How to Spot a Liar

Let's talk about Pamela Meyer's TED talk: How to Spot a Liar

This talk has got a lot of information in it. As you listen, pick out the one or two things that really catch your attention, and we'll talk about those things. See you tonight!

Being Authentic

Tonight we're going to discuss Ash Beckham's talk, "When to take a stand and when to let it go."

The main theme of her talk is that human beings are more than one thing at a time, and acknowledging this is one way to be really human. I think this is one of the main cultural differences between the US and Taiwan. I feel that in Taiwan that it is culturally normal to be more than one thing at a time, and to have more than one idea about the world at a time. I think this is one of Taiwan's greatest strengths. So, let's talk about what is being an authentic human being, according to different cultures.

You Become What You Do

Let's talk about Barry Schwartz' TED talk: The way we think about work is broken.

"And that's how the industrial revolution created a factory system in which there was really nothing you could possibly get out of your day's work, except for the pay at the end of the day. Because the father -- one of the fathers of the Industrial Revolution, Adam Smith -- was convinced that human beings were by their very natures lazy, and wouldn't do anything unless you made it worth their while, and the way you made it worth their while was by incentivizing, by giving them rewards. That was the only reason anyone ever did anything. So we created a factory system consistent with that false view of human nature. But once that system of production was in place, there was really no other way for people to operate, except in a way that was consistent with Adam Smith's vision. So the work example is merely an example of how false ideas can create a circumstance that ends up making them true.

It is not true that you "just can't get good help anymore." It is true that you "can't get good help anymore" when you give people work to do that is demeaning and soulless. And interestingly enough, Adam Smith -- the same guy who gave us this incredible invention of mass production, and division of labor -- understood this. He said, of people who worked in assembly lines, of men who worked in assembly lines, he says: "He generally becomes as stupid as it is possible for a human being to become." Now, notice the word here is "become." "He generally becomes as stupid as it is possible for a human being to become." Whether he intended it or not, what Adam Smith was telling us there, is that the very shape of the institution within which people work creates people who are fitted to the demands of that institution and deprives people of the opportunity to derive the kinds of satisfactions from their work that we take for granted."