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Why Do Some Ideas Last Forever? Crack the Code with the Lindy Effect!

The Lindy Effect is a concept rooted in psychology and made popular by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book called "Antifragile."

It pitches the idea that the life expectancy of non-perishable things, say ideas, technologies, or concepts, tends to increase with time.

a statue of a man holding an orange flower

Photo by Taha on Unsplash

In another words, the longer something has been around or survived, the more likely it is to continue surviving in the future.

For example, consider the enduring popularity of books like Shakespeare's works. Despite being written centuries ago, they're still widely read & performed today.

The longer a book has existed, the more likely it is to continue existing and being relevant in the future. Do you agree with this?

What do I need to know?

Key points about the Lindy Effect:

  1. Non-perishable items' life expectancy: It applies to things that are not subject to aging or decay, like concepts, ideas, or cultural artifacts. The longer they've been around, the more likely they are to persist.
  2. Predictive power: It's not a deterministic rule but offers a probabilistic guideline. While it doesn’t guarantee longevity, it suggests that the longer something has existed, the higher the chances it will continue to exist.
  3. Adaptability and robustness: Items that survive the test of time often possess qualities that allow them to adapt, evolve, or remain relevant across changing circumstances or environments. This adaptability contributes to their longevity.

This article originally appeared in the Psych email newsletter.