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The Truth Is That You Probably Can’t Tell Expensive Wine is Better

The Truth Is That You Probably Can’t Tell Expensive Wine is Better

Many people think that the only good wine is expensive wine. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to buy expensive wine, even for the most special of occasions. That is okay, because when you come right down to it, the majority of people actually can’t tell the difference between expensive wines and cheaper versions. If you are a wine merchant, it is better for you to try and promote the less expensive wines. This is because you are going to make a lot more money by selling in volume than you will if you only have a handful of customers who can afford the expensive stuff.

The Experiment

Each week, postdoctoral students at Harvard University carry out experiments and research, and they present their findings to other members of the Harvard Society of Fellows at a formal dinner. One of these experiments involved trying to figure out if people could tell the difference between cheap and expensive wines. The results showed that unless you are a wine connoisseur, you aren’t likely to notice much, if any difference in the quality and flavor of the various wines.

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The authors of “Think Like a Freak”, a follow-up to the popular book, “Freakonomics,” is about the experience of authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, who created this experiment about wine and whether or not people can tell the difference between cheap and expensive wines. The experiment shows that you can easily save a lot of money on wine, because the people you serve it to aren’t likely to notice any difference.

The Results

“The results could not have been better for me. There was no significant difference in the rating across the four wines; the cheap wine did just as well as the expensive ones,” said Levitt.

Levitt said that he was surprised that the ratings were different between two different wines when the samples actually came from the same bottle. So, his experiment showed that most people can’t tell the difference between good wine and cheap wine, they also couldn’t even tell the difference between two samples of the same wine.

In the book, wine was portrayed as an essential part of the weekly Harvard Society of Fellows dinner, and the society has one heck of a wine cellar, with some of the most expensive wines you can imagine. Now, the majority of the Fellows consider themselves to be wine connoisseurs, and they all felt that that the only good wine is expensive wine. They were about to be challenged on this assumption.

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So, what Levitt did was take two bottles of expensive wine from the wine cellar, as well as cheaper wines that are made from the same grapes. He had the Fellows taste four different cups of wine, two with the expensive brands, and two with the less expensive wines. Can you figure out what the result was? Yes, you guessed it. The Fellows were unable to tell the difference between what they considered to be fine wines with the less expensive counterparts. The findings have been detailed by Levitt on the Freakonomics blog.

Levitt and co-author Dubner will fully admit that this was in no way a true scientific experiment. But, they got some pretty interesting results, and these are results you can use to save money the next time you are hosting any type of event where wine is to be served. You can spend $15 on a bottle rather than $50, and most people are never going to know the difference. They are simply going to enjoy their wine, and not think about how much was actually spent on it (although they will like think you spent a fortune).

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Featured photo credit: PortoBay Events via flickr.com

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Jane Hurst

Writer, editor

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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