Monday, August 12, 2013

The Wife of Jeff Bezos as a Behavioral Economist

FT's Lucy Kellaway reports:
When I heard Jeff Bezos had bought The Washington Post my mind skipped – as it always does when I hear his name – to socks and vitamin pills.
Fifteen years ago I interviewed the founder of Amazon – then a relatively tiny company worth a mere $6bn – over a croissant in a London hotel. It did not go terribly well as the entrepreneur was itching for the interview to be over so he could get back to selling books. On either side of him sat a minder, one of whom was holding a tape recorder. 
Just as my time was up, Mr Bezos took out a little plastic bag containing five pills, which he proceeded to swallow. He explained that when he travels, his wife inserts vitamin pills into his socks. She packs one pair of socks for every day he is away and slips a bag of tablets into each – on the principle that she trusts him to change his socks daily but not to take his vitamins. “She doesn’t want me to die,” he said, and let out one of his crazy laughs. “Ah! ha! ha! ha! ha!”
Note as I have already discussed, the science of behavioral economics is different from the science of economics. They should not be considered one and the same.

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