Behavioral Grooves Podcast

Liz Fosslien: The Smile File

March 4, 2019

Liz Fosslien is the co-author and illustrator of No Hard Feelings: The secret power of embracing emotions at workThe book is a wickedly funny guide to un-repressing your emotions at work, finding constructive channels even for jealousy and anxiety, demystifying coworker communication styles, and ultimately allowing readers to be the same person in work and in life. She recently joined Humu to develop nudges and behavior change models that make life at work better. 

Our conversation with Liz, like all of our conversations, meandered from her book to her workout music (EDM), to her background in math and economics, to 14 Ways An Economist Says I Love You, to the burnout that led to the book, to the research and findings that the book explores, to the OREO method of feedback and much more.

The primary concept we took away was that our emotions can play a positive role at work for a variety of reasons, and the second is about how to deal with the limits or restrictions that we sometimes place on ourselves in the workplace. We talked about how these approaches impact our productivity and our emotional health.

In our grooving session, Kurt and Tim discussed psychological safety, how emotions are contagious, to loss aversion and its relationship to our naturally negative brains, to William Kahn’s ground-breaking work on psychological safety, to Vittorio Gallese’s work on mirror neurons and Kurt and Tim’s first-ever song based on a behavioral science principle: Loss Aversion.

We hope you enjoy our conversation with Liz and please refer us to a friend if you like this episode. 


Liz Fosslien:

Liz & Mollie’s book: No Hard Feelings: The secret power of embracing emotions at work.

Liz’s article on how economists say I Love You: 14 ways an economist says I love you 

National Affairs:

Project Aristotle:

Vittorio Gallese, PhD:

William Kahn, PhD: “Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement & Disengagement at Work”

Thaler & Sunstein, Nudge:

Loss Aversion (Kurt & Tim’s video):

Tears for Fears – “Shout”

Bob Dylan:

Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam):


Kurt Nelson, PhD contact: email [email protected] or Twitter @motivationguru or LinkedIn  

Tim Houlihan contact: email [email protected] or Twitter @THoulihan or LinkedIn  


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