*Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing*

The authors are Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman and the Amazon link is here.  If you’re like me, by this point you have “popular behavioral economics book” fatigue.  Still, I bought and read this one through.  It doesn’t fall into the “designed to erase all doubts” category, but still it has some interesting ideas which you won’t find in the other popular behavioral economics books.  I am glad I bought and read it.  Here is one bit:

…Fehr also noticed a difference between children who’s grown up as siblings and those who were only children.  Contrary to the presumption that only children are more selfish than children raised in larger families, Fehr found the onlies to be the more cooperative and selfless.  They were completely untroubled by handing over toys to another child, whereas the siblings flatly refused.  Fehr came to the conclusion that the onlies didn’t know to be competitive because they’d never had to compete…They weren’t afraid of sharing toys, because they didn’t understand if you gave Barbie to another child, she might come back missing her leg or head.

It is claimed that, between the ages of three and seven, siblings clash 3.5 times per hour, on average (unless you are in the Caplan household).

Here is another interesting section:

…one study of every single pitch thrown during the 2005/2006 Major League Baseball season — some 1, 374,923 pitches — showed that most MLB pitchers are secretly prevention-focused.  As they get closer to finishing out innings, their pitch locations become more conservative.  A similar study of over 2 million PGA tour putts showed that pro golfers tend to leave it short as the stakes and pressure rise.


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