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The Illusion of Recency

The Illusion of Recency

The Transom, Ben Domenech, January 30, 2017

 

Alan Jacobs. “I have come to believe that it is impossible for anyone who is regularly on social media to have a balanced and accurate understanding of what is happening in the world. To follow a minute-by-minute cycle of news is to be constantly threatened by illusion. So I’m not just staying off Twitter, I’m cutting back on the news sites in my RSS feed, and deleting browser bookmarks to newspapers. Instead, I am turning more of my attention to monthly magazines, quarterly journals, and books. I’m trying to get a somewhat longer view of things — trying to start thinking about issues one when some of the basic facts about them have been sorted out. Taking the short view has burned me far too many times; I’m going to try to prevent that from happening ever again (even if I will sometimes fail). And if once in a while I end up fighting a battle in a war that has already ended … I can live with that.”

Common Sense Commentary: In investment circles the ‘illusion of recency’ is better known as the interpretive weakness, salience – the commonplace tendency to regard the latest piece of information as the most important, valuable and most important to your conclusions. This is counter-acted by getting the big picture, valuing countervailing views, and by working hard to place all of your facts in context.