Book: scarcity

Insightful about human behavior. it starts strong, but second half reads flat and chaotic.

The main concepts are scarcity, bandwidth, focus, and tunneling. The main point is, scarcity leads to both focus and tunneling. Focus improves productivity, but tunneling reduces performance. Hence, the poor is likely to be trapped in poverty because scarcity reduces bandwidth and hence productivity; they are more vulnerable to random shocks.

Small but frequent deadlines are more effective than a grand one.

Essentially, this is a layman version of the constrained optimization: the scarcity is imposed by the constraints. The more constrained you are, the worse the performance.

\max_{x \in X} f(x)

Here the scarcity is captured by X.

The insight that slack can improve productivity can be expressed by:

If X_1 \subset X_2, then \max_{X_1} f \le \max_{X_2} f.



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