Leidy Klotz is the Copenhaver Associate Professor of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Virginia. His research fills in underexplored overlaps between engineering and behavioral science, in pursuit of more sustainable environmental systems. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles in venues that include top academic journals in built environment engineering, engineering education, and design, as well as imprints of both Science and Nature.

We explored the rarity of subtraction from our lives and the fact that we tend to add things much more than we remove things. Granted, we’ve been builders of things since the dawn of civilization, but when is enough, enough? Leidy suggested we begin any initiative by subtracting before we start adding.  

We traced the concept from Lao Tzu through DaVinci through Kurt Lewin and right up into today’s literature with Marie Kondo and Tim Ferriss. But Leidy’s thoughts are truly fresh because he is adding to this historical narrative with scientific data. He offered us fresh ways to think about this uphill battle with our natural desires. 

We also discussed Leidy’s view of the Planetary Tipping Point: where our very fixed-resource planet gets maxed out by humans with an unlimited desire for more. And we were pleased to talk about Kurt Lewin and his force-field analysis and, as you might expect, we enthusiastically discussed Bruce Springsteen as a prolific and gifted writer. 

We hope you enjoy our discussion with Leidy Klotz, and if you do, please leave us a quick review or join our Patreon team at https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves



Leidy Klotz, PhD: https://engineering.virginia.edu/faculty/leidy-klotz

Lego https://www.lego.com/en-us 

Harry Potter Lego Set - Hogwarts https://www.lego.com/en-us/search?q=harry%20potter%20hogwarts 

Wildlife Bingo https://www.nature-watch.com/wildlife-bingo-game-p-176.html 

Michael Jordan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jordan 

Bruce Springsteen https://brucespringsteen.net/ 

Mayan City of Coba https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coba 

Marie Kondo https://konmari.com/ 

Tim Ferris https://tim.blog/ 

Da Vinci https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_da_Vinci 

Lao Tzu https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laozi 

Bowerbird https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowerbird 

Allison Zelkowitz https://www.linkedin.com/in/allison-zelkowitz-197431a/?originalSubdomain=lb 

Chaning Jang https://www.busaracenter.org/staff-bios/chaning-8f39x 

Kurt Lewin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Lewin 

Kate Orff, Lexington Waterway Project https://www.scapestudio.com/people/kate-orff/ 

Dan Ariely “Predictably Irrational” https://danariely.com/books/predictably-irrational/ 

Roger Dooley “Friction” https://www.rogerdooley.com/books/friction/ 


Musical Links

Bruce Springsteen “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg0ekQBmzKs 

Bruce Springsteen “Born In The USA”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPhWR4d3FJQ 

Bruce Springsteen “Western Stars” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IXzAAKrsFE 

Bruce Springsteen “Letter to You” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQyLEz0qy-g 



3:20 Leidy’s 6-year-old son answers a speed round question

4:34 Speed round with Leidy

7:14 Leidy’s book - Subtraction

13:00 “More-ality”

24:00 Planetary tipping points

26:15 Kurt Lewin force field theory

29:28 Kate Orff Lexington Waterways Project

33:40 Subtraction checklist

37:57 Springsteen

45:24 Grooving


Interview Quotes

(8:10) we're doing these mental searches for solutions, and our mind goes to additive solutions before it goes to subtractive ones. 

(12:01) as people are trying to change things from how they are to how they want them to be, we systematically think of adding first and then, only subsequently or with effort or with reminders, think of subtraction

(35:15) so often we kind of come to a problem and don't actually spend time defining what the what the problem is, right

(9:51)  My favorite is Lao Tzu, even farther back talking about, to gain wisdom, you have to subtract something every day.

Rohit Bhargava is on a mission to help everyone in the world become a non-obvious thinker. In this episode, he talks with us about how intentionality is the key to seeing the non-obvious and how he uses The Haystack Method to gather insights from the world. He also shared how he has become a speed-understander and the benefits that go with it.

In 2011, Rohit embarked on the annual task of documenting the digital trends of the year, which after a decade, culminated in his book on megatrends in 2021 #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of seven books including “Non-Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future” https://amzn.to/3mpkJgn. Rohit discusses with us how he analyses trends, not just on the superficial level, but digging deeper into the “why” question.

Our conversation with Rohit is full of compelling insights about the human condition, unique analysis of the world around us, and actionable tips on how to train yourself to observe with intention. You’ll also get a quick education in contemporary Latin music and some head-scratching about why He-Man ever became a superhero in the first place.

Two of Rohit’s books are currently being republished into new editions; 

If you’re a regular Behavioral Grooves listener, please consider supporting us through Patreon. Thank you! https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves


Rohit Bhargava: https://www.rohitbhargava.com/ 

Isaac Asimov: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Asimov  

Ali Pittampalli “Persuadable”: https://www.alpitt.com/ 

Henry Coutinho-Mason “The Future Normal”: https://henrycoutinho-mason.com/ 

Maysoon Zayid: https://maysoon.com/ 

Telemundo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telemundo 

Dan Simons Invisible Gorilla video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGQmdoK_ZfY 

Tom Cruise “Cocktail”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YbjzztYbUo 

He-Man: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/He-Man 

Telemachus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telemachus 

Meave Leakey: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meave_Leakey 

Dan Hill - Episode 151: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/dan-hill-phd-on-the-facial-coding-of-trump-hendrix-prince-gretzky-and-the-beatles/ 

Hedgefox: https://www.russellsage.org/sites/default/files/Vohs_intro_0.pdf 


The Non-Obvious Guide to Virtual Meetings and Remote Work (Non-Obvious Guides):


The Non-Obvious Guide to Marketing & Branding (Without a Big Budget) (Non-Obvious Guides): https://amzn.to/3moIllg 

Non Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future (Non-Obvious Trends Series): https://amzn.to/3mpkJgn  

Musical Links

Neil Peart (Rush): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Peart 

Fanny Lu: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A1grimas_C%C3%A1lidas 

Maná “Rayando del Sol”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tY3O_Fbfjjs 

Carlos Vives “Cumbiana”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baUk9YcCxBQ 

Carlos Vives & Shakira “”La Bibcicleta”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UV0QGLmYys 

Juaness “Es Por Ti | One World: Together” At Home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pgvjxtHBOg

Coffitivity: https://soundcloud.com/coffitivity 


6:37 Trends vs Fads

11:10 Haystack Method

13:18 Trends

19:15 Brave Enough to Change Your Mind

28:00 Non Obvious Brand

30:28 Spare Time

35:30 Rohit’s Inspiration

40:45 The Yellow Balloon Light Bulb

45:04 Naming

47:14 He-Man


(6:37) ...trend is something that implicates behavior, which is very topical for us. And whereas a fad is just usually a thing or a platform, but doesn't always correlate to behavior.

(7:55) ...a speed understander is someone who thinks about what to pay attention to as an end is intentional about what they choose not to pay attention to.

(10:55) ...if you spend enough time gathering interesting, fascinating stories, instead of obsessing about why they're interesting or fascinating in the moment, then later on, you can start to spot the patterns that you would never have otherwise seen.

(16:37) ...being observant is not a skill you're born with, or not born with. Being observant is a choice.

(19:45)...being persuadable requires You to rethink those things, those assumptions, those points of view that you have. And I think the only way that anyone can do that is by not letting themselves be defined by the stands that they have taken. Because the more you see a stand that you've taken, or a belief or something that you've put out in the world as core to your identity, the less likely you are to change.

(20:07) ...the more you see a stand that you've taken, or a belief or something that you've put out in the world as core to your identity, the less likely you are to change


Tim Ash is a very interesting guy. He is both an authority on evolutionary psychology and digital marketing, which puts him in pretty rarified air. He is the bestselling author of Unleash Your Primal Brain and Landing Page Optimization (with over 50,000 copies sold worldwide and translated into six languages). He has been identified by Forbes as a Top-10 Online Marketing Expert, and by Entrepreneur Magazine as an Online Marketing Influencer To Watch.

Our conversation with Tim focused on his most recent book, Unleash Your Primal Brain, and addressed a question very central to behavioral science today: What is rational? This led to addressing how biases and heuristics are grounded in important evolutionary foundations. Tim likens the way we talk about biases today as glitches in the matrix when we should be acknowledging them for what they are: important evolutionary tools to help us survive our environments and thrive in our tribes.

We also discussed the importance of culture and its central focus on the way humans learn to be human. A paradox we discussed is that culture is dependent on tribe members passing down the cultural (social) norms to the next generation without interruption, and yet cross-tribal collaboration is what has given us an evolutionary edge. Tim notes, that what we need to do today is to “stretch beyond our current tribes needs to go and make the effort to contact other people that are very different from us.” And the consequences of not doing that, according to Tim, “ …are going to be the ones that are going to bring down the larger society.” Fascinating stuff.

We hope you’ll find this conversation with this insightful researcher and speaker as exciting as we did. And if you do like it, please give us a quick 5-star rating or a two-sentence review. And thank you for listening to Behavioral Grooves.

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves



Tim Ash: https://timash.com/

“Primal Brain”: https://timash.com/books-and-media-mentions/

Latin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin

Robert Sapolsky: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Sapolsky

Aristotle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle

Hopper: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopper_(particulate_collection_container)

Carl Sagan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan

Neil deGrasse Tyson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_deGrasse_Tyson

Robert Cialdini: https://www.influenceatwork.com/

Robert Heinlein: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_A._Heinlein

Antonio Damasio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Damasio

Carlos Castaneda “Journey to Ixtlan”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_to_Ixtlan

“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen_and_the_Art_of_Motorcycle_Maintenance

Sabre fencing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabre_(fencing)

Tai Chi: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tai_chi

Kung Fu: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_martial_arts

Don Miguel Ruiz “The Four Agreements”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Agreements

Bhagavad Gita: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhagavad_Gita

Coleman’s Boat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGaz0xKG060


Musical Links

Pat Metheny Group “Last Train Home”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goXJTv_U-PM

Chet Baker “Almost Blue”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4IridL_2XU

Elvis Costello “Almost Blue”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qt8f1Sda8_4

Miles Davis “So What”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqNTltOGh5c

Salsa “Al Monte”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2JnyCuAQMg

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