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EP 258 Book Club Series: Don't Trust your Gut by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

bold goal crusher podcast podcast Jun 13, 2024

Welcome to the Bold Goal Crusher Podcast Blog!

For anyone looking to stop letting life get in the way and start crushing bold goals, you’ve come to the right place. I'm your host, Sara Mayer, and today I am thrilled to take you on a journey through our recent book club pick: “Don’t Trust Your Gut: Using Data to Get What You Really Want in Life” by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. 

The Essence of Bold Decision-Making

In this book club episode, we delved into how data, rather than intuition, can guide us toward better decisions in life. Many of us have often been told to trust our gut, but the research presented by Seth suggests otherwise. He emphasizes that trusting our gut can often lead to poor decisions or procrastination. 

Why Data Over Intuition?

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a former Google data scientist and a New York Times bestselling writer, uses data to explore how people make decisions. His primary assertion is that big decisions in our lives become less daunting and more sound when bolstered by data rather than intuition. 

Here’s what the book covers: 

- How data can help with personal choices, relationships, career decisions, and personal habits. 

- Practical tips for making data-driven decisions. 

- How measuring subjective aspects like happiness can be grounded in data. 

Debunking Cognitive Biases

One of the key takeaways from the book is understanding the flaws in our intuition: 

- We tend to be overly optimistic. 

- We overestimate the prevalence of memorable stories. 

- We latch onto information that aligns with our beliefs. 

- We believe we can explain inherently unpredictable events. 

By acknowledging these cognitive biases, we can recognize the dangers of relying solely on gut feelings and begin to incorporate data into our decision-making processes. 

The Importance of Data in Life Decisions

Seth provides numerous examples where data proves more reliable than gut feelings. For instance, in romantic relationships, the book suggests that we often are not the best judges of finding compatible partners. Instead, data can provide a more objective standpoint. 

He further includes several quizzes, such as the attachment test, the conscientiousness quiz, and the growth mindset quiz, which can help in evaluating decisions more accurately. 

Business and Money: Busting Myths with Data

Seth presents fascinating insights into wealth and success: 

- Wealthy Americans are not necessarily happier. 

- Success doesn't always stem from being exceptional; those who have failed often have an edge in entrepreneurship due to their resilience. 

- The Mona Lisa effect, the Da Vinci effect, the Springsteen rule, and Picasso's rule are all discussed to illustrate how unpredictable events can massively influence success. 

Happiness and Pleasure

An interesting part of the book evaluates happiness during various activities: 

- Highest: Intimacy, dining out, attending concerts, and visiting museums or exhibitions. 

- Lowest: Being sick in bed, working or studying, and commuting. 

It’s a varied list, reaffirming the importance of using data to understand what truly makes us happy. 

A Constructive Critique

While the book is full of valuable data and insights, it lacks detailed guidance on how to apply this data in making personal decisions. It would have been beneficial for Seth to include practical steps for implementing data-driven decision-making in everyday life. 

What’s Next in Our Book Club?

Our upcoming read for July is **"On Your Best Behavior: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to Be Good"** by Eloise Lohan. It's a hefty book at around 400 pages, but it promises to be an interesting read. Join our book club for an engaging discussion at 


As we wrap up this blog post, I encourage you all to think critically about the decisions you make daily. Use data to measure your progress and validate your choices. Don't just rely on your gut; quantify your life and happiness to truly crush your goals without working double time. 

Let’s get out there and crush our goals, Bold Goal Crushers!



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