In his recent post Are You Rational?, Seth Godin makes a broad argument that nobody is rational all the time (true enough): that some decisions fall squarely within the domain of rational methods (e.g., analyzing your Adwords click-thru rate) while other things are best approached irrationally: falling in love, appreciating music or wine, or generating ideas for new businesses and startups. He goes on to say that “irrational passion is the key change agent of our economy.” Simply put, he proposes that there are entire domains of human endeavor that are better managed with the “gut” — a common belief and arguably a staple of American culture itself.
A great professor once told me, “If a good essay is one that’s fun to argue with, yours is a great essay.” It’s in this spirit that I can’t resist offering a counterpoint to Godin. My argument: that passion and irrationality are two different things. Passion has place, but the time when it was OK to “go with your gut” is well behind us. Continue reading “A Rationalist Responds to Godin’s Blog Post “Are You Rational?””