Bookups No. 5 - Surprise! Surprise!

Bookup №5 took place on January 9, 2019. We chose the book “The Psychology of the Romanian People” by Daniel David. It’s not an easy read, somewhat tediously technical, but a useful book nonetheless.

The upside of the evening was the number of participants — seven in total, making it one of the biggest bookups we’ve had (Note: three out seven were possible partners & came to test the waters).

The downside was — Surprise! Surprise! — that none of the participants had read the book (aside from radudaniel and, partly, me). This certainly made us wonder what motivated these people to join the bookup, and what their expectations were.🤔

What clever things did we talk about?

First of all, Radu did most of the talking since he was the only one to go through the entire book and he is also very eloquent. Here are some ideas to give you a clue about the book:

  • Evolutionary genetics plays a big role in the development of character traits of populations. The example given is the resistance to pathogens: the population with generally weak immunity will be weary of strangers who could cary pathogens to which their bodies would not be able to respond. In social terms, this translates into a refractory attitude towards foreigners, leading to a closed, self-sufficient population;

  • The climate also has a strong say in a population’s general character traits, among which political violence: populations in countries with moderate climate are associated with higher rates of organised political violence, compared to populations exposed to low (17 Celsius) or high (30 Celsius) temperatures which have lower rates. Hence, political violence is not a common trait among Romanians, who tend to avoid conflicts of all types;

  • Romanians do not score highly at fluid intelligence tests, compared to other European countries and the US. (Note: Fluid intelligence refers to the ability to analyze & solve new problems using inherent logic, independent of knowledge gained in the past.) Fittingly, the education system in Romania focuses on the ability to hoard information, rather than the ability to reason;

  • The author does not go further than to simply present the findings of his ten year-long study, avoiding any interpretation or subjective analysis. However, important issues such as behavioural traits could benefit from some context and/or argumentation (e.g.: why do Romanians lack loyalty, commitment, perseverance & work ethics, in general?).

Random fun fact:

Did you know that in India, until 2017, attempted suicide was criminalized? That is to say, if you failed to kill yourself, you would go to jail or pay a fine, or both. One of the bookup participants enlightened us on this issue.

What did we learn?

The lessons learned during bookup no. 5 come mostly in the guise of questions:

  1. Should we seriously consider the possibility that people will join bookups without having done the reading or was this a one-off thing? If it is the former, what type of guidance can we offer through Bookups to ensure that the event is not wasted, and some sort of meaningful discussion takes place?

  2. Is it necessary to better explain the concept of a bookup & emphasize the debate/discussion aspect?

  3. What is the best way of asking people for feedback after an event? Apparently online questionnaires are not to the liking of Romanians: out of seven participants, we only received one feedback (later edit: three feedbacks), whereas in Singapore we got 3/3. Should we go back to paper questionnaires?

💡Conclusion: It is crystal clear that the main market for Bookups will not be Romania. But if we want to understand the needs/motivations/expectations of our clients, we need to start validating in Western Europe and the United States sooner rather than later…

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TalkTheTalk is the result of a journey of discovery filled with excitement, sweat, life experiences & a passion for exploring human ideas together with others. We thank the AC running this simulation for allowing us to seek an answer to our question. However, it will not be our last--