One of the most mentally exhausting aspects of the particular online platform my family use to sell goods is customers asking for discounts.

People who would never dream of walking into a physical shop and asking for a discount are more than happy to chance it through text messaging.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with people doing this. It’s part of the game and appears to be seen as part of the spirit of the platform we use.

I have seen regular complaints about sellers who write no offers/discounts in their bios in Facebook discussion groups.

So…


I found out from Dan Ariely’s Facebook fanpage that the compounding losses effect I wrote about in Like A Trader part one has been noticed by dieticians.

Apparently it is nicknamed the What-the-hell effect. The name comes from the fact that once we consume something we shouldn’t, we tend to think “what-the-hell, this day’s ruined so let’s keep eating junk!”

As I mentioned, I suffered from this attitude quite severely and found a way to overcome it by using rituals, an approach absent from dieting literature I’ve seen.

In fact, it’s strangely absent from lifestyle literature in general. Rituals, when…


I would posit that most people with the slightest interest in trading have a knowledge of common psychological biases that affect traders, such as confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias appears to influence a further common mistake, being wedded to one’s positions. In other words, not getting out when the facts that got them in change.

Such mistakes leave people exposed in other situations too. In Influence, psychologist Robert Cialdini discusses a tactic used by unscrupulous used-car dealers which he calls lowballing.

This means offering customers a car at a price substantially below market value, but without the intention to ever actually…


Despite having often been too lazy to sit down and write, I think it must be something I enjoy as it is one of the only activities in which I can achieve the fabled ‘flow state’ of focus.

When I’m ‘in-the-zone’, I can feel thirsty and even have a water bottle withing reach yet not remove my fingers from the keyboard to grab it. I think this is a good sign.

I’ve begun learning about flow states thanks to an excellent blog and Youtube channel I have found called The Bioneer. …


I consider myself a recovering unconstructive optimiser.

I use this term for people like myself who naturally behave in one or both of the following two ways.

The first is spending hours (even years, in some cases) obsessing over finding the exact right way to do things down to the very last detail and achieving nothing, instead of just trying things and finding a good-enough solution.

My own experience of this has mostly consisted of a few weeks each year trying to design the perfect workout while seated at my desk, trying in vain to evaluate what one expert says…


If asked to diet like a trader, one might think of scoffing a Red Bull, sandwich and some *ahem* sherbert *ahem* at your desk. This is not my approach.

What I think about is applying a fundamental trading concept — not compounding losses — to dieting efforts.

I have developed some tricks for this which have been working well for me lately. But this concept is something I have found strangely absent in dieting advice.

Let’s define a loss here as eating something you know you shouldn’t: the sugary, processed, nutritionally void junk that is just oh so satisfying for…


I have begun reading Robert Cialdini’s ‘Influence’. Yes, it’s been around for years, but it takes less than a chapter to see why it is considered a (if not the) definitive text on persuasion/compliance.

Every page is a succinct hit of practical advice, and the examples are brilliant. Whoever knew toy companies could be so evil?!

While reading, I have been making notes of things I can apply to the small e-commerce operation my family run.

Lots of the advice is easy to spot being practiced by big retailers, but something that I theorise is an unexploited opportunity is what…


Apparently, the philosopher Sir Roger Scruton has been in a spot of bother this week. I don’t much care what for; as with most news, chances are it’ll be forgotten by next week anyway which is why as a rule I generally avoid such stories.

However, I hadn’t heard of him previously, so I took it upon myself to become familiar with some of his thoughts. This was made easier by the fact that he has written much about music, the subject of my Bachelor’s degree.

While I have not had the time to purchase or read his books, so…

Gradually Antifragile

Psychological speculator. Using psych and behavioural economics to try and improve my life and online business.

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