Let Super Thinking upgrade your brain with mental models!
"You can't really know anything if you just remember isolated facts. If the facts don't hang together on a latticework of theory, you don't have them in a usable form. You've got to have models in your head." —Charlie Munger
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300+ Mental Models Explained in 9 Chapters
The world's greatest problem-solvers, forecasters, and decision-makers all rely on a set of frameworks and shortcuts that help make decisions and separate good ideas from bad. They're called mental models, and you can find them by scouring dense textbooks on psychology, physics, economics, and more.
Chapter 1: Being Wrong Less
Solving problems without bias, including models such as arguing from first principles, the third story, premature optimization, and confirmation bias.
Chapter 2: Anything That Can Go Wrong, Will
Avoiding unintended consequences, including models such as Goodhart's law, the precautionary principle, preserving optionality, and principal-agent problems.
Chapter 3: Spend Your Time Wisely
Getting the most out of your future, including models such as north star, opportunity cost, present bias, leverage, and the default effect.
Chapter 4: Becoming One with Nature
Adapting and reacting to change, including models such as luck surface area, forcing functions, critical mass, flywheels, and the technology adoption life cycle.
Chapter 5: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
Making sense of uncertainty, including models such as statistical significance, selection bias, meta-analysis, false positives, and the base rate fallacy.
Chapter 6: Decisions, Decisions
Approaching decision-making, including models such as cost-benefit analysis, decision trees, systems thinking, unknown unknowns, and the discount rate.
Chapter 7: Dealing with Conflict
Managing adversarial situations, including models such as exit strategy, reciprocity, deterrence, containment, dark patterns, and the prisoner's dilemma.
Chapter 8: Unlocking People's Potential
Leading incredible teams, including models such as deliberate practice, imposter syndrome, directly responsible individual, and 10x teams.
Chapter 9: Flex Your Market Power
Creating competitive advantage, including models such as customer development, product/market fit, crossing the chasm, and disruptive innovations.
"Internalizing these mental models will help you understand the world around you. Once you can spot them, you can change your own behavior to avoid common traps, adjust how you interact with people to get better results, and maybe even articulate new mental models of the world that have yet to be discovered."CEO & Co-founder of Coinbase
How can mental models help you every day?
Well, here are just a few examples...
• If you've ever been overwhelmed by a to-do list that's grown too long, maybe you need the Eisenhower Decision Matrix to help you prioritize.
• Use the 5 Whys model to better understand people's motivations or get to the root cause of the problem.
• Before concluding that your colleague who messes up your projects is out to sabotage you, consider Hanlon's Razor for an alternative explanation.
• Ever sat through a bad movie just because you paid a lot for the ticket? You might be falling prey to Sunk Cost Fallacy.
Check out the full list of mental models here.
Lauren McCann is a statistician and researcher. She spent nearly a decade at GlaxoSmithKline, where she designed and analyzed clinical trials and authored articles in medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine. She holds a Ph.D. in Operations Research and a B.S. with honors in mathematics, from MIT.