Thursday, December 5, 2013

How many people? Dunbar's number

Robin Dunbar is an evolutionary anthropologist.  He has famously suggested that there is a limited amount of people with whom we can maintain meaningful relationships.  Dunbar's number is right around 150.  He arrived at this conclusion after over 15 years of surveying successful group sizes throughout history, from primates to Roman platoons to successful Fortune 500 companies.   Recently I have heard it suggested that some of those spots can be held by celebrities or politicians.  For example, if you watch Oprah on a daily basis then Oprah may be taking up one of the valuable and limited spots in your top 150.  This creates many questions in my mind that I want to share.

Who is in my 150?
Are they there by my choice or are they there by default?
Who do I add in order to improve my group?
Who do I drop in order to improve my 150?

Being conscious of who is in our 150 is is vital.  Environment is stronger than will.  Studies have shown that people with obese friends quickly gain weight and will eventually become obese.  

Be careful who you allow to take up the few spots you have available.