A lot of data and the scientific method can do little against a good story

“What evidence would you need to see to change your mind?”

The honest answer to this question is usually: “I need a new story that’s more immediate, more vivid and most of all, more culturally aligned than the one I have now.”

It took humans 100,000 years to invent the scientific method. Before that, we lived our lives by stories, examples and the urgent.

We still do.

An anecdote is not evidence. But we often treat it that way.

The scientific method is barely used in everyday life because it's not part of popular culture. We don't use it on daily basis at school until (too) late, it's not part of the education we receive from our parents, it's barely mentioned in publications and TV shows.

Similarly, and aside a few exceptions, we don't aspire to embrace a data-driven approach in business. Few of us have statistical education to understand the meaning of data. And we constantly misinterpret data because of our many biases and the noise in our judgement.

The scientific method and data can do little to nothing against a captivating story. I've seen it over and over in 21 years of career.

That's why change tasks so long to happen.


This is one of the many passages I read in books and articles on a daily basis. They span many disciplines, including art, artificial intelligence, automation, behavioral economics, cloud computing, cognitive psychology, enterprise management, finance, leadership, marketing, neuroscience, startups, and venture capital.

I occasionally add a personal note to them.

The whole collection is available here.