Riddle Me This

Riddle Me This - Who To Toss From The Balloon

Four famous people are over the Pacific Ocean in a hot air balloon, when something goes wrong and they start losing height rapidly.

There’s only one solution – to toss one of them overboard and hope to regain enough buoyancy to carry them to safety.

  • #1 is a Nobel-winning American scientist who is on the verge of discovering a cure for world hunger.
  • #2 is a hyper-intelligent German researcher whose breakthroughs may transform the world of nano-technology and computing.
  • #3 is a highly talented, reputed Australian doctor, a specialist at curing anyone with a deadly disease affecting millions – that no one else can treat.
  • #4 is a top-class Russian soccer player for whom a European club recently paid $15 million.

Who should be tossed overboard – and why?

You’re allowed to ask me just ONE QUESTION (if you like) before you answer.

What’s your question? (Or are you ready with your answer already?)

Scroll down for the answer – but don’t do it until you’ve come to your conclusion!

  – – –

I first came across this problem in Reader’s Digest magazine in the 1970s.

It’s a simple ‘logic puzzle’ to highlight an important human element in decision-making.

Surprisingly, a 6-year old child was the only one among hundreds who wrote in with suggestions who got it ‘right’.

And the reason is that the older we get, the more likely we are to clutter up our decision-making process with trivia, incidentals and non-core factors or variables.

So, first – if you chose to ask me a question in response to my riddle, it should have been..

How much do they each WEIGH?

Or if you jumped straight in with your answer, it should have been…



Because the ‘problem’ is one of the balloon being too heavy to make it to safety. The ‘solution’ is to lose the most weight.

Everything else becomes inconsequential!

I get into more detail about this process in my recent article,

“What I Told My Teenage Niece About Choosing A Career & Life — And How You Can Use It As A Framework For Decision-Making, Too.”

What I Told My Teenage Niece About Choosing A Career & Life

You’ll find it helpful.

More so if you have teens of your own (or care specially for or about a teenager).

It worked remarkably well on my niece – and has helped a dozen other youngsters I’ve shared the framework with.

If you like the article, please share it with a friend.

And this riddle, too.

Oh, and please buy my book.

Thank you!

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