Available for pre-order now, launching Nov 19th.

Cognitive Biases

A cheat sheet to help you remember 200+ biases via 3 conundrums.

The 3 conundrums we must face.

Information

There's too much information to process, and we have limited attention to give, so we filter lots of things out.

Noise becomes signal.

The downside: we don’t see everything. Some of the information we filter out is actually useful and important..

Meaning

Lack of meaning is confusing, and we have limited capacity to understand how things fit together, so we create stories to make sense of everything.

Signal becomes a story.

The downside: our search for meaning can conjure illusions. We sometimes imagine details that were filled in by our assumptions, and construct meaning and stories that aren’t really there.

Time

We never have enough time, resources, or attention at our disposal to get everything that needs doing done, so we jump to conclusions with what we have and move ahead.

Stories become decisions.

The downside: quick decisions can be seriously flawed. Some of the quick reactions and decisions we jump to are unfair, self-serving, and counter-productive.

The 13 strategic shortcuts we've picked up to compensate.

Filter information

  • 1. Depend on the context.
  • 2. Accept what comes to mind.
  • 3. Amplify the bizarre.
  • 4. Notice the new and different.
  • 5. Seek take-aways.

Confabulate stories

  • 6. Fill in gaps.
  • 7. Favor the familiar.
  • 8. Treat experience as reality.
  • 9. Simplify mental math.
  • 10. Be overconfident.

Jump to conclusions

  • 11. Stick with it.
  • 12. Protect existing beliefs.
  • 13. Do the safe thing.

All 200+ biases are both blessings and curses.

People who have influenced my thinking

My current beliefs

  • Every single person, including myself, has many implicit associations that lead to bias that they can't fully eradicate in themselves. It's more effective to accept that fact, and account for it by being transparent about it, than to try to hide it.
    🧠 ❤️ 💪 🐲 More context
  • We're susceptible to many cognitive biases and logical fallacies, because our brains require them to get any thinking done within our constraints of time and energy.
    🧠 💪 🐲
  • See all beliefs

Related writing

Buster Benson (@buster) is a writer and builder of things. If you're new here, check the about page or see my entire life on a page.

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