I’ve recently read two great pieces of writing that start with a well known exceptional thing, and largely show that it is predictable, given a proper understanding of the circumstances. The first is Human Advantage by neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel. The book tackles the notion that the human brain is exceptional: exceptionally large, exceptionally high in neurons, exceptionally high in energy cost. It turns out that the human brain is all of these things - large, costly and complex - but not in an exceptional way: it is pretty much as expected for primates of our size, and the really interesting evolutionary deviation was that of primates from other mammals.

Similarly, Random Critical Analysis looks at healthcare spending in the US, which seems high, but turns out not to be as a percentage of household disposable income. It is much more in line with other service spending, and the experience in other countries even under different organizations of healthcare spending.

Both a great reads, and I found the rhyme between the two particularly interesting - something that seemed exceptional and special case was in fact part of a general case pattern. That changes how you look at it, and the kind of interventions you might try to improve a deficiency. I suspect this pattern is a common one - if we think some large scale result is somehow unique to the group being looked at, we are likely to be wrong, and should at the very least investigate whether, in fact, this is just "another one of those".