The Smart Person Fallacy in two easy steps. “I’m smart, I can learn about situation X and figure out the way it should work.”

First step: Situation X is likely far more complex with far more moving parts and confused causes and effects than you can imagine. Autodidacts and polymaths are highly prone to this. True experts in a field are often far more skeptical about their own ability to understand. Often suffered by professional writers, journalists, commentators, columnists, analysts, investors and venture capitalists.

Second step: In many complex situations, logic matters far less than other factors — with incentives at the top of the list. So thinking your way to the answer may well be counterproductive or worse. Often suffered by intellectuals, academics, theorists, paternalistic left-wingers and venture capitalists.

Bonus step: For any mandated change to situation X, unintended consequences are likely to dominate the long term effects.

Source Tweets: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

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