…and back in the room

So, I’ve been quite quiet on the blogging front.

One reason is that I’ve been working really hard to get the new book up and running.

It’s really the 3rd in trilogy:



This was the first-book shaped articulation of my ideas around rethinking human behaviour as a social phenomenon.

A “we” species with the illusion of “I”, is how I put it around this time.

It seemed to cause a stir – in all kinds of circles. I remember fondly being alerted by text by my old chum David Muir, as I sat on the tarmac at JFK with a raging hangover, that the Labour Campaign Team in 2010 were referencing it (I already knew the Tories were excited by the ideas around community and social influence). Maybe I am personally to blame for the UK Coalition Government (Labour losing less badly and the Conservatives failing to secure a majority (despite the polling predictions which suggested they would).  Equally, I’ve had some very interesting conversations with people in the intelligence services (where it seems to have become something of a set-text), in Development circles and the NGO world  at the intersection of economics, anthropology and sociology. as well as my old stomping grounds of behaviour change, marketing and advertising.

HERD has been good to me. If you haven’t read it yet, go here




I’ll Have What She’s Having was a result of the many fascinating conversations I had with (now great friend) Professor Alex Bentley. 

Alex is an Anthrolopologist and Archeologist who has a particular interest in pattern-spotting in datasets that you and I might otherwise just order in a time-series.

We worked together closely with clients and in 2006-7 developed a simple data-led map that helps you sort different kinds of behaviour into manageable buckets.


People seem to find it useful & Alex’s academic colleagues have developed the simple – but I’ll underline this – data-led map and it seems to have gained lots of traction at the intersection of economics, anthropology and sociology.

What the map isn’t: it isn’t a segmentation describing fixed choice styles by individuals. What it is: a description at the market or population level of how a large number of people tend to choose or make their decisions in a given market or behaviour.

What the map isn’t: an absolutely precise description of all the individual choice styles in a particular context. What it is: a way of categorising different kinds of choices according to a few simple and important characteristics.

What it isn’t: a social tool alone. What it is: a synthesis of all the key behaviour choice models. So for example, in the NW, Considered choice includes the kind of utility-calculation that manufacturers and classical economists assume that individuals use to make choices. But in the SW, is the kind of habit-dominated decision styles that Ehrenberg and co have so well described in FMCG/CPG markets. Also down here are many of the choice style shaped by the cognitive biases so loved by Behavioural Economists (“nudgers”). In the NE, the Wom-ers will be at home: here choices are shaped by individuals following the examples, recommendations and endorsement of authoratative individuals and experts. Also included are traditions and behaviour shaped by social identities. Finally, in the SE is what you see in fashion markets.

Remember each of these leaves a characteristic pattern in the data – for more info, read the book yourself. It’s rather good, we think at least. And one or two others, too.