Questioning the inanities

Here are five extremely well written articles this week (except may be the fifth one) that take down popular and feel-good but false theories and claims.

  1. Power of Positive Thinking
    “Nearly every technique in which positive thought is meant to bring about better results may actually backfire”. Don’t go walking on coal based on Guru’s goading.
  2. Role of Luck
    “Work by Watts, Sagalnik, and Dodds suggests that although market success does depend on the quality of a product, the link is extremely variable and uncertain. Even the best contestant in a product category may fail, and even the worst one sometimes wins. And for an overwhelming majority of contestants in the intermediate-quality range, they found success to be largely a matter of chance.”
  3. Ideas not worth spreading 
    “Today TED is an insatiable kingpin of international meme laundering—a place where ideas, regardless of their quality, go to seek celebrity, to live in the form of videos, tweets, and now e-books.” One TED video I watched about a man standing up and dancing and everyone joining him comes to my mind as classic example of stories told without considering alternative explanations.
  4. How to write a Malcolm Gladwell book
    Or a Seth Godin book, or a Chris Anderson book. They are all the same. Just ask Mr. Godin to explain what he means by “remarkable
  5. Effect of Boards on Stock Performance
    Do board of directors have any influence on a stock’s performance? Given that how can a study make a case that companies that have at least one woman board member performed better than those that did not?

Finally here is another article about Nigerian scammers that can explain why Gurus seem to be producing theories and articles that have no evidence other than the only stories they used to develop the very theories. They are not writing for the thinking public. They are targeting those who have willfully suspended their thought.