The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

1) The book is all about being less irrational and eliminating heuristics and biases that the human mind is susceptible to. (1) Survivorship bias: society only reveals successes, not failures; (2) Swimmer’s Body Illusion: Does the swimmer look good because he swims a lot or does he naturally have a swimmers’ body? Very often, the second case prevails; (3) Clustering Illusions: our brains like to invent patterns which aren’t there; (4) Social Proof: herd mentality; (5) Sunk Cost Fallacy: we carry on because we have put a lot of effort into it. It is a lost cause; (6) Reciprocity: when people offer you free stuff, they want something in return most of the time; (7) Confirmation bias: Look for contradictions. Don’t simply believe what you already know; (8) Confirmation bias part 2: Write down your beliefs etc; (9) Authority bias: People are afraid to challenge authority; (10) Contrast Effect: We don’t notice small gradual changes; (11) Availability bias: we create examples which come most easily to us; (12) The it will get worse before it gets better fallacy: for most things, a good solution will work immediately; (13) Story Bias: Stories are attractive, but may not be true all the time; (14) Hindsight Bias: I told you so, overestimating predictive ability; (15) Overconfidence bias: too confident of their ability; (16) Chauffeur Knowledge: people who talk a lot but don’t know anything; (17) Illusion of Control: You need you have control, but you don’t; (18) Incentive super-response tendency: People think of short term rewards and bend the incentives in their favour; (19) Regression to Mean: if you are doing bad, chances are your performance will regress to the mean and not because of any marked improvement; (20) Outcome Bias: We tend to judge on the outcome and not the process; (21) The Paradox of Choice: Too much choice is a bad thing as decision making is slower; (22) Liking Bias: Compliments work. If you like a sales person, chances are that you will buy from him; (23) Endowment Effect: People think things they own are more valuable than others; (24) Coincidence: When something good happens, don’t just attribute it to God; (25) Groupthink: Everyone listens to the leader blindly; (26) Neglect of Probability: This is why people buy lottery; (27) Scarcity Error: Rare is valuable, even though you might not need it; (28) Base-rate neglect: Know the base rate and how common the event will occur; (29) Gamblers’ Fallacy: Most events in life are co-related; (30) The Anchor: the anchor will affect our future guesses; (31) Induction: when people draw universal certainties from individual observations; (32) Loss aversion: We are very afraid to lose; (33) Social Loafing: People hide behind teams and work less hard; (34) Exponential growth: use the rule of 72; (35) Winners’ curse: People usually tend to overbid to win at auctions; (36) Fundamental Attribution Error: Attribute success to humans and not other factors; (37) False Causality: Chicken and egg problem; (38) Halo Effect: We pay too much attention to good looking people and not their abilities; (39) Alternative Paths: People do not consider alternative routes once they have selected one; (40) Forecast Illusion: Experts are often poor at predictions; (41) Conjunction Fallacy: People like to look at the subset, not the full set; (42) Framing: be careful of the slant of the article; (43) Action bias: Society values do-ers, and not people who look and see; (44) Omission bias: Inaction can have consequences; (45) Self-serving bias: attribute success to yourselves and failures to others; (46) Hedonic Treadmill : Material items end up bringing short term happiness; (47) Self-Selection Bias: Why is it always me feeling; (48) Association bias: This is when people develop phobias; (49) Beginner’s luck: People with this will often revert to the mean; (50) Cognitive Dissonance: Convincing yourself that wrong decisions still might seem right; (51) Hyperbolic Discounting: We tend to fall for instant gratification; (52) ‘Because’ Justification: People like to come up with reasons; (53) Decision Fatigue: Making decisions when willpower is at a low; (54) Contagion Bias: We are sentimentally attached to some things; (55) The problems with averages: Learn to do things in moderation; (56) Motivation Crowding: Money can de-motivate in some cases; (57) Twaddle Tendency: People like to smoke; (58) Will Rogers Phenomenon: Stage migration effect to make both projects look good; (59) Information Bias: More information does not mean better; (60) Effort Justification: The more effort to put in, the more people value you; (61) The law of small numbers: There will be more chances of anomalies; (62) Expectations: If you fail to meet expectations, people will be disappointed; (63) Simple Logic: Learn to think before answering; (64) Forer Effect: People can often relate to Universal Descriptions; (65) Volunteer’s Folly: People think that volunteer work is unimportant once they are earning a lot; (66) Affect Heuristic: People make a decision based on their feelings only; (67) Introspection Illusion: Become your own worst critic; (68) Inability to close doors: We keep too many options open; (69) Neomania: People like new stuff only; (70) Sleeper Effect: The brain forgets the source of the message before the contents; (71) Alternative Blindness: Failure to compare with other viable options; (72) Social Comparison Bias: Withholding help to those who are better than you; (73) Primacy and Recency Effects: Firm impressions count; (74) Not invented here syndrome: People think their own work is better than others; (75) The Black Swan: Everything is difficult to predict; (76) Domain Dependence: Skills from one domain may not be easily transferable to another domain; (77) False-Consensus Effect: People overrate how popular they are; (78) Falsification of history: Altering the past so that they fit today’s reality; (79) In-Group Out-Group Bias: People like to stick to groups and don’t like being alone; (80) Ambiguity Aversion: We prefer known probability over unknowns; (81) Default Effect: People like to stick with the status quo; (82) Fear of Regret: We favour a lot of inaction because of this; (83) Salience Effect: Outstanding Issues attract our attention first; (84) House Money Effect: If people give you money, you will be more risk-seeking; (85) Procrastination: People tend to delay the important tasks to later; (86) Envy: People are generally envious of others; (87) Personification: We relate to stories or humans better; (88) Illusion of Attention: Humans are not good at multitasking; (89) Strategic Misrepresentation: People tend to lie in interviews; (90) Overthinking: Start doing and stop thinking; (91) Planning Fallacy: People plan too much; (92) Deformation Professionnelle: People can only converse in the field they are good at; (93) Zeigarnik Effect: Uncompleted tasks keep bugging us; (94) Illusion Skill: Luck can play a bigger part than skill; (95) Feature-positive effect: We have problem perceiving non-events; (96) Cherry-picking: ‘Wayang’; (97) Fallacy of the single cause: It is something hard to look for a single person to blame; (98) Intention-to-treat errors: File those failures and remove them from sample size; (99) News Illusion: Most news is distorted and reading it is unproductive

(2) Eliminate bad thinking and good results will follow




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