This course, which utilizes provocative exercises designed to generate discussion, is based on the research and writings of two acclaimed and prolific academicians. The first part of the course revolves primarily around the work of psychologist and behavioral economist Dan Ariely as presented in his book “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty.” We will examine everyday human behaviors and attempt to understand how honest each of us really is. The second half of the course explores the evolutionary psychological explanations for the origins of and differences in people’s most closely held beliefs about politics and religion. It relies primarily on the work of social psychologist Jonathan Haidt as presented in his book “The Righteous Mind” with the aim of better understanding those with whom we disagree. (It is not necessary to read either of these books to participate in and enjoy the class.)
Shai (pronounced “Shy”) Robkin works with small and mid-size business executives to leverage the power of behavioral economics. He also leads discussion groups on popular topics in social psychology. A serial entrepreneur, Shai, together with his wife Judy, opened in 1981 Israel’s first combination bookstore/coffee shop. They returned to Atlanta in 1984 to care for aging parents, using the proceeds from the sale of the Israeli store to acquire Vernon, a manufacturer and distributor of library products. Vernon’s technology division was sold in 2011 to One Equity Partners, a division of JP Morgan, and its supply division was sold to an out-of-state competitor in 2019.