<aside> ☝ This is the old Chapter 1. Please go up to the new Chapter 1 page, Chapter 1. Crowding Out


Old Chapter 1 - Intro

As we navigate our lives, different kinds of ideas shape how we act in different situations. In some situations, we navigate by plans we've worked out in advance. In others, we have a goal in mind—for instance, when we're trying to find someone at a party. In others, we try to guess and meet others' expectations for how we should behave, or we try to live by our values.

Unfortunately, in Western cultures we learn to be specific about our goals, but not the rest. Here and in the next chapter, we'll learn these other specificities. We start in this chapter by telling values apart from other guiding ideas. In the next, we get precise about how values relate to action and experience.

We focus first on our own values, then on interviewing others, developing surveys, etc.

🧠 Invent it yourself

<aside> 👉 Try to invent it yourself. We've split each chapter in two parts: Before we teach you a concept or skill, we have a section called "invent it yourself". These exercises can be humiliatingly difficult, precisely because you don't yet have the tools to solve them. If you try them, perhaps you will invent them without us teaching you! But even if you don't, attempting them shows you when those concepts or skills are needed, and gives you a sense of their utility.


<aside> 💪 Most chapters start with an "Invent it yourself" section. These exercises push you to invent the material in the chapter for yourself. The exercises can be frustrating, but try at least one for each chapter, to get a sense why the rest of the chapter is useful.


Try designing based on the wrong information

Here are three quick design exercises.

Are the values you think you have, really values?

You may think you know what your values are, and you may think you are mostly living by them. These two exercises will help you check that out.

Can you intuit others' values?

In this game, you'll see if you can guess other people's values. It's a quick skill to learn!

🛠️ More Resources

A Field Guide to Social Choices

Notes on Self-Observation

Self Test: Goals and Expectations