Survivorship Bias: Why You Should Visit Cemeteries

Imagine the year is 1942 and you are in the middle of World War II. As General of the Army, you are in a peculiar situation – six of every 10 planes you send into enemy territory are gunned down.

What is your solution?

You decide to go for more heavily armored planes. But there is a catch – encasing an entire plane in heavy armor would make it heavier and slower. On the other hand, fitting too little armor would make it susceptible to damage from enemy fire.

It turns out that your team has already conducted a detailed study of the locations of bullet holes on the planes that were able to return to base. They looked like this:

As the picture shows, the wings, tail gunner and center of the plane’s body were the worst hit. Your advisors suggest that these sections be reinforced with armor.

What would you do?

Let me give you two options:

1) Invest in the wings, tail gunner and center

2) Invest in the other parts

Take a minute to select an option.

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