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Should I or shouldn’t I?

28 Sep

Our little diagram illustrates the expectancy paradox. The basic question: what is the correlation between happiness and expectation?

If you have no expectations regarding your partner you are indifferent. Indiffrent decisions are seldom satisfying. The higher your expectations the more happy you are if they are being met. However, if your expectations reach the tipping point, you are likley to be disappointed because Mr. Perfect might not exist. Science suggests to decide on something (or soemone) that meets your basic requirements instead of searching for ‘Mr Perfect“. But what about love at first sight? In recent years there has been a lot of research into intuition. Two findings: it seems there is a part of us that knows more than we think we know. And, we tend to be more accepting of wrong decisions that we made impulsively, i.e. intuitively, than ones that we spent a long time thinking about. Key learning: We forgive our heart more than our head. And always keep in mind, what Marcel Proust once wrote: ‘All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last.’

Who are you and why?

10 Aug

Who do you believe in? The church? Your teacher? Your partner? Your shrink? The internet? The new God on the block is the limbic system. A part of your brain controls some very essential behaviors: finding food, self-preservation, lust, laughter. Neuroscientists and marketing people love the limbic system.
Up to 95 percent of all our purchases are supposedly linked to some action going on in the limbic system. The decision to buy a Stella instead of a Carlsberg is linked to the concentration of cortisol, dopamin and testosteron in our brain.
Based on research on the limbic system the wise guys from Nymphenburg, a marketing company, identified seven new archetypes: 1: adventurer (3 % of the population), 2: performer (6 %), 3: disziplined (10 %), 4: conservative (24 %), 5: harmonizer (32 %), 6: connoisseur (13 %), 7: hedonist (11 %).
Take a look at the model and ask yourselves: where am I?

Decision in Rear Mirror

9 May

Thanks Michael Stutz for this contribution to our blog. The horizontal axis is labeled “conscious” and “unconscious” (how you took your decision), the vertical is “positiv” and “negativ” (how your decision turned out). In the rear mirror of a decision you look back and you “were lucky” (upper left), you “regret” (lower left), you are “full of self-confidence” (upper right) because you know how it works or you maybe lie to yourself by saying “that was only bad luck (lower right).

High Infidelity

1 Feb

Drawing by Dag B. Grødal

Why do some people have affairs while other don’t?

This little model is based on research by the Kinsey-Institute in Bloomington. Basically there are two parameters: how easily are you aroused vs how much are you willing to take risks? Kinsey researcher call this “gas pedal” and brake pedal”. In order to find out about your sensitivity to arousal they ask questions like: “If you touch a stranger at a party or brush against a stranger who you find attractive do you become aroused? If you make eye contact with her or her – do you become aroused?” People who answer yes, app. 40 %, have a strong gas pedal. This doesn´t mean you are unfaithful. Because you might hit the brakes. This is discovered by asking questions like: “If you are having sex with someone in a public place and someone else comes along  –  does that cause you to become apprehensive and stop having sex?” We can also say people with a strong brake pedal have strong marital values. Now, people with a strong gas pedal and a weak brake pedal, about 20 %, these are the ones most prone to cheat.

Yhprum´s Law

12 Jan

Why everthing you think you know about Murphy´s Law is wrong.
Finagles ´Law (sort of the pinnacle of the often quoted Murphy’s Law: «Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong») is a refreshing mixture of cruel logic and farfetched claims. It goes something like this:

  1. What we have is not what we need.
  2. What we want is not what we need.
  3. What we need is impossible to get.
  4. You can get hold of this information for a much higher price then you are prepared to pay.

Sounds like something out of your life? But what if Finnagle´s Law got it all wrong? Let´s take a look at Yhprum´s Law (Yhprum = Murphy backwards). It states that everything that can work, will work. Richard Zeckhauser from Harvard noted: “Sometimes systems that should not work, work nevertheless.“

Wether things work or not seems to be up to ourselves. Why do so many of us prefer to point out the mistakes other poeple make instead of simply doing things better? Any fool can critize – and most fools do, as Bejamin Fraklin famously stated. And he was right! We call these people fault-finder. Their sentences usually start like this: „This idea is great, but…“. Kill the but! We suggest the famous appreciate inquiry-method by David Cooperrider that involves concentrating on the strengths of a company or a person rather than on the weaknesses. Next time you give a feedback, don´t say „Yes, but…“. Try: „Yes, and we could also…“. Sounds strange? Give it a try.

Ah, a friend request! But who the hell is Benno?!

31 Aug

The line between a friend and an enemy is sometimes as fine as the one between bravery and stupidity. This little friendscouting-model shows who to trust.

So, let’s start in the bottom-left corner: „The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend“. We all know this basic principle from the school yard. Some senior citizens might be remembered of World War II when longtime enemies France and Britain united against Nazi-Germany. Let’s have a look at the upper-left square: „The Enemy of my Friend is my Enemy“. This is the highly moralistic conversion of the Machiavelli principle. Some of you might have been lucky enough to have experienced this in the school yard. Others might know it from math: trusting other and being trusted (tit for tat) is the ultimative solution for the prisoner’s dilemma in game theory. „The Friend of my Enemy is an A…hole“ – everyone who’s ever experienced betrayal knows what we’re talking about. And finally: „The Friend of my Friend is my Friend“. This is the basic principle of Facebook. Here’s a question: How many friends do you have on Facebook? How many of them do you know? And how many do you trust?

The Face-it Book

12 Apr

We at 50topmodels cannot stand any more stories about web 2.0, social networks and nexnext-scenarios.
That’s why we were really happy to find this comprehensive explanation for the internet-madness: His work inspired us to draw up our own version of the black hole in the worldwideweb. The model is pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t get it, you must have been on the moon for the last four years. Or off-line. Which is pretty much the same.

It’s time for the gym again!

4 Mar

Christmas Gift

24 Dec

Mikael Krogerus und Roman Tschäppeler wish you a “Profitable Christmas” and a “Successful New Year”!

Social Media

18 Nov

We found this on facebook. Indeed. (buy on

High potentials

22 Aug
personality-, social-, leading- and professional potential

personality-, social-, leading- and professional potential

We are tired. We don’t have any smart ideas. So we read books. Something we found: Ask yourself and your co-workers to give you a feedback (on a scale from 1-10) regarding…

  1. ability to learn
  2. ability to cope with pressure/stress
  3. abilitiy to interact with other people/co-workers
  4. having a optimistic attitude, that things are feasible
  5. good resource manager
  6. role model for the others
  7. entrepreneur
  8. seeing things from a helicopter perspective (overview)

Are you a high potential for your company?
From: Martin Hilb, Integriertes Personal-Managment, Luchterhand

My New BFF

24 Jul

A couple of days ago I was cleaning up my appartement. I mean REALLY clean it, not just on the surface like our cleaning lady does (our cleaning lady is a man in fact). I loved the feeling of this kind of purification. So I went on to the archive of my existence, my green wooden treasure trunk. That’s where I keep my diaries, old pictures (yes, prints!), notes and slips from teenage years and backstage passes from concert I can’t remember. Going through all these memories I tried to remember all my friends I have had and have throughout my life. The list grew bigger and bigger. So I started to put them in an order in a meaningful and in some completley strange ways. I have to admit: It tells more about myself than about my friends. So here are some ideas how you can sort your old, young, new and forgotten friendships – at least on paper. This would be useful for Paris Hilton in her TV show My New BFF. (Post from RT)

Who is my friend?

Who is my friend?

Choose Blues

20 May

Thank God there some are simple solutions left: If my car has a flat tire I change it. If my leg is broken, there’s a universal treatment that works. Another example: If I’m tired I go to sleep. I think you get the point…
I lost a good friend a couple of years ago, I got suspicious talking with other friends about how to deal with it. They recommended a variety of problem-solving measures: go on a trip, see a psychiatrist, get drunk, talk to friends, write a song. I tried it. It helped. Some more than others. Some helped immediately, other after analyzing them. But I still could not „fix“ my problem. I felt that the more solutions I found to a problem, the less helpful each of them were. In other words: The lesser opportunities I had, the more worthy (effective) each of them became.

The fewer to number of solutions, the more effective the outcome?

If you only have few solutions, are the outcomes more effective?

One cannot copmpare the losing of a friend to a broken leg or a flat tire, but I started to observe problem-solving not only from a subjective and immediate point of view but also from an additive and sequential perspective. Is it true that the more actions I take to solve my problem the bigger the chance of succsess become?
This is far away from a general theory about psychological self-medication, but it helps to classify actions taken and actions to be taken. In order to overcome a sudden personal crisis it might be a good idea not to change everything at the same time and prevent over-motivated actions with unknown outcomes. It’s just a thought…

If getting waisted a couple of times helps, great.

If getting drunk a couple of times helps, great.

  1. One solution with little effectiveness: getting drunk OR booking a weekend trip
  2. Multiple solutions with little effectiveness: getting drunk on a weekend trip
  3. Multiple solutions with big effectiveness: sleeping 8 hours a night, exercising, eating healthy
  4. One solution with big effectiveness: resign, relocate, divorce, make kids OR spend all your money (one at the time should be enough)

Get rich or die trying

10 May

Who is really rich? The fat guy with the fat wallet or the witty guy with the great body. Some people have both – good for them. Do both guys have something in common? Yes, they both constantly have to re-innovate themselves in order to defend their position against contenders. So how do you defend your position? 


Where are you?

  1.  You can adopt the behavior and methods of foreign elites (if you check out the fashion in Copenhagen, you will be the hipster of Millwaukee).
  2. Invent new cultural actions (e.g. newspapers for free) But make shure that competitors of your own „group“ do not adopt them. Or if they do make sure everybody knows they got it from you. They will feel inferior.
  3. Adopt quickly new behaviors of „groups“ below you (preferably from the avantgardist). If rich people use the fashion items of the hipsters, the hipsters loose their prestige. Therefore: they will not climb the prestige latter.

Read “Gewinne und Verluste sozialen Wandels” (German)
Interview on “Spiegel Online” with Dr. Wolf Wagner
Check french sociologist Pierre Bourdieu – you find one of his models in our book.

SUV Principle

29 Apr


More is less. Less is more.

Don’t expect a blog entry about the economical crisis. Nor about the climate crisis. This graph is about why we want things we do not need. An SUV for example.

 „People like to surround themself with unnecessary power“ says David Pogue, The New York Times tech-writer. I’am shure that’s true. Just try to check out all features of your mobile phone. Or try to make your new alarm clock work (as it happened to me yesterday). For most of us, less would be more. A mac software upgrade is not a simplification of what’s already there it simply adds to what you never needed in the first place. So how comes we want more of evertyhing?  I think this “upgrade-mania” reflects the fear of missing out on life. The regret of not having married the very first love, the anxiety of not beeing accepted by your friends, the fear that that other party might have been better. So how should one deal with it?

  1. Upgrade your life constantely. Warning: You might run out of ressources. Solution: Get rich or die trying.
  2. Accept your limit of individual luxury. Warning: You might run out of perspectives. Solution: Do not read success stories.
  3. Downgrade your life. Warning: You might run out of friends. Solution: Look for new friends downgrading, too.
  4. Switch between 1-3. Warning: You might get stuck in 2. Solution: Change consciously between 1-3 for certain time.


Predictable Irrationality

31 Mar

First of all: If you prefer to watch Dan Ariely and get to know his thoughts visit and take 15 minutes. It’s worth it!

The starting point of Dan Ariely’s behavioral economy studies is his heavy injury in an explosion. Most of his body has been burnt. While the nurses where changing his bandages he asked: What is more painful? Rip the bandage off and suffer heavy pain for short period? Or take it off slowly and feel pain in less intensity per second but for a longer duration?

The nurses ripped it off. Finally, a long time after he left the hospital and became professor and bestselling author, he found out that the encoding of time and intensity is almost always influenced by (predictible) irrationality. Then he continued his examinations on cheating in various social experiments. If you give a group of people the opportunity to cheat there would not be some of the group cheating a lot, but a lot of people would cheat a little. Since cheating is perceived as a simple cost and benefit analysis (how much can I win divided by how bad the punishment will be if I get caught) this might surprise.


If you have the opportunity to cheat and get money, you still would cheat a little. But if you cheat in order to get a voucher, token, stock, bonus, etc. your cheating degree would double. Even though there’s no rational reason why, this doesn’t surprise, does it?

It’s more appropriate to cheat if you feel part of a (cheating) group. Ariely comments this phenomena with a splahy statement: „IF you cheat is depending on what T-shirt you are wearing.“ Means: If it’s obvious that your enemy is cheating you won’t, if your team is cheating the probability is much bigger you will cheat, too!


 In a nutshell:

  1. Given the opportunity a lot of people cheat – but just a little.
  2. Remind cheating people of their morality – they cheat less!
  3. The more distance people have from their benefit, the more they cheat.
  4. If you experience cheating as part of your (social) group, cheating goes up!


Art Reception

15 Mar

What intentation has the artist?

In arts you find artist, a piece of work and yourself as the observer. A not very fancy but vintage approach comes from Saalfeld (sorry, we did not find him on Wiki…). But we found his target model in a encyclopedia of psychology. It’s about how we and the artist perceive his assumed masterpiece. You can’t barley read the target, so here it is (from inside out):

  1. Arts of contentless banality (not art)
  2. Arts of timeless comprehensibility (well, has been art)
  3. Arts like “I get it, but still not really ” (art in no historical context yet, no objective measurement for its quality)
  4. Arts that is accessible for experts and the artist (because I don’t understand it, it must be art)
  5. Arts only accessible to artist (very fancy art)

We miss the time aspect. “Scrap” can become a masterpiece and the other way around.

Marry me!

2 Mar

Reasons why running away IS an otpion


17 Feb

You can't have both


Replace in a couple of month “go on a trip” and “save money” with “voted for Obama” and “voted for…what was his name again?”.

Risk and Motivation

11 Dec


Atkinson claimed 1957: If one can choose the grade of complexity (difficulty) of a task individually and independently most of the decisions are taken in a mid-complexity-level. Too easy tasks or too difficult tasks can neither provoke a strong feeling of satisfaction nor a strong disappointment. Or the other way round: Highly motivated people often choose a realistic complexity of tasks whereas low motivated people choose tasks that are finally to easy or too difficult for them. Then Atkinson continued his studies with something, but we wanna have our afterwork beer and discuss our  new business idea for Web 3.0. Which we gonna start tomorrow. And be a millionaire in 2 days…

Me is you and me

1 Nov


(Selbsteinschätzung = self-assessment, Fremdeinschätzung = assessment by others, Kongruenzzone = matching assets)

This method did not make it into our book “50 Erfolgsmodelle”. At second thought it’s a pity. We developped this visualization to help clarify the question of the question. Who am I? We do not claim to have the answer but a nice tool to approach it. Ask yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 e.g. how relaiable am I? How daring am I? Am I honest? Ask a friend, a coach, an enemy or your mother to answer the same questions about you. Fill in and discuss it with your friend, coach, enemy or mother. Are you the person you pretend to be? Do you value yourself higher or lower, on which characterization? Tedning to under- oder overstatement?

Ego and social behaviour

15 Oct

This is a comprehensive way to pinpoint your colleagues at work, including your boss(es). Where do you find yourself in this scheme? Somebody who is coordinating, leading and taking initiatives might fit best into the upper left quadrant. A person who is working best in team, agreeing a lot and helping others might fit best into the lower left quadrant. If you (or your subject of investigation) is evasive, admitting and offtaking, you might be placed into the lower right quadrant. A dominant and isolated person shows tendencies of superior analytical skills, but also he might be also condemning and opposing. 

It is important to use this scheme at the moment. You might see tendencies, but normaly everyone can be put in every corner, depending on the situation.