Kiss, Marry or Kill: 18
The NEW book explaining your doom-scrolling habits (and what to do about it), a soundtrack for chills, kids and concussions, text don't call, cheering for Justine Lindsay, Big Tobacco meets Blue Takis
This is my weekly series for subscribers only, where I’ll share things that caught my eye this week in a fun and flirty way (kiss), a sustainable way (marry), or a not-so-good way (kill). And yes, this trendy game is technically “f***, marry, or kill” but we run a family-friendly-ish show around here.
Kiss (things I like right now)
I took one huge lesson away from publishing my first book, It Starts With Food. If I can help people understand WHY you do what you do, you’ll feel tremendously better—even though you haven’t yet made a single change to your behavior. In fact, the act of understanding is often what gets you un-stuck, and provides the impetus to pursue the changes you’ve been wanting to make.
Scarcity Brain unlocks those same understandings, in Michael’s patented storytelling-meets-compelling-research format. He describes the “scarcity loop" as the underpinning of why we feel addicted to everything from gambling to TikTok, dating apps to Netflix, our phones to… well, our phones. This 3-part loop—opportunity, unpredictable rewards, and quick repeatability—is biologically ingrained. In our hunter-gatherer ancestor days, this loop helped us stay motivated to keep seeking food, new environments, and social connections. If we didn’t, we’d literally die, so this “scarcity loop” was pretty helpful.
Today, this same loop is an evolutionary mismatch, sending ancient signals in a modern world. It’s what keeps us hitting “refresh” for the likes and comments our Instagram posts, scrolling through TikTok looking for the ONE video that we can share or save, swiping left (or is it right?) over and over again, and in some cases, legitimately addicted to gambling, stock trading, shopping, and more.
You won’t die if you don’t look at one more TikTok video—but the loop makes you believe that reward is just around the corner, and if it’s not, well, you can just swipe one more time because they MAKE IT THAT EASY. (If you don’t think the tech bros in Silicon Valley aren’t taking lessons from Vegas, you’re missing the big picture.)
Michael weaves his own experience and stories (me, texting him at one point last year: “Uh, what were you doing in IRAQ?”) with cutting-edge research, fascinating interviews with subject matter experts, and a boatload of practical application—which is the most important piece. This is no philosophical book that unpacks a bunch of problems and leaves you asking, “Okay, so what do I do with this?” I walked away both a better understanding of why my brain works the way that it does (tricky minx), and how I can actively resist by taking simple, effective actions for the good of my physical health, mental health, and emotional capacity.
If Michael’s next project is a dictionary, sign me up for an endorsement, because his track record is 100%. Scarcity Brain is the perfect read for anyone looking to understand themselves better and learn how to step outside of the modern-day rat race. (Available now in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook.)