Optimistic bias: Human beings tend to be unrealistically optimistic. Most people think they are better than the average driver and less likely to be involved in a serious accident. When people give presents, unrealistic optimism goes off the charts. We are often amazed that people don’t love what we’ve selected. Please don’t be. (And please consider avoiding the optimistic exclamation, “You’re going to love it!”)

Finding gifts for people when you’re unsure of what to give them can be terribly stressful. Bloomberg has an interesting post from a behavioral economist discussing how and why people mis-give gifts, but the point at the end about how you can never really “mis-give” as long as you’re giving something is what I find most important: “Unless you are dealing with someone who really cares about what you get them, you should worry a lot less (and maybe spend less, too).”



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