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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Get On a Bandwagon

When Lila and I were in the bus coming back from seeing Xi'an's Terracotta Warriors, we saw a billboard advertising Lishan, a local mountain paradise. There's a steep path leading up the mountain, and in the picture on the ad people were walking chest-to-shoulder-blades up it.

The "bandwagon fallacy" definitely sells in China.

But bandwagons have a bum rap. Sometimes the only place to be is on the bandwagon.

To paraphrase the old song title, "Fifty million happy people can't be wrong!"

Let's get (nearly) literal about this. Have you ever seen The Music Man?

It's one of my favorite movies. In it, a con-man comes to town to sell instruments and band uniforms for the purpose of forming a boys' band.

Make no mistake: It is a con. But the only unhappy people in the whole movie are the ones who resist it. Everyone else is "on the bandwagon" and having a ball. The nay-sayers come around in the end, and when they get on the bandwagon, they get happy, too.

So why not join the crowd? Jump on a fad? Go with the flow? Find something you like, that everyone is doing, and do it.

You'll be happier.

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