In his classic article, “The Abilene Paradox,” professor Jerry Harvey tells the story of his family’s decision to drive their ’58 Buick – with no air conditioning – 53 miles to Abilene for supper.
When they returned home several hours later, hot and exhausted, it turned out that none of them really wanted to make the trip. Each family member revealed that they would have strongly preferred to stay home and play dominoes. As professor Harvey describes the situation: “Here we were, four reasonably sensible people who, of our own volition, had just taken a 106-mile trip across a godforsaken desert in a furnace-like temperature, through a cloud-like dust storm, to eat unpalatable food at a hole-in-the-wall cafeteria in Abilene, when none of us had really wanted to go. The whole situation simply didn’t make sense.” (more…)