The huge market for simple answers

Standard

Following up to “The filthy habit of advertising“.

According to Steven Novella

Beware simple answers to complex problems, or easy methods for accomplishing difficult goals. If you combine this maxim with the advice to be skeptical of any claims that are being made in order to sell you something – then ironically you have a simple method (perhaps I should call it an “elegant” method) for protecting yourself from most scams and cons. Actually the application of this combination of maxims can be complex, but what it does do is trigger doubt and skeptical analysis. (And to be clear I am not saying that all simple solutions must be wrong – you should just beware them, meaning your skeptical senses should be tingling.)

The reason this rule of thumb is so useful is because there is a huge market for simple answers. A genuine elegant solution (one that accomplishes more with less) is highly valuable in the marketplace. We are used to technology delivering new easy solutions to previously difficult tasks. While most improvements are incremental, there are occasional breakthroughs that transform our lives.

Most advertisements are unintentionally humorous, until you pity the poor souls who actually fall for them.

A randomly encountered (Dec. 20, 2010) edition of Forbes has a 12-page promotional spread from the country of Libya.

Zuwara will resemble the best of Monaco, New York and Hong Kong, set in the heart of the Mediterranean.

A full-page ad for certified genius Manny Backus quotes him that

You can make enough money in the first hour of trading to take off and do whatever you’d like for the rest of the day.

Smaller ads say

Having no competition & being first to market, you can expect to make $250,000 your first year in your protected exclusive area. One time investment $14,900 usually recovered in 30 days or less.

and

Same or better results in exactly 4 minutes on the ROM machine as from 60 to 90 minutes in a gym

and

Allow us to take the labor out of finding the love of your life in a strictly confidential and focused manner — eliminating the pain points involved with random, un-vetted, and disastrous blind dating. […] Our clientele has no problem dating, but they don’t have the time, visibility or access to the caliber of woman they are looking to meet. By employing proven executive search methodologies, we hand select the must-meet women for our clients, and introduce them to the love of their life.

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