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The Law of Diminishing Returns illustration: a chart of broth quality increasing from a lone chef stirring a large pot to eventually decreasing once again as a crowd of chefs get in each other's way and goof off. Standard.

Law of diminishing returns

The law of diminishing returns: at some point, doing more of the same stops paying off like it used to.

You might think that adding more of a good thing would make things better. And, yes, that’s often true, up to a point. However, the law of diminishing returns suggests that as you add more of a single factor, you are likely to yield progressively lower benefits.

It’s like the old adage, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Another cook or two might help, but beyond that, they’ll probably start getting in each other’s way. Aside from cooking broth, you might see the law play out in spending on advertisements, quality improvements in production or your wealth.

And we should also never forget that “more is different”.

The sketchplanation is an homage to perhaps my favourite comedy sketch with an early-career Simon Pegg in the series Big Train: The Cake Factory (video). Well worth two and a half minutes.

Also see: the law of diminishing brownies

I updated this sketch for the release of Big Ideas Little Pictures. Here's the original

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