Bullshit filters

Source These are heuristics, not hard-and-fast rules.

1. Are they free to speak their minds?

  • If they are in an institution – who funds it?
  • If they are in a company – what are the incentives of the company?
  • As an individual, what are their incentives?

2. Does their livelihood depend on being right?

What happens to them if they’re wrong? If they predicted something incredibly wrongly, would they be more likely to lose their job? Or are their jobs tied to other indicators, such as reader/viewership rather than “correctness” of the analysis?

3. Do they take cyberspace seriously?


  1. As Munger said: “Show me the incentive and I’ll show you the outcome.” Be wary of views coming from people who are not free to speak their minds on the topic at hand, because of their existing incentives.
  2. Favor views from those who get paid for being right, discount views from those who get paid for sounding right.
  3. The balance of power is being overturned by information technology. Favor people who deeply understand it and work it into their world view.