Luciano Canova
Libro: Invisible Elephant


Il Saggiatore

Publication date

May 2022





“A ghost like the invisible dumbo doesn’t need attics or cellars, to wail or make doors creak: he’s fine enough just sitting in an armchair in the middle of our house as if nothing were happening—and indeed, since he’s a ghost, we can barely see him.”

One day, in an Indian village long ago, an elephant arrived. The wise men in the village, who were blind, went out to see what it was. Each one of them touched the pachyderm in a different place: the tusk, the trunk, the tail. “It’s a snake!” one decided. “It’s a spear!” said another. “It’s the column of a Temple!” None of them could know what it was, because the elephant as a whole was invisible to them. They could only perceive it in parts, and so the elephant crushed them.

Luciano Canova opens Invisible Elephant with this metaphor to capture one of the most worrying aspects of human behavior. Invisible dumbos continue arriving on our planet (viruses, global warming, the Anthropocene, etc.), but we are not able to face them because we only notice the parts closest to us. Not only that: these challenges activate a series of dangerous mental traps that paralyze us and keep us from solving the bigger issues. So we feel useless, we get stuck in uncertainty, we put everything off.
In an inspiring manual that blends behavioral science, economics, psychology, and complex sciences, Canova helps us shake off common mental blocks, and gives us the tools necessary to live in the future that awaits us.

An economist and science writer, LUCIANO CANOVA teaches Behavioral Economics at Scuola Enrico Mattei. His research focuses on happiness and measurement of well-being. His podcast Favolosa Economia (Fabulous Economics) (Storielibere) is one of the most top podcast series on economics.

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