32 Comments

Oh golly... these are great. I am saving to reference.

I love these human behavior principles and find most of them to be accurate.

I would add the Pareto Principle: that for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes (the "vital few"). Also, 20% of the problem tends to attract 80% of the effort... and thus results in 10% of the solution. Together, with the Shirky Principle, it seems to explain why none of our big social and economic problems never get solved. Doing real root-cause analysis and focusing like a laser on those causes is something we Americans seems to suck at.

By the way Brad, you are my oldest son's age, and although I think he is a smart and knowledgeable guy, I would have pegged you are being older given your collective wisdom demonstrated in your writing.

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This was easily the most interesting read of the day.

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Aug 2, 2023·edited Aug 2, 2023Liked by Brad

Good stuff!!

the shirky Principle is also known as the March of Dimes effect. MOD was to cure Polio. Polio gone MOD still here.

FWIW I think one of the keys to my personal happiness is not being subject to #19

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Aug 2, 2023Liked by Brad

So much covered, so I have to choose one, so I'll chose number one. I do think people have fewer friends today and for many reasons. They also have fewer relatives they see, or speak to and few if any are living close by. The net provides substitutes, like Facebook, and cell phones too often become a person's sole meeting ground for others. Also neighborhoods are often in flux, and people move here and there, not only away from friends, but family as well. Today more then ever, and more so in the last 4 or 5 years whole families have left parents, relatives and friends behind to live someplace else, better job, lower housing costs, safer neighborhood, and some places like NY and San Francisco, well, I don't think I have to day more. Doing Ancestry I find relatives living next door, or up the block, and someone always home, since moms didn't work, and grandma was living with a relative and not in a nursing home, now, it's more likely another borough, another state.

When I was nine my hand went through a glass door panel, and I severed all the tendons in my right arm. My mom was food shopping but I didn't need her since my friend's Nanna was there to wrap my arm in her apron and rush me to the local pharmacy where he washed away the blood and wrapped my wrist so I couldn't see the open wound, then back home she found two men who worked local and they drove me to the hospital then came back with my mom. I guess you could say only in a small town.

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Aug 2, 2023Liked by Brad

I would argue that the half of the Peter Principle you mention is one of the few things we are improving on. this was very bad in the 60's and 70's. The downsizing of corporate america tended to address that. You see fewer people being promoted on the basis of time served and more on both merit and job fit. What we has continued is the half of the PP that relates to bureaucracy. He noted that the number of officers in the British navy grew exponentially larger than the growth of the navy. "never have so few been led by so many." Take a look at our gov and edu bureaucracies.

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Aug 2, 2023·edited Aug 2, 2023Liked by Brad

For us sticklers, you need to edit the Potato Paradox to include "by weight" after each appearance of "water".

If a potato is 99% water by weight, then it is 1% solids by weight.

If a potato is 98% water by weight, then it is 2% solids by weight.

In order to double the percentage-by-weight of solids, you must halve the percentage of water by weight.

Intuition is (apparently?) % by volume.

OK, now you've got me feeling pretty nerdy myself.

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Aug 2, 2023Liked by Brad

Just the fact that you curated the list says a lot Brad- kudos to you and Happy Birthday!

#12 is a downer though. I have firmly believed in the power of rational thought to overcome the media-spewed propaganda. My husband and I have disagreed over the years. He argues for the power of media to influence thought, while I have been steadfast that thinking people should know better. Looks like he wins!

And I guess I’m even older than most readers- my son is 39.

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Aug 2, 2023Liked by Brad

Great list. I'm not that influenced by it, but I'm sure others will be

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A brilliant list. Happy birthday!

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Wow. cool stuff. Thank you.

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Aug 5, 2023Liked by Brad

A late coming comment, because I got lost in the links. Wow you have a lot going on in your head. So many of your musings are just begging to be shared...my family had to put up with me talking out loud, sharing revelations while reading. And I’m not even at 32 yet 🤓. I agree with the commenter who said ‘best read of the day’ but I’d edit that to say ‘of the week’. Maybe month. Each idea could stand in its own as a post.

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The Paradox of Consensus reminded me of an interview with Einstein. He was asked what he thought about eighty scientists signing a letter disagreeing with his General Theory of Relativity.

"If I had been wrong, it would only have required one."

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Aug 4, 2023Liked by Brad

Happy Birthday Brad! Thanks for the list. I'm a big believer in #s 18 and 28! Maybe #5 since my spouse and I are nothing alike but have been happily married for years.

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Excellent. I bet there are many connections between this list and various "cognitive dissonances."

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Aug 2, 2023Liked by Brad

Only half way through and loving this great piece. Thanks!

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Well-said

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