3 Ideas in 2 Minutes on the Pitfalls of Perfect Planning
The Planning Fallacy, Central Planning & Muphry’s Law
I. The Planning Fallacy
The Planning Fallacy is a cognitive bias that leads people to underestimate the amount of time they need to complete a task — even though they know from experience that it will most likely take longer. It was first proposed in 1979 by psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Common reasons for the miscalculation are said to be overconfidence in best-case scenarios and plain old wishful thinking.
Unfortunately, Kahneman and Tversky’s discovery did not prevent the German Berlin-Brandenburg Airport from opening with a nine-year delay and more than 7 billion euros over budget. But it’s a fantastic example.
II. Central Planning
German economist and North Korea expert Rüdiger Frank on the realities of central planning:
One of the many fallacies of state socialism: the belief that economic performance can be lastingly and substantially improved by a “better” plan, and that this time, it’s gonna work. Year after year... Central planning and state ownership are the problem, not the solution.
III. Muphry’s Law
You know Murphy’s Law. Have you heard of Muphry's Law? Here’s Australian author John Bangsund explaining the pitfalls of editing and critique:
(a) If you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written.
(b) if an author thanks you in a book for your editing or proofreading, there will be mistakes in the book;
(c) the stronger the sentiment expressed in (a) and (b), the greater the fault;
(d) any book devoted to editing or style will be internally inconsistent.
—John Bangsund, Muphry’s Law
I’d like to take this opportunity to express my immense gratitude to the love of my life for proofreading all newsletters. 🐘
Have a great weak,
P.S.: Check out my latest long-form essay: Making Recommendations: 5+2 Principles for Effective Decision-Making Advice