The Lindy Effect Explained

What Is The Lindy Effect | Nassim Taleb

The Lindy effect is another one of Nassim Taleb’s wonderfully repackaged incites from his Incerto series.

lindy effect explained

The Lindy Effect explains the ageing of non-perishable things. These things include ideas, customs, traditions, stories, technologies and more non-perishable. A book has a finite life span, but the story within those pages not.

If an idea, say Stoicism, has existed several thousand years till now, then we can assume that it is the superior of the competitive realm for ideas over that span on time. The fact that it is old proves that it was better than all incumbents that came along the way. So because it has existed for x amount of time then we can assume because of the Lindy effect that Stoiscm will exist foor x amount of time into the future.

Where Did The Lindy Effect Come From?

The Lindy Effect is an idea that comes from Nassim Taleb’s Incerto Series. Broadway actors used to meet at the New York Cafe Lindy to share some coffee and cheesecake. As the actors got to talking they came to realise that Broadway shows had predictibale lifespans on broadway according to how long the show had already been on broadway. A show that was new wasn;t likely to hang around as was a show that was old not likely to go away.

Nassim took extrapolated this idea further and came to realise it as a predicitbale heauristic for most non-perishable things.

Even Lindy Is Susectible To The Black Swan

Although the Lindy Effect is good at explaining the longevitiy of non perishables it is by no means a measure of certainty.

You cannot predict the future based off the past. The past is finite while the future is infinite.

Coffee is Lindy for being a beverage widely consumed for thousands of years. Accrding to Lindy you should be able to confidently infer that coffee will therefore be around for thousands years more. However a Black Swan can show up at any moment rendering coffee absent from the world in just one year from now. Lindy is a good measuring hueristic but certaintly not a certainty.

Link To The Lindy Effect Explained Podcast Episode

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