March 24, 2020

Covid-19 Crisis: James Brewer on Changing His Mind

James Brewer is the Director of Marketing Platforms and Global Customer Operations for Eli Lilly and Company.  Over the years, Kurt and Tim have worked with James on applying behavioral science insights to his work, and many of his colleagues’ work, at Eli Lilly. James is an avid behavioral science practitioner and also a friend.

We started our discussion with James about how his views have shifted from being someone who thought the media was overhyping the pandemic, to being someone who is taking the threat from the coronavirus very seriously. This naturally integrated James’s personal story of being a life-long learner and how he approaches new information.

We also discussed some of the potentially unintended consequences of the pandemic – which might include better cleanliness habits for many people – and James’ optimistic take on the future that lies on the other side of the pandemic.


Connect with Kurt and Tim:

Kurt Nelson, PhD: @WhatMotivates  e-mail:

Tim Houlihan: @THoulihan  e-mail:

Lantern Group:


Behavioral Grooves:

Weekly Grooves:

Common Biases & Heuristics:


General Coronavirus Info:

Daily Newsletter Summarizing data from Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security:


Great videos on the science behind this by Dr. Peter Attia – this is the first in a series:

What is herd immunity?


Coronavirus & Behavioral Science:

Selected Links: The Behavioral Sice of Coronavirus:

Why no one is reading your coronavirus email:

Handwashing can stop a virus, so why don’t we do it?:

The behavioral science of handwashing:


How we can cope or be better during this crisis:

Tip Sheet from HUMU:

Resources for learning at home:


General Behavioral Science and other info related or talked about in the series:

Common Biases and Heuristics:

Jonathan Haidt – 5 Moral Foundations:

Jürgen Klopp:

UBI (Universal Basic Income):

7-Minute Workout:

4 Drive Model:

Universal Basic Income:

Why we are not going back to normal:

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