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The Planning Fallacy

The Big Idea for Monday, October 21, 2013

In Thinking, Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman describes the planning fallacy as “plans or forecasts that are unrealistically close to best-case scenarios.”

Examples of this abound. In 1957 The Sydney Opera house was estimated to cost $7 million (Australian dollars) and the completion date was set for early 1963. It opened in 1973 with a price tag of $102 million.

In you are like just about every other human, you make the same kind of mistake in your own life all the time. You have an errand to run. You think it will take a certain amount of time, but then you discover that, after all, nothing takes five minutes. But in your head, you had concocted a best-case scenario. In today's lesson, we look at how we can think around the planning fallacy. 


  1. 1 A Day Late and a Dollar Short: The Planning Fallacy Explained
    Julia Galef In Their Own Words
  2. 2 You're So Predictable. Daniel Kahneman and the Science of Human Fallibility
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  3. 3 The Sartre Fallacy Part II: Is It Inevitable?
    Sam McNerney Moments of Genius
  4. 4 Congratulations, You Are Now Less Dumb
    Big Think Editors Big Think TV

The Planning Fallacy

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