Thinking Fast and Slow Chapter 23: The Outside View

Following the schedule of our reading calendar

This is another Talebian chapter, touching a subject that he also develops in anti-fragile, the planning fallacy, and how difficult it is to calculate how long a complex project is going to take.

The main point here is to observe how different planning is if you take the inside view -the people that are working with the project-and an outside view that brings statistical information on how long on average a certain type of project is going to take. From the inside the temptation of thinking “this is different” is so great that one only focus in our specific, unique case and not consider the statistics of the class to which the case belongs to.

Once again, the examples -in this case of planning fallacies- are depressing, like the New Scotish Parliament estimated to cost 40 millions Pounds ending up costing 431 millions. But the cure to such fallacy, as Kahneman explains, is simple. Just get some previous statistics of how much similar projects took and cost before you make you estimations.

We all can get relevant lessons for our daily lives if we consider the outside view. A couple of yeasr ago or so I realized that I sucked at planning how much time any project was going to take, and then I realized that I was doing the inside view, I was with my mind set on the idea that “next month is going to be different” but then I realized that it was more proper to take an outside view and make a simple calculation. If, in the last ten months, I’ve been so busy with other stuff that I couldn’t finish so and so, why do I think the next months is going to be different?  And now I sucked a little less at planning.

Thank you Daniel, thank you Nassim



2 thoughts on “Thinking Fast and Slow Chapter 23: The Outside View

  1. Great chapter indeed!! The first section of it, the story about the committee developing the curriculum, is, till now, what has impacted me the most in the book. Another chapter full of good advice.

    And all of it reminds me of Hofstadter’s Law:
    It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

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