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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

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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