’s Human Brain Project aiming to “simulate a complete human brain in a supercomputer” and the NIH’s $3B Brain Activity Map.On the non-theoretical, side, there is increasing interest in applied sciences such as behavioral economics and adaptive technologies.

Which approach will ultimately prove effective in the global quest to understand the brain? Three themes emerged from this lively debate. Read More

Scientific Learning

where neural understanding interacts with the rest of life

The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education

where neural understanding interacts with the rest of life

Musings on Memory and Aging

where neural understanding interacts with the rest of life

where neural understanding interacts with the rest of life

Stanford Center on Longevity

where neural understanding interacts with the rest of life

where neural understanding interacts with the rest of life