In the course of my reading books, articles, blogs etc, shockingly how I never came across the “Razors and Rules”, or maybe I did; but just never showed articulate concerns or let’s say, it didn’t strike a chord. But many thanks to George Mack for sharing about razors and rules in a twitter thread.
According to wikipedia, In philosophy, a razor is a principle or rule of thumb that allows one to eliminate (“shave off”) unlikely explanations for a phenomenon, or avoid unnecessary actions. OR in simpler terms, is a rule that cuts out conclusions that have a poor (low) probability of being correct. Below are some of the rules of thumb that simplify decisions.
This post is coined from a twitter thread by George Mack, I liked it and thought to share it with you all.
Razors and rules of thumb
- If unsure what action to take, let your 80-year-old self make it.
- If unsure who to work with, pick the person that has the best chances of breaking you out of a 3rd world prison.
- If someone brags about their success or happiness, assume it’s half what they claim.
- If someone downplays their success or happiness, assume it’s double what they claim.
- The map is not the terrain.
- When telling a story, if it’s non-essential – don’t include it.
- ”If you say in the 1st chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the 2nd or 3rd chapter it absolutely must go off. if it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there”.
- The more uncomfortable the activity, the more likely it will lead to growth.
- The more comfortable the activity, the more likely it will lead to stagnation.
- 1000 uncomfortable hours > 10, 000 comfortable hours.
- If you have a project, combat Hofstader’s Law by setting a ridiculously ambitions deadline.
- Even if it takes 3x longer than the deadline, you’re ahead of everyone else.
- Elon Musk missing his super human deadlines is a feature rather than a bug.
- Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
- What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
- It always takes longer than you expect, even when take into account Hofstadter’s Law.
- Every project costs 2x (twice) as much and takes 3x (thrice) as long – even when you factor this into your projections.
Joe Rogan’s Razors:
- If unsure what action to take – ask what the hero in the movie would do.
- If you’re intensely passionate about something and nobody around you is interested in it – assume the scale of the internet might help you find them.
- If stuck with two (2) equal options, pick the one that feels like it will produce the most luck later down the line.
- Never allow yourself to have an opinion on a subject you can state the opposing arguments better than the the opposition can.
- if you have two (2) choices to make and it’s 50/50, take the path that’s more painful in the short term.
- If a task is worth less than your ambitious hourly rate – outsource it, automate it or delete it.
Newton’s Flaming Laser Sword (Alder’s Razor):
- If something cannot be settled by experiment or observation, then it is not worthy of debate.
- Simple assumptions/explanations are more likely to be correct than complex assumptions.
- Avoid Occam’s Duct Tape:
- Someone who approaches a problem with a ridiculously number of assumptions.
- Never need to monetize your artistic pursuits. You won’t have to sacrifice your inner joy and vision for a payday.
- Arnold made millions from property and D2C bodybuilding guides so he never had to say yes to acting gigs he didn’t like.
- If procrastinating on an item, you only have two (2) options:
- Make the pain of not doing it greater than the pain of doing it.
- Make the pleasure of doing it greater than the pleasure of not doing it.
- If presented with two seemingly equal candidates for a role, pick the one with the least amount of charisma.
- The un-charismatic one has got there despite their lack of charisma.
- The charismatic one has got there with the aid of their charisma.
Walt Disney’s Rule:
- If struggling to think clearly about a subject, draw it out.
Here’s Walt Disney’s drawing he made in 1957 of the Media Empire he wanted to build. It’s iconic
So after researching and reading about razors and rules of thumb, I came across two more fascinating razors below.
- No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle unless that testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish.
- Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
- This standard is a reformulation of Hume’s razor; in other to prove something incredible, the evidence must be equally incredible.
This list is not comprehensive of all possible razors and rules, again, they are rules-of-thumb rather than formal tools.
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