Decoded Science published my "One Non-Bayesian Approach to the Two Envelope Paradox" yesterday.

The paradox starts by choosing one of two sealed envelopes; you were promised that one envelope contains twice as much money as the other.

"Stacks of Cash", image by 401(K) 2012
That's a sweet deal, but mathematics says that the envelope you didn't choose has a 25% higher expected value than the one you now hold.

As fortune would have it, once you switch, the newly rejected envelope becomes more valuable. This goes on forever.

My article explains the fallacy in the Two Envelope Paradox, and draws a lesson for the real world.

Promoting my "Two Envelopes" Article

As is my wont, DeHaan Services ("The Paradox of Two Envelopes of Infinite Value") publicizes my article, and so does my Xanga blog ("Two Envelopes, Always the Wrong Choice").

The "Two Envelope" Writing Tip

This writing tip will be more Zen-like than most.

Outside the math, one fallacy from the Two Envelope Paradox is that we humans can feel regret at making a choice that might not be optimal, but we have no way of testing that choice.

In your writing, you will inevitably think "I could have used a different example. That could have been worded differently. I should have used a simpler, or more poetic, turn of phrase".

At some point, you have to finish drafting and editing. Follow your instincts or your training, press the "publish" button and set your story free.

If you're writing advertising copy, then yes, there is definitely room for A/B testing. However, each test ad is its own finished piece.

This writing tip boils down to "do your best, and don't have regrets after publishing". Unlike the fallacy in the "Two Envelope Paradox", your article won't forever improve by 25% with each revision.

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    Mike DeHaan

    Mike DeHaan began writing professionally in 2010 as the sole proprietor of DeHaan Services.To see this information with the best background image, please refer to "About.Me",  befriend me at Facebook, or circle me at Google+.


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