If you’re like the rest of us, your new year’s resolutions don’t last beyond St. Valentine’s Day. That’s okay – it’s normal. The trouble is it’s not what you want.

If you WANT success with your resolutions – to accomplish your goals – then listen to this podcast. We’ve broken down the best behavioral science advice into 4 easy-to-follow tips that will help you achieve what it is you’re passionately committed to at the start of the year.

We’ve incorporated research from some of the best work in the field is combined with the real-life experiences of our hosts, Kurt Nelson, PhD, and Tim Houlihan. Enjoy and please join us in saying “So long!” to 2020 with our last episode of the year.

If you like our work, please give us a super quick rating or take a luxurious minute while you’re waiting for the oven to heat up for your holiday bake and give us a short review. Thank you and we look forward to a better year ahead.

© 2020 Behavioral Grooves


Max Bazerman is the Jesse Isidor Strauss Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and is the author of “Better, Not Perfect.” It is the latest in a string of 21 books Max has authored and stands on the platform of hundreds of peer-reviewed papers on decision-making, negotiations, and ethics.

Max began by discussing the Myth of the Fixed Pie problem, which is quite common in negotiations. The Myth of the Fixed Pie indicates that we tend to rely on the way a problem is initially framed rather than thinking beyond it. We also talked about the importance of using our time wisely by being conscious of the things and experiences we focus on.

Max’s worldview seems to be stitched together with the thread of human kindness. We found him, and our conversation with him, to be incredibly inspiring. Even though we caught up with Max early in the Fall, we felt so much joy and optimism in our conversation, that we decided to conclude 2020 with Max’s take on how much better humanity – not just everyone, but you and I individually, too – can be, if we just pay attention to our decisions

We hope you enjoy our conversation with Max and if you liked it, please give us a quick rating or a review. Thanks for a good year, Groovers, and now on to 2021

© 2020 Behavioral Grooves



Max Bazerman: https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=6420

Bazerman “Better, Not Perfect”: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/better-not-perfect-max-h-bazerman?variant=32129879736354

Bazerman “The Power of Noticing”: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Power-of-Noticing/Max-Bazerman/9781476700304

Silver Oak Cabernet – Alexander Valley: https://silveroak.com/shop/category/wine/alexander-valley/

Sam Smith chocolate stout: https://www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk/shop/bottles/stout-bottles/organic-chocolate-stout/

David Messick: https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/directory/messick_david_m.aspx

Ann Tenbrunsel: https://mendoza.nd.edu/mendoza-directory/profile/?slug=ann-tenbrunsel

Mazarin Bhanaji: https://psychology.fas.harvard.edu/people/mahzarin-r-banaji

Dolly Chugh: https://www.stern.nyu.edu/faculty/bio/dolly-chugh

Chugh “The Person You Want to Be”: http://www.dollychugh.com/book

Jeremy Bentham: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/bentham/

John Stuart Mill: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mill/

Peter Singer: https://petersinger.info/

Josh Greene: https://psychology.fas.harvard.edu/people/joshua-d-greene

Greene “Moral Tribes”: https://www.joshua-greene.net/moral-tribes

Utilitarianism: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/utilitarianism-history/

Mort Seligman Learned Helplessness Lab: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness

Robert McCollum, Department of Justice: https://casetext.com/case/mccollum-v-secy-of-health-human-servs-1

Matt Meyers: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/GO/GO05/20190725/109846/HHRG-116-GO05-Wstate-MyersM-20190725.pdf

Kahneman & Tversky: https://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/prospect.htm

Thaler & Sunstein: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nudge_(book)

Effective Altruism: https://www.effectivealtruism.org/

Givewell.org: https://www.givewell.org/

David Ricardo – Comparative Advantage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage


Musical Links

Aoife O'Donovan“Oh, Mama”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSmZCCtyq3Q

Tracy Grammar “If I Needed You”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOXSc0N1AH4

Simon & Garfunkel “Sound of Silence”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwP3vPQi0nI

Simon & Garfunkel with Andy Williams “Scarborough Fair”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_T7HgZKZjo

Scarborough Fair / Canticle - Jadyn Rylee, Sina and Charlotte Zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAlys2LOX5Q

Joan Baez “Blowin in the Wind”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBP59jSU4Ag

Tom Rush “No Regrets”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pxEKfEBOWM

Carole King “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOyvYnkdEcc

Crooked Still “Little Sadie”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uRAHnRoWts

This is THE episode to listen to if you have missed the last 90 episodes.

We can all agree that 2020 has been one hell of a year. Many people have been severely impacted by the pandemic, by financial uncertainty, with civil unrest, and the general malaise that the year seemed to have. Many are excited to say, “Good riddance!” The same goes for us, but Kurt and Tim have also used 2020 to surpass several milestones that we’d like to share with you.

  • #1 Best Behavioral Science Podcast as voted by listeners of Habit Weekly (which was very, very cool – thank you to everyone who voted for us – we are humbled!)
  • Global Top 20 Behavioral Science Podcast by Chartable
  • 90 episodes this year (started with Rory at 107, will end with New Year’s Resolutions at 197)
  • 72 unique guests
  • 120 countries download Behavioral Grooves
  • 3rd year in a row of fantastic growth (110% growth this year over last year)
  • 30 episodes dedicated to putting a behavioral science lens on the coronavirus pandemic

This episode is a rear-view mirror glance at some of our favorite conversations from 2020. We’ve included great quotes from terrific guests – in their own voices – so you can get a quick feel for what Behavioral Grooves is all about.

And we are pushing full steam ahead into 2021 with plans for more remarkable insights from amazing guests, more grooving sessions on topical issues from Kurt and Tim, and a couple of new series that will bring applied behavioral science to you in ways that will enrich your personal and professional life.

© 2020 Behavioral Grooves



Kurt Nelson, PhD: @motivationguru

Tim Houlihan: @THoulihan

Behavioral Grooves: https://behavioralgrooves.com/

Nudge.It North Conference: https://www.nudgeitnorth.com/

Habit Weekly: https://www.habitweekly.com/

Annie Duke – Episode 176: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/annie-duke-on-how-to-decide/

Max Bazerman – Episode not yet published:

Gary Latham – Episode 147: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/gary-latham-phd-goal-setting-prompts-priming-and-skepticism/

Ryan McShane – Episode 191: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/evolving-hr-using-behavioral-science-with-ryan-mcshane/

Chiara Varazzani – Episode 118: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/chiara-varazzani-behavioral-science-needs-more-neuroscience/

Roy Baumeister – Episode 171: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/self-control-belonging-and-why-your-most-dedicated-employees-are-the-ones-to-watch-out-for-with-roy-baumeister/

Eric Oliver – Episode 172: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/how-to-talk-to-your-friends-about-their-conspiracy-theories-with-eric-oliver/

Bill von Hippel – Episode 187: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/bill-von-hippel-on-the-social-leap-context-and-max-weinberg/

Amy Bucher – Episode 192: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/amy-bucher-on-participatory-design-trust-and-engaging-your-audience/

Jessica Mayhew – Episode 179: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/play-reciprocity-and-context-the-keys-to-happy-communities-with-jessica-mayhew/

Eli Finkel – Episode 174: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/secrets-to-a-successful-marriage-with-eli-finkel/

Steve Martin & Joe Marks – Episode 110: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/steve-martin-and-joe-marks-the-messenger-is-the-message/

John Bargh – Episode 155: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/john-bargh-dante-coffee-and-the-unconscious-mind/

Kwame Christian – Episode 178: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/kwame-christian-on-compassionate-curiosity-social-justice-conversations-and-cinnamon-toast-crunch/

Rory Sutherland – Episode 107: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/rory-sutherland-the-opposite-of-a-good-idea-is-a-good-idea/


© 2020 Behavioral Grooves

Pretty much everyone around the world agrees that 2020 was a challenging year and we’re glad it’s all but over. However, 2020 was a year we upped the number of guests (to 90), upped our reading habits (20+ books for the show), and had more authors as guests than in any previous year.

In short, Kurt and Tim read a lot of new books. And because we read bunches of them, we’re here to save you time by offering you our view of the top 10 books – 5 from Kurt and 5 from Tim – on behavioral science from 2020. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did – and as always, let us know what you think!

For quick reference, here’s our list with links for your enjoyment. And here’s to happy reading in 2021!

Top Book List from Kurt

  1. “Behave,” by Robert Sapolsky: https://amzn.to/3p5MJWF
  2. “Good Habits, Bad Habits,” by Wendy Wood: https://amzn.to/3p6v1lK
  3. “Scarcity,” by Eldar Shafir and Sendhil Mullainathan: https://amzn.to/3nsMS62
  4. “Think Like a Rocket Scientist,” Ozan Varol: https://amzn.to/34n8OI7
  5. “Before You Know It,” by John Bargh: https://amzn.to/3r7SbtT

Top Book List from Tim

  1. “How to Decide,” by Annie Duke: https://amzn.to/38nHsmK
  2. “Behavioral Insights,” by Michael Hallsworth and Elspeth Kirkman: https://amzn.to/2WsJ1Kr
  3. “Alchemy,” by Rory Sutherland: https://amzn.to/2LEwRfd
  4. “Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don’t, and Why,” by Steve Martin & Joe Marks: https://amzn.to/38gRHsH
  5. Unleash Your Primal Brain,” by Tim Ash: https://amzn.to/3gYM1rr


Honorable Mentions

  • “Elevate,” by Robert Glazer
  • “Designing for Behavior Change,” by Steve Wendel
  • “Invisible Influences,” by Jonah Berger
  • “White Fragility,” Robin DeAngelo
  • “The All-Or-Nothing Marriage: How the Best Marriages Work,” by Eli Finkel
  • The Power of Bad,” by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney
  • “Better, Not Perfect,” by Max Bazerman
  • “Time Smart,” by Ashley Whillans
  • “Blindsight: the mostly hidden ways marketing shapes our brains,” by Prince Ghuman and Matt Johnson

Thanks for listening and we hope you find your groove with these books!

© 2020 Behavioral Grooves

Are the new COVID-19 vaccines are safe? It will probably take time to know for sure; however, this week Kurt and Tim discuss the behavioral aspects of the transition. Kurt was engaged by an article in Bloomberg called “Vaccines May Have Social Side Effects,” by Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at George Mason University.

Professor Cowen raised the idea that the mere presence of vaccines may give people an unwarranted boost in confidence and lead to less mask-wearing and social distancing.

In this 8-and-a-half-minute grooving session, we discuss some of the behavioral aspects of the transition.

© 2020 Behavioral Grooves



“Vaccines May Have social Side Effects”: https://www.startribune.com/vaccines-may-have-social-side-effects/573096121/?refresh=true

How a Covid-19 Vaccine Could End Up Helping the Virus Spread: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-11/if-we-re-not-careful-a-vaccine-might-help-covid-19-spread


Amy Bucher, PhD is the Vice President of Behavior Change Design at Mad*Pow and the author of “Engaged” a new book on how to apply behavioral science to the design and development of products. At Mad*Pow, she designs motivating interventions to help people live healthier and happier lives and, in her spare time, knocks 150 books off her reading list every year. (OMG!)

Amy was recently recognized as one of 10 behavioral scientists you should know in Forbes magazine. While we did spend a bit of time on the article and her work at Mad*Pow, most of our conversation focused on the book.

We talked about motivation and the incredible power that idiosyncratic messaging can have on customers when used properly by marketing and sales. We also discussed participatory design, trust, and how important it is for product developers and marketers to demonstrate trust.

She also offered her thoughts on how designers need to do a better job of integrating behavioral science into their products. Some are doing it, but there are lots of opportunities for improvement Amy offered some ideas on this.

Lastly, we want to note that Amy wrote that one of the most important reminders for the corporate world: Almost everything a designer makes has behavior change built into it. The smart designers will be thinking about that as they design their products (or enhancements).

We hope you enjoy this conversation with Amy as much as we did and hope that this week, you find your groove.

© 2020 Behavioral Grooves


Amy Bucher, PhD: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amybucher/

“Engaged”: https://amzn.to/3BkG1mb 

“Super Better” by Jane McGonigal: https://amzn.to/2YwILOY 

“Atomic Habits” by James Clear: https://amzn.to/3ad9Nxn 

Forbes Article: “Top Behavioral Scientists You Should Know”: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alineholzwarth/2020/10/29/10-behavioral-scientists-you-should-know/?sh=72ddbe3c42e0

Pattern Health: https://pattern.health/

Ran Kivetz, PhD “Idiosyncratic Fit”: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/publications/idiosyncratic-fit-heuristic-effort-advantage-determinant-consumer

Peppers & Rogers 1:1 Marketing: https://hbr.org/1999/01/is-your-company-ready-for-one-to-one-marketing

McDonald’s milkshake innovation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Stc0beAxavY

Adam Hansen: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adhansen/

Bent Handle Snow Shovel: https://www.acehardware.com/departments/lawn-and-garden/snow-removal-and-equipment/snow-shovels-and-pushers/7200439


Musical Links

R.E.M. “Losing My Religion”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwtdhWltSIg

Michael Stipe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Stipe

Britney Spears: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-u5WLJ9Yk4

Robyn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcNo07Xp8aQ

The Doves “There Goes The Fear”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SneuvKIkM3A

Pulp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuTMWgOduFM

Manchester Orchestra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ui9umU0C2g

Depeche Mode “Personal Jesus”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1xrNaTO1bI

Ryan McShane is the President and CEO of HR Evolution, a consultancy that designs systems that support employee alignment to organizational purpose through HR best practices, organizational development initiatives, and professional development solutions.

We discussed a variety of HR related topics including psychological safety, emotional intelligence, and what can be done when it comes to improving the mindset of leaders. Ryan stressed that WIIFM (what’s in it for me) is central to the impetus to change at all levels of the organization.

Plus, he offered a particularly cool insight: Change comes about when the pain of staying the same is higher than doing something different.

We also discussed how the social contract between the employer and the employee has changed dramatically. And we got to hear Ryan’s rationale for being so optimistic about a future where employers need to put forth extra effort to attract and retain the best and brightest workers. It got us thinking: could the growing gig economy actually offer more value to the employees than the employers?

Lastly, we appreciated Ryan’s approach to working through the pandemic and the reminder that intimidation and scare tactics have no place in today’s workplace. Frederick Taylor’s vision of work should be a thing of the past. Period.

We hope you enjoy our conversation with this very bright behavioral science practitioner, and as always, let us know what you think!

© 2020 Behavioral Grooves



Ryan McShane: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-mcshane-743382a/

Ryan’s email: rmcshane@hrevolutionllc.com

HR Evolution: https://hrevolutionllc.com/

Zappos: https://www.zappos.com/

US Census Bureau Pulse Surveys: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/household-pulse-survey/data.html

Schumann Resonance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schumann_resonances#:~:text=The%20Schumann%20resonances%20(SR)%20are,Earth's%20surface%20and%20the%20ionosphere.  

Fredrick Taylor: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Winslow_Taylor

Muir Woods: https://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm


Musical Links

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xTHMDrRUKo

Grateful Dead “Ripple”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yJmBC7cMTM

Nirvana “About a Girl”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_24pJQUj7zg

Radio Head “Hail to the Thief”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MdwaUtW_D4 

Smashing Pumpkins: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Smashing_Pumpkins 

432 Hertz Music (Musik): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg1_DXazvKI

JS Bach “Brandenburg Concerto No. 3”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdsyNwUoON0

Linda Diaz “Green Tea Ice Cream”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ursri8GmlW4

“Sunny Side of the Street”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn3soYbSpS4

Fabiano de Nascimento: https://www.npr.org/2020/07/02/885766987/fabiano-do-nascimento-tiny-desk-home-concert

Depeche Mode: http://www.depechemode.com/

Nine Inch Nails: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Inch_Nails

Trent Reznor: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trent_Reznor

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