Survivorship Bias

My neighbors think I am a great gardener. The secret is to immediately get rid of my failures, so that only the successes are seen. When someone compliments my lilac bush, I don’t mention the several previous lilacs that died. Similarly, people talk about the risky behavior they survived in their younger years, while no one gets to hear from those who actually died. That is survivorship bias. This guy won the lottery, but that doesn’t mean he has any particular wisdom about it, much less a foolproof method. After all, the many people who lost money on that lottery were not asked to speak about their experiences. This illustration of survivorship bias is brought to you by Randall Munroe at xkcd.

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