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Patterns of Failure

Why do talented people make decisions that have bad outcomes? There is a cornucopia of candidates. Leading contenders are Unstated Assumptions, Unexamined Assumptions, Undefined Meanings, False Knowledge, Logical Fallacies, and Cognitive Biases.

But which errors are the most frequent and consequential. There is no research to answer that question. What Decision Clarity Consulting has done is to query Google’s Ngram Viewer to determine which are the most discussed based on the weak but reasonable assumption that those most discussed are those that are most problematic.

The top twenty most discussed decision-making errors follow.

  • Trade-offs
  • Anecdotal Evidence
  • False assumptions
  • Cognitive Dissonance
  • Anthropomorphism
  • Fallacy of composition
  • Unstated Assumptions
  • Slippery Slope
  • Selective perception
  • Halo effect
  • Argumentum Ad hominem
  • Illusory correlation
  • Source Credibility
  • Forer effect (aka Barnum effect)
  • Sunk cost bias
  • Begging the Question
  • Fundamental attribution error
  • Generalizing personalities
  • Amphiboly
  • Hindsight bias

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