8. Loss and Ownership

How people’s non-conscious desire to avoid loss affects their choices in many, many ways.

Sometime in the 1890s, T.R Russell of Liverpool made a gold pocket watch. According to an inscription on the movement, Russell was a watchmaker for the Admiralty and the Queen. The watch has a beautiful, clean face and an assertive tick. It is about 1½ inches in diameter and weighs a hefty 4¾ ounces. I know this because I weighed it on my kitchen scales a couple of months ago, before entrusting it to a safe deposit box.

I inherited the pocket watch from a great uncle I hardly knew. He was a laborer who had immigrated to England from County Donegal in Ireland in the 1920s. My great uncle worked hard for many years in dusty factories, ...

Get The Business of Choice: Marketing to Consumers’ Instincts now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.