169 - Leidy Klotz on Design, Behavior, and When to Subtract
This week we talk to Leidy Klotz about his book, Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less.
Leidy Klotz is an Associate Professor at the University of Virginia in the Schools of Engineering, Architecture, and Business. His wide-ranging, prolific, and highly-awarded research is filling in unexplored overlaps between design and behavioral science. Nationally recognized as one of 40-under-40 professors who inspire, Leidy has taught thousands of students, including 21 Ph.D. advisees, whose designing and teaching shapes the world. He founded and directs the Convergent Behavioral Science Initiative, which brings together scholars, funders, media, and practitioners to advance behavioral science for design.
We discuss the human cognitive bias to try and solve a problem by adding new elements rather than by subtracting pieces from the problem; how deeply-rooted and pernicious this is in both our evolution and our economics, and how it has contributed to the complex and compounding crises in which we find ourselves today; the implications of subtraction thinking for civil engineering, governance and collective behavior; how to communicate a subtraction strategy as a net positive without setting off people’s loss aversion alarms; whether it’s possible to “subtract” systemic racism and other structural inequalities; and in what ways the evolution of the technosphere will make for future humans both more and less than we are…
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Related Reading & Notes:
Edward Tufte - PowerPoint is Evil
NPR - To Save The Science Poster, Researchers Want To Kill It And Start Over
Martin Nowak, Joshua Plotkin, Vincent A. A. Jansen - The evolution of syntactic communication
defund the police
the non-euclidean curved attention landscape
Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt’s New World
George Lakoff & Mark Johnson’s Metaphors We Live by
Brian Eno / The Long Now Foundation
Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow
Systems researcher Tim Clancy
Kate Orff’s Toward an Urban Ecology: SCAPE / Landscape
Tyson Yunkaporta’s Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save The World
Rajiv Sethi & Brendan Flaherty’s Shadow of Doubt
Richard Doyle’s Darwin’s Pharmacy
Chris Ryan’s Civilized To Death
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow
I transcribe this show with help from Podscribe.ai — which I highly recommend to other podcasters. (If you’d like to help me edit transcripts for my upcoming Future Fossils book project, please let me know! I’m @michaelgarfield on Twitter & Instagram.)
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Episode mostly edited by my amazing wife, Nicole Taylor.
Theme music by Future Fossils co-host Evan “Skytree” Snyder.
Intro bed music by Michael Garfield.
Cover Image c/o Jad Limcaco/Unsplash.
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