Field of Science

Folly in business

US businesses are now taking advice from psychics! According to an article in Newsweek ( some are now paying $10,000 per month to keep one on call.

The good news, I think, is that most of those foolish enough to waste money on this are too embarrassed to let their names be published. According to Newsweek “… almost all [the clients] who spoke to Newsweek … requested anonymity out of concern for their reputations.”

Of course this is hardly the only way that businesses pay for unproven advice. A good deal of management consultancy is equally unproven if a good deal more logical (and I write as a management consultant). But it’s one thing to seek advice from someone with knowledge and experience of your field; quite another to ask someone qualified only by ignorance and beliefs that defy reason.

This is another US trend that we can do without.

My thanks to Marketing Fray, the blog of Copernicus Marketing, for alerting me to this nonsense.

1 comment:

  1. The exclamation mark seems to imply surprise, but there should be no surprise. Business people as a group seem to be extraordinarily prone to superstitious beliefs and opinions based on ignorance (think of the fashion for feng shui, for example). These beliefs can always be justified by individuals by reference to their no-nonsense hardheadedness, which they must have because, after all, they are in business.

    My hypothesis for this is that success or failure in business is due to circumstances largely out of their control, and is far more luck than skill. Like early people living in an environment that they cannot control, they seek the illusion of control, whether it's through placating the spirits of the ancestors or using psychic.


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