How Anthropology Can Explain Business and Life

How To Academy presents… How Anthropology Can Explain Business and Life | Gillian Tett, editor-at-large, Financial Times



Anthropologists excel in uncovering the rituals that govern how people act. How can their techniques transform how we do business? Gillian Tett reveals a revelatory new way of explaining human behaviour.

For over a century, anthropologists have immersed themselves in unfamiliar cultures. Now, a new generation of anthropologists are using these methods in a new context -to illuminate the behaviour of businesses and consumers around the globe.

In this talk, Gillian Tett – bestselling author, Financial Times journalist, and anthropology PhD –reveals how anthropology can help make sense of the corporate world.

She will explain how to identify the ‘webs of meaning’ that underpin consumers’ behaviour on the other side of the planet.

She will reveal why ‘sense-making’ can explain the most erratic behaviour of Wall Street bankers, and why concealed systems of barter shape our relationship with Silicon Valley.

And she will delve into the cultural shifts driving investment in new markets and green issues. And she reveals what anthropology can tell us about our own workplaces, too: by identifying the hidden tribes within the office, or pinpointing which rituals are binding together a team.

Along the way, she will draw on stories from Tajik villages and Amazon warehouses, Japanese classrooms and City trading floors, all to reveal the power of anthropology in action. In a short-sighted world, we can all learn to see clearly using the power of anthropology.

Praise for Gillian Tett’s Anthro-Vision:

‘Whether you’re marketing Kit-Kats in Japan or fighting the spread of COVID-19 in England, you need a more qualitative understanding of who people are and what they care about. To solve twenty-first-century problems, we must expand our fields of vision and fill in old blind spots with new empathy.’ – Melinda Gates

‘A fascinating and compelling demonstration that all of us, especially economists, can benefit from the insights of anthropology: the worm’s-eye not just the bird’s-eye view of how people behave.’ – Mervyn King

‘A book that will turn your world upside down in the best possible way: fun, profound and bursting with important insights.’ – Tim Harford

‘In a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, we need an antidote to tunnel vision. . . Admirers of Tett’s journalism will love this book, but they will also learn a great deal from it –including how better to understand their own familiar yet strange tribe.’ – Niall Ferguson

Gillian Tett is the chairman of the US editorial board and editor-at-large at the Financial Times. Perhaps best known for predicting the 2007–8 financial crisis, Tett’s bestselling book Fool’s Gold was one of the definitive books on the crash. Tett holds a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge, where she studied marriage rituals in Tajikistan. Her work for the FT has taken her around the world –from Brussels to Tokyo to Moscow to New York–and won her numerous awards, including Columnist, Journalist and Business Journalist of the Year prizes at the British Press Awards.

The event is finished.


Jul 12 2021


1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

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