Lockwood analyzes survivor bias from two key perspectives, that of observers outside of the set of survivors and that of observers who are part of the survivor group, concluding that both perspectives are misleading in different ways. External observers can fall prey to mistakes such as overestimating the chances of a mutual fund’s success or believing in outside causes like ESP, while members of a survivor group are likely to underestimate the potential for future catastrophes, like nuclear war or climate change, simply because they have not happened yet. Lockwood cautions that observing these global risks clearly is necessary in order to effectively counter them.
Lockwood’s clear and brisk style breaks down complex ideas, and his past experience as a lecturer at Stanford, as well as on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley, serves him well in making his case.Curious readers eager for a better grasp on complex mathematical principles or who enjoy big ideas will find this an accessible explanation of survivor bias and how it can cloud our thinking.
Takeaway: Readers looking for a big idea or to reduce their own cognitive bias will find this exploration of survivor bias illuminating.
Great for fans of: Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Black Swan, Leonard Mlodinow’s The Drunkard’s Walk.
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Marketing copy: B