Appeal to Popularity: Don’t Jump on the Bandwagon

Appeal to Popularity Fallacy

“Be careful when you follow the masses. Sometimes the ‘M’ is silent.”  -Anonymous (perhaps Unanimous) I had a conversation with my friend, Majority: Me: “Buying a house is not always the best investment.” Majority: “Most people want to buy a house, so it must be the best investment. It’s just common knowledge.” This is an …

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Hasty Generalization: Definition, Examples, and How to Avoid It

Hasty Generalization

I had a conversation the other day with my friend, Hasty: Me: “Canada has a good public health system: they provide care to 100% of their population.” Hasty: “The Canadian healthcare system sucks! One of my friends from Canada goes to the United States for every medical procedure he needs; otherwise, he’d have to wait …

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Straw Man: Definition, Examples, and How to Disarm It

Straw man

Many people formed their first impression of Kamala Harris during the democratic primary debate. She argued that when Biden was a Senator he voted for a bill that opposed bussing. There was a little girl in California, she said, who was bussed to school every day. “That little girl,” she said, “was me.” Many people …

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Self Deception: Definition, Examples, and Breaking the Cycle of Self Deception

Self Deception

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.”  -Richard Feynman  When I was a boy, my parents often praised me for being intelligent: “Vishal, you’re so smart”; “You’re an intelligent boy”; “You’re as bright as kids come.”  Later, I learned their well-intentioned compliments were setting me …

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How to Avoid Bad Advice: Mistakes to Avoid before Rejecting an Expert

Bad Advice

My friend has a business that paints house numbers on the sidewalk. When he first started, he tried flyers, cold calling, and selling door to door. Nothing boosted his business.  One day he had an idea: a flyer depicting a fireman talking to a woman with the caption, “In case of fire, a legible house …

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