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published 14 ideas

100 Little Ideas

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Buridan’s Ass

A thirsty donkey is placed exactly midway between two pails of water. It dies because it can’t make a rational decision about which one to choose. A form of decision paralysis.

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Base rates of something you are undertaking

Base Rates : The success rate of everyone who’s done what you’re about to try.

Base-Rate Neglect : Assuming the success rate of everyone who’s done what you’re about to try doesn’t apply to you, caused by overestimating the extent to which you do things dif...

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People have more compassion for small groups of victims than larger groups, because the smaller the group the easier it is to identify individual victims.

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“90% of everything is crap.” The obvious inverse of the Pareto Principle, but hard to accept in practice.

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Members of a group become lazier as the size of their group increases. Based on the assumption that “someone else is probably taking care of that.”

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Automatically rejecting evidence that contradicts your tribe’s established norms. Named after a Hungarian doctor who discovered that patients treated by doctors who wash their hands suffer fewer infections, but struggled to convince other doctors that his finding was true.

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Trying to persuade someone to do one thing can make them more likely to do the opposite, because the act of persuasion can feel like someone stealing your freedom and doing the opposite makes you feel like you’re taking your freedom back.

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A belief that rational decisions can be made with quantitative measures alone, when in fact the things you can’t measure are often the most consequential. Named after Defense Secretary McNamara, who tried to quantify every aspect of the Vietnam War.

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Strong correlations can fall apart when combined with a larger population. Among hospital patients, motorcycle crash victims wearing helmets are more likely to be seriously injured than those not wearing helmets. But that’s because most crash victims saved by helmets did not nee...

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Falsely associated simulations with real life. Nassim Taleb: “Organized competitive fighting trains the athlete to focus on the game and, in order not to dissipate his concentration, to ignore the possibility of what is not specifically allowed by the rules, such as kicks to the...

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We judge others based solely on their actions, but when judging ourselves we have an internal dialogue that justifies our mistakes and bad decisions.

(Also known as Fundamental attribution error )

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The 90-9-1 Rule : In social media networks, 90% of users just read content, 9% of users contribute a little content, and 1% of users contribute almost all the content. Gives a false impression of what ideas are popular or “average.”

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Confronted with two equally good options, you struggle to decide, even though your decision doesn’t matter because both options are equally good. The more equal the options, the harder the decision.

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Performance declines when supervisors/teachers have low expectations of your abilities.

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