Friday, March 6, 2015

Think Like a Freak

Interesting excerpt from a Book I am currently reading - "How to Think Like a Freak" by Steven Levett (Pulitzer Prize winner equal to Nobel Prize in Literature)

A tough Question:
A little girl named Mary goes to the beach with her mother and brother. They drive there in a red car. At the beach they swim, eat some ice cream, play in the sand, and have sandwiches for lunch. Now the questions:
1. What color was the car?
2. Did they have fish and chips for lunch?
3. Did they listen to music in the car?
4. Did they drink lemonade with lunch?
All right, how’d you do?

Let’s compare your answers to those of a bunch of British schoolchildren, aged five to nine, who were given this quiz by academic researchers. Nearly all the children got the first two questions right (“red”and “no”). But the children did much worse with questions 3 and 4. Why?
Those questions were unanswerable—there simply wasn’t enough information given in the story. And yet a whopping 76 percent of the children answered these questions either yes or no. Kids who try to bluff their way through a simple quiz like this are right on track for careers in business and politics, where almost no one ever admits to not knowing anything. 

If the consequences of pretending to know can be so damaging, why do people keep doing it? That’s easy: in most cases, the cost of saying “I don’t know” higher than the cost of being wrong—at least for the individual.

If you say the stock market will triple within twelve months and it actually does, you will be celebrated for years (and paid well for future predictions). What happens if the market crashes instead? No worries. Your prediction will already be forgotten. Since almost no one has a strong incentive to keep track of everyone else’s bad predictions, it costs almost nothing to pretend you know what will happen in the future. In 2011,

For most people, it is much harder to say I don’t know. That’s a shame, for until you can admit what you don’t yet know, however that makes it virtually impossible to learn what you need to (for Real Success!).

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