On the power of framing a performance

Bell’s subway performance started with Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Unaccompanied Violin, on of the most challenging piece ever composed for the instrument. Over the next forty-three minutes the concert continued, but on that January morning there was no thunderous applause. There were no cameras flashing. Here was one of the best musicians in the world playing in the subway station for free, but no one seemed to care. Of the 1,097 people who walked by, hardly anyone stopped. One man listened for a few minutes, a couple of kids stared and one woman, who happened to recognise the violinist gaped in disbelief.

Except from: Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behaviour bu Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman

On how the act of labelling or branding changes the elements we notice about an experience

Psychologist Franz Epting explained: “We use diagnostic labels to organise and simplify. But any classification that you come up with,” cautioned Epting, “has got to work by ignoring a lot of other things — with the hope that the things you are ignoring don’t make a difference. And that’s where the rub is. Once you get a label in mind, you don’t notice things that don’t fit within the categories that do make a difference.”

Except from: Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behaviour by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman

Why We Often Continue with Failing Projects for Far Too Long

“To withdraw now is to accept a sure loss,” he writes about digging oneself deeper into a political hole, “and that option is deeply unattractive.” When you combine this with the force of commitment, “the option of hanging on will therefore be relatively attractive, even if the chances of success are small and the cost of delaying failure is high.”

Excerpt from: Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behaviour by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman