Why You Shouldn’t Believe Me

Why you shouldn't believe me? How your brain forms beliefs and why it's sabotaging you.

Years ago while in journalism school, I was bothered by how frequently journalists would say that they’re bad at math. Professors would start the self-deprecating jokes, and students nodded along. To be sure, I struggle to do arithmetic in my head. To this day, calculating tips at restaurants is a challenge. But I don’t believe … Read more

The Power of Your Eating Mindset

Silhouette thinking about food with ice cream, burger, and shake cloud bubble.

Do you know someone who gets hangry? Come 11:30 a.m. or 6:15 p.m., if you don’t feed this person, he begins to get irritable and unresponsive. Doing anything hard is asking to get into a fight. Maybe that person is you? 😉 In my life, that person is my ordinarily level-headed, rational, reasonable, scientist-of-a-husband, Alex. … Read more

How to Build Community With: Meetups

Community cooking illustration with 3 cooks around a big pot of green goo.

Ever since I started co-hosting the Stanford off-shoot of the Financial Independence and Early Retirement Meetup, I have been amazed by how easy it is to get strangers to show up and talk about their personal and financial lives. There’s a thirst for implementable personal finance information and a camaraderie that naturally develops from discussing how to optimize and improve our lives.

Yet, the steps required for financial freedom are simple: earn more and save more. Invest the difference. Do you really need a meetup to explain how to do it?   

Dig a little deeper though and you’ll discover that what people are looking for isn’t more information. What they want is community and relationships with like-minded people.

This desire for community is what draws strangers-turned-friends to show up to a hike in Woodside on a random Saturday afternoon advertised on the Internet. It’s what develops an in-group language with jargony terms like backdoor Roth conversion, tax-loss harvesting, and CD laddering.

Hiking at Wunderlich Park with the Stanford Financial Independence and Early Retirement group.

I’ve made real friends since joining and organizing this meetup, including friends I text regularly and discuss topics unrelated to finance.

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Could You Be Sabotaging Yourself By Eating Food Labeled “Healthy”?

Food labeling carrots showing two different names

Does seeing twisted garlic-ginger butternut squash on the menu make your mouth water?

What about slow-roasted caramelized zucchini bites?

Or are you more likely to leap at the chance to try butternut squash with no added sugar?

What about nutritious green zucchini?

The question is, do these names affect how likely we are to try the vegetables?  

In case you haven’t caught on, these are the same two dishes — sweet potatoes and zucchini — fancified with pretty names to get the “foodies” going or to put a healthy spin on the vegetable dish.

Food labeling carrots showing two different names

Let’s take a step back and first ask: how did researchers come to ask this question?

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