Episode 49 – The Hot Hand with Ben Cohen

Our topic this week is the mystery and science behind streaks.  Ben Cohen covers the NBA for the Wall Street Journal and is the author of “The Hot Hand.”  We discuss the phenomena of the “hot hand” in basketball and a famous paper from the 1980s that claims the hot hand doesn’t exist. We also explore how the hot hand relates to Shakespeare’s plays, Rob Reiner’s movies, picking stocks, betting at the roulette table and even farming.  

We often see patterns where there are none, so it’s important to determine when a streak is just random or an indication that something really has fundamentally changed.  Ben Cohen helps us sort it all out, and we learn valuable lessons we can apply to make better decisions and maybe, just maybe, create the conditions to experience the “hot hand” in our own lives and careers.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How Steph Curry’s big night changed the NBA and how we think about streaks
  • What research tells us about the “hot hand” in basketball
  • Why Shakespeare and Einstein did get the hot hand in their creative work
  • What is the “gambling fallacy” and how it relates to the “hot hand”
  • Why most people bet against the “hot hand” at the roulette table
  • How our understanding of streaks can make us better decision makers

Books & Resources

Connect with Ben Cohen

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