Best of Koenfucius 2023

My 10 most read posts of the past year

Koen Smets
3 min readJan 4, 2024


  1. Beyond costs and benefits
    We often act like economic beings, weighing up the pros and cons of options looking for the one with the best overall net benefit. But sometimes we don’t, and then we may find ourselves on thin ice.

2. It’s the way that you say that you do it
When essentially the same item is sold at different prices, framing matters — a lot — to how it is perceived.

3. Dramatic dilemmas and AI
Can artificial intelligence make better decisions than we would ourselves? For that, it might be a good idea to look at the hardest decisions we face. And where better to look than in gripping drama?

4. Behavioural Change on a global scale
Behavioural change on a large scale is a tough challenge, but there are ways in which it can be made easier. Could combating climate change, following COP28, adopt insights from behavioural change in organizations?

5. Solving the backyard problem
NIMBY — not in my backyard — refers to a problem with both economic and behavioural angles. Might that suggest a way to tackle it?

6. Entangled in associations
Our cognition — and that of many other organisms — is based on associating new information to past experiences. These associations can become complex, and confront us with unpleasant contradictions.

7. Ulterior motivation
We often weigh up intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, but can that be taken too far?

8. Positive unintended consequences
Why it is good not only to have an eye for detrimental unintended consequences

9. Everyone generalizes too much
We cannot avoid generalizing, but we sometimes get it wrong (and even if we get it right, we may be making a faux pas).

10. A sense of balance
In my 500th blogpost, I revisit the theme of my very first one: the trade-off, how it pervades our decision making, and how we often don’t get it quite right.



Koen Smets

Accidental behavioural economist in search of wisdom. Uses insights from (behavioural) economics in organization development. On Twitter as @koenfucius