Payoff – and legacy

While I’m not a big fan of new year’s resolutions, the end of a year and beginning of a new one always creates a pause for reflection. In 2017, I really didn’t read enough books – it’s surprising, given how much I love reading, but also not surprising, given that the year was spent so much in operational start-up mode.
I spent way too much time reading itty bitty articles – and “getting stuff done” and not enough indepth, lose-yourself-in-a-book kind of reading. So I’m going to try, in 2018, to read more. And even more. I (always!) have a vast reading list – and I’m starting to use Blinkist for summaries as a start, and also Audible of course, to help “reading” on the go, but I still want to immerse myself in a good book more often than I did last year.

My first over the holiday period was Payoff, by Dan Ariely. Not a new book, but I didn’t get the chance to read it last year.

From his own description of the book …
From the boardroom to the living room, our role as motivators is complex, and the more we try to motivate partners and children, friends and coworkers, the clearer it becomes that the story of motivation is far more intricate and fascinating than we’ve assumed.

And a quote from the book itself:

Read more here –

While all the usual stuff about unusual motivators was interesting (although it didn’t feel so new, so perhaps I had actually read some of it before) one of the things that really stayed with me was about our motivation as humans to leave a legacy. To feel important.
Now being in the business of insurance and particularly #insurtech with a focus on #socialgood, I’m always wondering how we best talk to people as human beings, rather than just potential customers. Our social purpose at Simply, is really driven by our collective desire to do something good while we make money. For-good and for-profit makes for good social impact.

I found myself also struck by Dan Ariely’s honesty about his experience of severe burns in his youth and how much he learned through these experiences. Honestly, it made me want to meet the man. I’ve always found his musings interesting (I discovered him through Lemonade), but after his book, I realised he has more depth to him than just a professor of interesting theoretical ideas – and I suspect an evening around a table with a few glasses of wine would be utterly fascinating. The most interesting people I’ve met have usually been through their own version of hell and learned a lot from it, with insights about Life that are well worth heeding.
Perhaps one day I’ll have that glass of wine with him, who knows.

Another particular nugget was a story Ariely told near the end about a woman who was also in the burns ward at the time he was, named Sarah. She overcame her melancholy and self obsession about her own painful experience by connecting with others, and arguably doing some good for them. There is so much that is so powerful in doing something for others. Especially when it is for no gain yourself. Truly there are times when it is better to give than to receive.

One of my favourite highlights from Payoff

One of my favourite highlights from Payoff