The Two Things game

The Two Things game

Economist Glen Whitman on The Two Things:

A few years ago, I was chatting with a stranger in a bar. When I told him I was an economist, he said, “Ah. So… what are the Two Things about economics?”

“Huh?” I cleverly replied.

“You know, the Two Things. For every subject, there are really only two things you really need to know. Everything else is the application of those two things, or just not important.”

“Oh,” I said. “Okay, here are the Two Things about economics. One: Incentives matter. Two: There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

Since, Glen has been playing this each time he meets someone from a different profession, which is how he gathered The Two Things about the Two Things:

1. People love to play the Two Things game, but they rarely agree about what the Two Things are.
2. That goes double for anyone who works with computers.

Head over to see his collection of The Two Things from binary systems to piloting an airplane, or a talk that wraps up with them. As for me: 1) intrigued, 2) curious if it could be edited down to only one thing.