Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Does more money give you more happiness

Here are the slides on the presentation that I made on May 26, 2007 in the IESE MBA alumni meeting. I also post an interview that appeared in the Contra of La Vanguardia (the main local newspaper).

Friday, May 04, 2007

Commencement address by Steve Jobs

Here is a very nice reading from Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on Stanfod University on June 12, 2005. I hope you enjoy it as well as I did.


View video

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Paradox of Choice

There is an interesting book that links research on decision making, marketing, economics and happiness. It concludes that too much choice is detrimental for "maximizers" (people that are not happy unless they choose the best option). The book argues that being "satisficer" is best (people who are happy with what they have. Hervé Humbert has pointed to the followng video lecture by the author, Alan Schwartz.
My personal take on this debate is that "Rational Schizophrenia" is the best: choose when to be a mazimizer (tasks that require a long term objective to be achieved) and when to be a satisficer (most everyday decisions not attached to a long term objective).

The Science of Happiness and Positive Psychology

Happiness has been an object of scientific study by psychologists and it is now becoming an object of study by economists as well. From the psychologist angle, a nice book that I recommend 100% is Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman. An interesting article is Happiness 101
If you are interested in the mathematical modeling of happiness, you may want to look at the book chapter I'm writing with Rakesh Sarin, a colleague from UCLA, and available in my research web page.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Madem receives the IESE Alumni Award for the development of the best new course

One of the purposes of the IESE Alumni Association is to support IESE by encouraging the development of business management research and teaching.
In the category of courses, the 2006 prize was awarded to Prof. Baucells for his course on “Managerial Decision Models” and which was selected from three new courses taught within the MBA program – all of which received a rating of above 4.5 out of 5 in student evaluations. The judges particularly looked for consolidation of the course, the relevance of the course in terms of the professor’s research and consulting activities and its application to other IESE programs.
Prof. Baucells’ course aims to develop the necessary skills and perspectives for business problem solving. With an emphasis on widely applicable methodologies, the course teaches how and when to make decisions in uncertain and complex situations.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Linear Regresion File

I hope you still remember the linear regression file we used in class. You can find an updated version of the file with no time limit set in the Teaching section of my web page (go to Teaching/Spreadsheet modeling and Spreadsheet models).
Recall that the file performs linear regression in a very user-friendly and intuitive way. It contains four pages: (1) the raw data, (2) simple linear regression, (3) simple linear regression with transformed variables, and (4) multiple linear regression. It includes the possibility of eliminating data, and doing logistic (binary) regression.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

How to Solve It: Modern Heuristics

Author: Zbigniew Michalewicz and David B. Fogel

The book offers a nice combination of puzzles and smart procedures to solve complex optimization problems (Traveling salesman and others). Here is one of the puzzles that I like the best:

Mr. Smith and his wife invited four other couples for a party. When everyone arrived, some of the people in the room shook hands with some of the others. Of course, nobody shook hands with their spouse and nobody shook hands with the same person twice.

After that, Mr. Smith asked everyone how many times they shook someone’s hand. He received different answers from everybody.

How many times did Mrs. Smith shakes someone’s hand?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Book Recommendation: The Wisdom of Crowds

Author: James Surowiecki
The basic idea of this book is that groups of people often make better decisions than individuals, even if these individuals are experts. Surowiecki makes his argument with a number of different examples, from democracy to the stock market. He also explains the instances where group decision-making processes go wrong, and what can be done to ameliorate them.