Survivorship Bias - Deepstash

Survivorship Bias

We tend to overestimate the chances of success because success stories are more likely to be reported, while failure stories do not.

"Behind every popular author you can find a hundred other writers whose books never sell."

How to elude the survivorship bias?

  • Do the digging yourself.
  • Many successful individuals or teams share "success factors" with other winners and likewise, many failed individuals or teams share the same characteristics and traits as those who succeeds.
  • Guard against survivorship bias by visiting the graves of once-promising projects, investments, and careers.

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MORE IDEAS FROM The Art of Thinking Clearly

Swimmer's body illusion is whenever we confuse selection factors with results.

Some people are born with selection factors that makes them eligible for the success that they have now achieved. For example a swimmer might not have a perfect body because he swims, but because he was genetically equipped with the appropriate physique.

So before deciding to take on the plunge to emulate another person's actions or choices, hoping for the same end result, look in the mirror -- and be honest about what you see.

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When you start seeing a pattern in something, always consider the possibility that the occurence is simply by chance.

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We are genetically programmed with herd instinct -- to follow the crowd. However, it does not always mean that when the crowd does something, that action of choice is correct.

"If fifty million people sat something foolish, it is still foolish" - W. Somerset Maugham

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RELATED IDEA

Introduction- Cognitive errors

It's very common that each and every one of us makes mistakes, what the author, Rolf Dobelli says, experts call as cognitive errors.

Some of these errors are:

  • We overestimate our knowledge more often
  • Fear of losing, drives us much more than gaining something of similar value
  • We tend to adjust our behaviour in the presence of others
  • Exceptional stories make us neglect the average success rate of an action
  • And many such more...

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We make quick assumptions, errors because of not seeing evidence and so many more erroneous thanks. This doesn't mean that our brain isn't smart, but that it helped us survive a thousand years ago and that our brain is still wired for the homo sapiens of 10.000 BC.

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  1. System 1 and System 2: Use fast thinking for routine decisions and slow thinking for important decisions.
  2. Bayesian Thinking: Continuously update the confidence in your beliefs as you come across new information.
  3. First Principles Thinking: If you face a difficult problem, break it down and reassemble it from the ground up.
  4. Occam’s Razor: When there are many possible explanations, assume that the simplest one is probably correct.
  5. Hanlon’s Razor: If someone mistreats you, assume that they probably did it out of neglect rather than malice.

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