Never Mind the πολυμαθής

This month I launched this, my first website, and it was a great experience to create it from scratch. I confess I didn’t do the ‘technical’ bit, preferring to stick to ideas, layout and content, and the whole process was hugely beneficial, for me at least, in crystallising my thoughts and indeed compartmentalising areas of my life that I hope will be of interest to anyone interested in Behavioural Economics. (I owe many thanks to my talented Deal-based website designer, Pat Wilson, a paradigm of creativity, patience, common sense and good humour. I couldn’t recommend her highly enough.)

One of the joys for me about Behavioural Economics is the fact that it is not something found in a dusty academic textbook but instead refers to real people in the real world. And there are myriad sources for inspiration and I am reminded of Robert Shiller’s comment when he met his fellow economic Nobel Prize winners (including Eugene Fama), that “I was the most willing of the three of us to incorporate ideas about non-rational or irrational behaviour from other social sciences: psychology, sociology, political science and anthropology.”

I like and aspire to the approach of a polymath (Wiki: Greek: πολυμαθής, polymathēs, “having learned much” – a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems) and to Shiller’s list I would personally add disciplines including history, philosophy, and even magic.

I have tried to incorporate such thinking into the website, not least as a way of putting into context one year of my ‘new life’ of public speaking, coaching and consultancy after 27 years of working for three brilliant firms – Schroders, PIMCO and Goldman Sachs Asset Management. There’s some fun stuff dotted around as well, alongside lots of book recommendations and links to relevant twitter feeds and websites. Incidentally the most interesting book I have read this year is Jules Evans’ Philosophy of Life and Other Dangerous Situations. With a deliciously light touch, the author explores how Stoicism and other ancient philosophies are highly relevant to our 21st century lives and well-being.

The website – please have a look around if you get a chance. Above all, I hope it conveys my conviction that understanding the principles of Behavioural Economics provides both valuable insights and a strong competitive advantage to those firms and individuals who embrace it, whether in executive decision-making, investment, sales, marketing or in society at large.

The meaning of communication lies in the response it gets, so it’s irrelevant what I think of my website or Behavioural Economics – the only thing that matters is your response.

I hope our paths cross sooner rather than later, especially if you are a polymath.