Go back to basics: Read

Two months ago we were sitting in the eye of a panic-fuelled storm. Now we are here, possibly more relaxed, back to reality and in the worst case scenario, just witnessing the still raging storm from afar; which isn’t so bad.

The summer after the exams for a student is about 3 months long with a galore of things on the to do lists. Choosing a degree, choosing universities, entrance or pre-requisite exams and, more close in timeline, choosing appropriate subjects for next year. Some of us have internships and volunteering to be excited about or really just catching a few weeks of relaxation. Now this is from the perspective from a third year student, but that is not very far off from those of you who are preparing for your second year.

However, I am really here trying to catch up on some reading. Let me explain.

Throughout the year we are the ostrich in sand; sand being our textbooks, Ostrich with head in the sandguides and the endless studying. I am not in the right mindset to read anything else after that and more so want to indulge in some YouTube videos requiring no mental effort (It’s a real thing. I am not the only one). But now is the time to catch up on all those unwrapped books on the shelf and it might help more than you expect in your choice of path after your degree is done.

Again, Let me explain. I am keen to pursue Behavioural Economics. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It has been difficult for me and a lot of my classmates to find and choose a degree that suits our needs and interests. After endless scrolling through university directories of degree and googling there is still a sense of ceaselessness I find myself burdened with. Almost every piece of information and advice now seems to come from a broken tape. Repetitive. And I am not even paying attention anymore.

Behavioural Economics is a fairly new field. For a long time people mistook all the work psychologists did for the work of a behavioural economists. I think two big names do come to mind when we think of this little fact. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky are the two names that pushed me towards this field. That’s when I realised the lack of clarity in my mind is due to the lack of my understanding of the field and of people who are out there doing their job as behavioural scientists.

pile of booksPlease feel free to extend this self-reflection to any field you want to pursue. I do believe an effective way to conclude your choice of further education or career is to turn to good old fashioned books. I am on the mission to read all the books I possibly can from the pioneers of the fields I am interested in. And not only that but, if possible, sending a blessed email to the authors who usually in a field like Economics are either long dead (ahem Keynes, is this counted as a pun?) or possibly your future professors. Reading also helps students understand whether we are truly interested in the field or is it just a surface-level infatuation. It provides a path to follow and possibly, if you are prone to miracles, will lead you right to the university or job you want to pursue. It’s a good insight and a way to clarity and a sense of calm.

May be this didn’t come as new information to many of you, but that’s the thing with advice: it is seemingly repetitive but effective when you realise you really haven’t implemented it yet! So read away! It’s interesting and entertaining and so far very relevant to so many decisions we need to make this summer.

Here are the list of books I am leeching off on right now:

  • Nudge by Richard Thaler
  • Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • What do you say after you say hello by Eric Berne M.D
  • The undoing project by Michael Lewis (My first true love)

“The Behavioral Scientist” is a blog to follow!

Let us hope our pursuits this summer are successful. If not, knowledge is all we have to gain!

Nikita is studying Economics in India.

One thought on “Go back to basics: Read

  1. This is beautifully written and provides a common theme on the monds of those of nearing or about to reach the finish: what next? Thank you for helping me see I was in the right direction as just yesterday I was searching for articles on what I believe is my next line of action.

    Liked by 1 person

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