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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 April 8, 2020

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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The leap happens when we realize two things:

  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

“Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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