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The old saying goes, "To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail." But anyone who has done any kind of project knows a hammer often isn't enough. The more tools you have at your disposal, the more likely you'll use the right tool for the job — and get it done right. The same is true when it comes to your thinking. The quality of your outcomes depends on the m The old saying goes, "To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail." But anyone who has done any kind of project knows a hammer often isn't enough. The more tools you have at your disposal, the more likely you'll use the right tool for the job — and get it done right. The same is true when it comes to your thinking. The quality of your outcomes depends on the mental models in your head. And most people are going through life with little more than a hammer. Until now. The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Concepts is the first book in The Great Mental Models series designed to upgrade your thinking with the best, most useful and powerful tools so you always have the right one on hand. This volume details nine of the most versatile, all-purpose mental models you can use right away to improve your decision making, productivity, and how clearly you see the world. You will discover what forces govern the universe and how to focus your efforts so you can harness them to your advantage, rather than fight with them or worse yet— ignore them. Upgrade your mental toolbox and get the first volume today!


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The old saying goes, "To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail." But anyone who has done any kind of project knows a hammer often isn't enough. The more tools you have at your disposal, the more likely you'll use the right tool for the job — and get it done right. The same is true when it comes to your thinking. The quality of your outcomes depends on the m The old saying goes, "To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail." But anyone who has done any kind of project knows a hammer often isn't enough. The more tools you have at your disposal, the more likely you'll use the right tool for the job — and get it done right. The same is true when it comes to your thinking. The quality of your outcomes depends on the mental models in your head. And most people are going through life with little more than a hammer. Until now. The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Concepts is the first book in The Great Mental Models series designed to upgrade your thinking with the best, most useful and powerful tools so you always have the right one on hand. This volume details nine of the most versatile, all-purpose mental models you can use right away to improve your decision making, productivity, and how clearly you see the world. You will discover what forces govern the universe and how to focus your efforts so you can harness them to your advantage, rather than fight with them or worse yet— ignore them. Upgrade your mental toolbox and get the first volume today!

30 review for The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Concepts

  1. 5 out of 5

    Simon Eskildsen

    If you've read Charlie Munger's Almanack this is the book you deeply crave in its wake. Shane's done a wonderful job over the past few years making mental models approachable through FS.blog. A mental model is a way to look at a problem through a certain lense: an economist will look at a problem one way, a biologist another, and a statistician yet another. Learn the big ideas from the big disciplines and you'll be able to twist and turn problems in interesting ways at unprecedented speeds. His If you've read Charlie Munger's Almanack this is the book you deeply crave in its wake. Shane's done a wonderful job over the past few years making mental models approachable through FS.blog. A mental model is a way to look at a problem through a certain lense: an economist will look at a problem one way, a biologist another, and a statistician yet another. Learn the big ideas from the big disciplines and you'll be able to twist and turn problems in interesting ways at unprecedented speeds. His blog already documents a subset of models, but in this book Shane goes in even more depth with rich examples of each under the umbrella of 'General Thinking Concepts', e.g. Occam's Razor. This is the first in a 5-part series: the encyclopedia of the big ideas from the big disciplines. One that I hope to be recognizable on bookshelves around the world. You owe yourself this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Philip Joubert

    I listened to the audiobook, which Shane unfortunately narrated. He's super smart but a terrible narrator and it sounds like he's actually bored reading his own book. The content is not super well presented, but the mental models themselves are super good. Here are a few of them: Maps are not the territory - All models are wrong, but some are useful 1. Reality is the ultimate update 2. Consider the cartographer 3. Map can influence territory Circle of competence If you want to improve your odds of suc I listened to the audiobook, which Shane unfortunately narrated. He's super smart but a terrible narrator and it sounds like he's actually bored reading his own book. The content is not super well presented, but the mental models themselves are super good. Here are a few of them: Maps are not the territory - All models are wrong, but some are useful 1. Reality is the ultimate update 2. Consider the cartographer 3. Map can influence territory Circle of competence If you want to improve your odds of success in life and business then define the perimeter of your circle of competence, and operate inside. Over time, work to expand that circle but never fool yourself about where it stands today, and never be afraid to say “I don’t know.” Inversion - Approach situation from opposite end of the natural starting point Occam's razor - simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones. "When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras" Hanlon's razor - Don't attribute to malice that which is explained by stupidity. It's less likely for two things to be true than one

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carl Rannaberg

    This is what non-fiction books should aspire to be like. Informative, concise, universal, practical, visual, sharing stories and examples for context etc. This book consists of 9 mental models which can be used to better understand the world and make smarter decisions. It references numerous books and other resources where you can dig deeper. This book is the first volume of the series and covers these mental models: 1. The map is not the territory 2. Circle of competence 3. First principles thinking This is what non-fiction books should aspire to be like. Informative, concise, universal, practical, visual, sharing stories and examples for context etc. This book consists of 9 mental models which can be used to better understand the world and make smarter decisions. It references numerous books and other resources where you can dig deeper. This book is the first volume of the series and covers these mental models: 1. The map is not the territory 2. Circle of competence 3. First principles thinking 4. Thought experiment 5. Second-order thinking 6. Probabilistic thinking 7. Inversion 8. Occam’s razor 9. Hanlon’s razor Definitely a must-read if you’re into universal multi-disciplinary thinking. Unfortunately it’s currently available only from Audible (print volume of 3000 is sold out). In autumn it will be released in Kindle form and probably a new print version also. I read it as hardcover which was beautifully designed and very high quality.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Robin Jose

    This book does not necessitate an extensive review. Here’s an easy way to sum it up: - a lengthy introduction on the benefits of mental models - a motley collection of mental models thrown around, with hardly any insights or application I guess this is one of those books which takes even less time to write that it takes to read it. That about sums it up.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Yrjo Ojasaar

    Short introduction of a few popular mental models to provide you with some basic prisms of analysis. Snack-size and superficial (Blinkist style) - so it should be accessible for absolutely everyone.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lup

    Short, but good foundations. Notes below: Mental Models book, by Shane Parris: * Keep in contact with reality if you want to draw strength * We usually are in the way of ourselves, because of our blindspots * 1. Not having the right perspective or vantage point * Be open to other perspectives * 2. Ego-induced denial * We have too much investment in our opinion, and discredit other's points of view * We don't benefit from the world's knowledge as much as we want * 1. We fear what others Short, but good foundations. Notes below: Mental Models book, by Shane Parris: * Keep in contact with reality if you want to draw strength * We usually are in the way of ourselves, because of our blindspots * 1. Not having the right perspective or vantage point * Be open to other perspectives * 2. Ego-induced denial * We have too much investment in our opinion, and discredit other's points of view * We don't benefit from the world's knowledge as much as we want * 1. We fear what others will think if we put ourselves out there, and subject ideas to criticism * If you never seek different ways to be wrong, you will never be wrong * 2. We become defensive of our ideas, instead of trying to upgrade them * 3. Distance from consequences of our decisions * If the consequences of our actions are far away, it's easier to stay with our current views, habits and methods than update them * "A man that has committed a mistake, and is not correcting it, is committing another mistake." ~ Confucius * Model example: Gravity (physics, influence, marketing, etc.) * Flawed models are not only useless, they are damaging and cause harm * Most models are wrong * Flawed models compound together * Understanding reality is the name of the game. * ---paused--- * Buckets of knoweldge * 1. Inorganic systems (Physical universe) * 2. Organic systems (Genetic) * 3. Human history (Cultural and Memetic) * Maps are not the territory * All models are wrong, but some are useful * 1. Reality is the ultimate update * 2. Consider the cartographer * 3. Map can influence territory * Circle of competence * Not static, the world is dynamic * 1. Curiosity to learn * 2. Monitoring * 3. Feedback * Socratic questioning * 1. Clarifying your thinking and explaining the origins of your ideas (Why do I think this? What exactly do I think?) * 2. Challenging assumptions (How do I know this is true? What if I thought the opposite?) * 3. Looking for evidence (How can I back this up? What are the sources?) * 4. Considering alternative perspectives (What might others think? How do I know I am correct?) * 5. Examining consequences and implications (What if I am wrong? What are the consequences if I am?) * 6. Questioning the original questions (Why did I think that? Was I correct? What conclusions can I draw from the reasoning process?) * The power of Why - * The 5 why's * Thought experiments * Historical changes * Veil of ignorance - You don't know who you will be in society, but you start out as someone random. How do you like society to be. * Conservatives focus on the self * Nationalists focus on the people in the nation * Liberals focus on flattening the chances for everyone, to make it fair * Trolley problem * Neccesary vs sufficient * Luck plays a big role * For greatness, you need more than luck and the basic ingredients * First-order thinking vs. Second-order thinking * Seeing in perspective and deeply * Consider unintended consequences * Ex: Snake problem in india - British officials had a snake problem in india, and put bounty on snakeskin. The indians started breeding them for reward, and the original problem got worse. * "You can never do only one thing with your actions" * Prioritize long term vs short term * Constructing effective arguments * What if? * Put effort in second-order effects * Care of the slippery slope * In pratical life everything has limits * Avoid analysis paralysis * Diminishing returns * Ask "And the what?" * A little time of thinking ahead can save you massive amounts of time later. * Think of win-win and trust, don't focus on the short term if you will fail long term * Probabilistic thinking * Estimate likelihoods of outcomes * How to do: Roughly identify what matters, assign probability, do a check on a decision, act on it, learn from the experience, update probabilities, repeat * Future is unpredictable, chaotic and we have imperfect information * Add in a layer of probability awareness * 3 Concepts of probability * 1. Bayesian thinking * How to adjust probabilities with new data? * Take into account what we already know (also probabilities) * Take into account new information, based on its likelihood (bayes factor) * 2. Fat-tail curves * Ends of bell curves (normal distribution) * Careful of situations with more extreme events * Fat-tails = power law distribution * Tails can stretch to the extremes far-far from the median * How far can it stretch? * 3. Asymetry * meta-probability - the probability that your probability estimates are good * asymetries - far more probabilities are wrong on one end, than on the other * ex * traffic estimates * investment return estimates * spyworld * spy's are great at assigning probability to information * since stakes are high * officers had to make educated judgements, based on constantly updated factors * conditional probability * be mindful of dependent events that preceded a piece of information * antifragile * Those systems that gain from chaos and volatility * We should strive to be antifragile * Try to prepare, instead to prepare * improve your odds * fail properly, to learn * seek opportunities * seek motion * trial and error * fast iteration * create scenarios when uncertainty and randomness are your friends * insurance companies * companies know probability, and fears * they know the right price for profit * Causation vs Corelation * Bad conclusions * Studies of factors only prove relationships, not that one causes the other * We misattribute the cause of an effect, when that effect would've happened anyway or because of other things * Root vs Proximate cause * Correlation coefficient (-1 to 1) * Regression to the mean * ex: Depressed kids drinking red bull become happier * Why: Depressed kids are an extreme group, so the likelihood of them reverting to the mean is high, and you will see that effect * It is not the redbull * that's why you need Control groups * to account for normal regression, by looking at averages and isolating the effect tested * Inversion * Approach situation from opposite end of the natural starting point * Start with the end in mind * How to apply: * 1. Identify the problem * 2. Define the objective * 3. Identify forces that move you closer to your objective * 4. Identify forces that move you away from your objective * 5. Strategize a solution, by amplifying #3, and reducing #4 * "We can't see atoms and quarks, but we can assume they exist, predict their behavior, and then test that behavior" * Think backwards * Think unconventionally * Approaches * 1. Reduction ad absurdum. Assume the thing is true/false, and see what else changes * 2. Think what you want to avoid, and see options left. * Example: Bernaise, from the Tobacco companies, made women smoke by riding backwards on the wants of women at the time: Getting slim, replacing deserts with cigarettes, looking fashionable, emancipation of women, making women feel empowered, cigarettes were marketed as torches of freedom, normalized it, made it desirable, shifted entire american public perception * Instead of going straight ahead "How to sell cigarettes to women?", he asked "How can I get women to think cigarettes make you slim?" * Appeals of indirection * He focused on indirect needs and wants of clients, and focused on that instead * What to avoid? * example: Index funds avoid bad funds, don't beat the market * avoid on minimizing loss * avoid on not losing, instead of focusing on wining * Occam's razor * "When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras" * Probabilistic principle, related to number of dependant variables * If something cannot be broken down, deal with it as is * Hanlon's razor * Don't attribute to malice that which is explained by stupidity * Fallacy of conjuction / Availability Heuristic * Less likely for two things to be true than one * Shotgun effect * Linda experiment * Alternatively, less likely for people to do something AND wanted to be evil, than doing something AND nothing else assumed * The Devil Fallacy * Men are constrained by necessity, not by evil

  7. 5 out of 5

    Augustin Grigorov

    Not impressed by this book and not just because the narration in the audiobook sounds like it's made to actively try to get you to fall asleep. The "mental models" were really basic and while there were a few grains of good insight here and there it was mostly common sense stuff. What was by far the worst though, were the examples. They felt disconnected and not only not prioving the point but confusing me at times. Not an amazing read. Not impressed by this book and not just because the narration in the audiobook sounds like it's made to actively try to get you to fall asleep. The "mental models" were really basic and while there were a few grains of good insight here and there it was mostly common sense stuff. What was by far the worst though, were the examples. They felt disconnected and not only not prioving the point but confusing me at times. Not an amazing read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    First off, the narration of the book leaves me wanting. It sounded like he was reading the headers and subheaders of topics before a new section but there would be no pause to allow for the reader to mentally switch gears. It was hard to ascertain whether he just said belonged to the previous topic, was a header, a new topic, I heard something wrong, or what have you. Secondly, some of the audiobook is just fluff. I remember thinking a couple of times that he made the exact same point a single se First off, the narration of the book leaves me wanting. It sounded like he was reading the headers and subheaders of topics before a new section but there would be no pause to allow for the reader to mentally switch gears. It was hard to ascertain whether he just said belonged to the previous topic, was a header, a new topic, I heard something wrong, or what have you. Secondly, some of the audiobook is just fluff. I remember thinking a couple of times that he made the exact same point a single sentence ago and used almost the exact same verbiage. It was frustrating because the inflection was different and you thought you would be privy to something new and illuminating on the topic only to be disappointed by the repetition. Also, I don't think it was an effort to restate the potentially difficult concept in a different way so as to solidify the understanding of the topic but instead just something that either was needed for padding to make the book longer or lazy editing. All that being said, I liked being introduced to mental models and respect the author and what he's trying to do. I'll keep an eye out for the next one and continue my education elsewhere in the meantime. [Copied from my Amazon review]

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kintan

    A must-read book to inform and improve deep thinking and decision making. Shane has done a wonderful job in making useful mental models more approachable and applicable by packaging them in a easy-to-follow format. While much of the content can already be found on the FarnamStreet blog, I prefer the book as it makes these concepts easy to access, consume and reflect. I am looking forward to the second book in the series of five.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mirek Jasinski

    I should have read the reviews first, especially the critical ones. Listened to the audiobook and that was tedious (even though it's a short one). One of the reviewers suggested reading articles on Shane Parrish's blog instead, and this seems to be a much better option. Pity, as the title is great! I should have read the reviews first, especially the critical ones. Listened to the audiobook and that was tedious (even though it's a short one). One of the reviewers suggested reading articles on Shane Parrish's blog instead, and this seems to be a much better option. Pity, as the title is great!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brad Pierce

    I’m so happy this book exists. I’ve read many books on thinking and mental models and heuristics and self-delusions. I feel this series will be the anchor text for acquiring wisdom and not fooling yourself and I can’t wait for the next 3 volumes.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Phi Unit

    Years of wisdom from a quick weekend read. A good introduction to 9 useful mental models. Design of the hard copy is great.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    I'm going to have to revisit this several times, but some really valuable frameworks here. Some new to me, some not. I'm going to have to revisit this several times, but some really valuable frameworks here. Some new to me, some not.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vivify M

    I found a lot that I was happy to engage with in this book. I had hoped to find more new ideas, but the subject matter is valuable enough to make up for that. My biggest gripe with the book was that it felt incomplete. If I understood correctly, this is the first volume in many. But, I couldn't help feeling that I'd paid too much for it. Somethings I found interesting while reading. First was that my definition of mental models was different to the authors. I thought of mental model more as a for I found a lot that I was happy to engage with in this book. I had hoped to find more new ideas, but the subject matter is valuable enough to make up for that. My biggest gripe with the book was that it felt incomplete. If I understood correctly, this is the first volume in many. But, I couldn't help feeling that I'd paid too much for it. Somethings I found interesting while reading. First was that my definition of mental models was different to the authors. I thought of mental model more as a form of cognitive muscle memory, and metaphors. While the book describes what I would have termed, cognitive tools, or lenses. I fell into the trap of contaminating my thought on the book, before I'd finished it. After reading the intro, I didn't have a good feeling about the it. Not having good reasons I turned to the Internet - I should have waited. This resulted in a couple of things, it made me more positively disposed because people I respect had good things to say about it. Also after seeing the author engage with a critical review on goodreads, I found myself less willing to be critical. Another thing which influenced my opinion too emotionally, was the authors references to Nassim's Taleb. While, Taleb has some valuable insights, I am skeptical of people who are taken by him. But then he referenced Thuli Madonsela, and my heart sang. Suddenly I was adding a star to my review ;-) I enjoyed the discussion of slippery slope thinking and analysis paralysis with regard to second order thinking. This was an example were the book shone for me - connecting familiar concepts. Sighting Sherlock Holmes as example of inversion, didn't sit well with me. I think it made the point, but it's precisely the misuse of inversion in these stories that makes them feel week to me. Sure it's a useful tool, but too often writers use it as a convenient way for super hero detectives to skip directly to the answer. The IBM turn around story was new to me. I was very happy for that, particularly as it is useful information to me at present.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jerome

    If you have read any of my other book reviews 1) sorry, I'm basically writing these for myself, I really didn't think anyone was going to read them 2) you'll know that I've referenced Shane Parrish and his fantastic blog farnam street (fs.blog) many times, whether it be from podcasts (Annie Duke - Thinking In Bets) or from book recommendations and his equal obsession with the nonagenarian, Charlie Munger. I feel like I have been getting dumber as I've grown older and this book is a great kick in If you have read any of my other book reviews 1) sorry, I'm basically writing these for myself, I really didn't think anyone was going to read them 2) you'll know that I've referenced Shane Parrish and his fantastic blog farnam street (fs.blog) many times, whether it be from podcasts (Annie Duke - Thinking In Bets) or from book recommendations and his equal obsession with the nonagenarian, Charlie Munger. I feel like I have been getting dumber as I've grown older and this book is a great kick in the ass on how "not to be brillaint, but avoid stupidity" (brilliant was purposely misspelled in the previous quote for added entertainment. Ha. Ha.) Each chapter begins with a nice quote, applicable to the chapter which frames each of the mental models well. I was pleasantly surprised to hear (and surprisingly recognize) one of my favorite quotes I learned recently by F. Scott Fitzgerald - "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise." I think that quote sums up this book perfectly. My summary of this book is that it tells you, "hey, you will be wrong, what you do with being wrong is up to you" Audiobook note: Mr. Parrish is Canadian and reads the book, so if Canadian accents annoy you, do not listen. Also really re-think your viewpoint on Canadian accents, they're lovely.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Demi Yilmaz

    I recommend only the first chapter of this book. It is the best explanation of mental models and how they work. Each of the other chapters talk about a specific mental model where just reading a chapter won't even get the reader to understand 1% of what that mental model is. The book is written really well but each of those chapters should be a 20 hour lesson all on its own with examples, practices, assignments and everything a lesson would have. So while I recommend this book to everyone, I reco I recommend only the first chapter of this book. It is the best explanation of mental models and how they work. Each of the other chapters talk about a specific mental model where just reading a chapter won't even get the reader to understand 1% of what that mental model is. The book is written really well but each of those chapters should be a 20 hour lesson all on its own with examples, practices, assignments and everything a lesson would have. So while I recommend this book to everyone, I recommend only the first chapter. After understanding what mental models are the reader should focus on each mental model one by one learning it fully in a couple weeks rather than 20 minutes. I've created a mental model practice list where you can search for the ones you like to learn and practice them https://mmpractices.com/

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shane Orr

    I’ve been subscribed to Shane Parrish’s newsletter and following fs.blog for a few years. This is the first in a series of books being published by Shane and the Farnham Street group focusing on mental models, which are thinking concepts that help us make good decisions. This volume covers nine, such as Occam‘s Razor, inversion, probabilistic thinking, and others. It‘s great, essential reading.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sayan Bhowmik

    Great introduction to few of the mental models. All of the models were explained with sufficient examples. Overall a Good Read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mitch Krause

    Great overview of 10 reliable mental models that can be used in various life scenarios. My favorites: Occam's Razor Hamlin's Razor inversion Great overview of 10 reliable mental models that can be used in various life scenarios. My favorites: Occam's Razor Hamlin's Razor inversion

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrei Savu

    Good collection with great examples. These can make a big difference once internalized. Turning them into every day habits is the hard part.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Abdullah

    Mental models help you focus on understanding how things are than how things should be. Three things need to be considered to use mental models/map better. a) Reality is the ultimate update: maps/models can become outdated. When reality changes, models should change too. b) Consider the cartographer: Think about the context in which the map was created. c) Maps can influence territories: models have limitation. Don't try to overfit it. Maps, or models, are necessary but necessarily flawed. Circle Mental models help you focus on understanding how things are than how things should be. Three things need to be considered to use mental models/map better. a) Reality is the ultimate update: maps/models can become outdated. When reality changes, models should change too. b) Consider the cartographer: Think about the context in which the map was created. c) Maps can influence territories: models have limitation. Don't try to overfit it. Maps, or models, are necessary but necessarily flawed. Circle of competence When we operate within our circle of competence, we know what we don't know. We understand what is knowable and what is unknowable and can differentiate between the two. But this circle is NOT static. To build and maintain a circle of competence, remain curious, monitor your track record, and asses the feedback from your track record. While outside of your circle of competence, acknowledge you are stranger there and try to learn at least the basics. Beware though it's the basics that give the acquirer unwarranted confidence. Falsifiability The idea is If you can't prove something wrong, you can't really prove it right either. Any good theory must have an element of risk to it i.e. it must be able to be proven wrong in certain conditions. First Principles Thinking To cut through the dogma in a particular space, use Socratic questioning and the 5-Why's. 5-Why's is children-like behavior to understand something. If you hear things like "it just is" or "because I said so", you have landed on dogma/myth. Thought experiment It is useful in: -Imagining physical impossibilities: Exercises such as The Trolley experiment help us prepare for similarly difficult situations. -Re-imagining history: Counter-factual narratives can convince us nothing is inevitable in history. -Intuiting the non-intuitive: John Rawl's "veil of ignorance" may help us formulate policies to build a better society. Necessity and Sufficiency To be really successful, hard work is perhaps necessary, but may itself not be sufficient as there are other factors that can come into play. The sufficient set is far larger than the necessary set. Second-Order thinking It's easy to anticipate the immediate result of an action. But the second and third order effects can prove to be far more important to consider. For example, during colonial period, the British wanted to address the cobra epidemic in India and declared rewards for every dead cobra. The locals started breeding cobras and then killed them to receive the rewards. The problem became worse than it initially was for not thinking the second-order effects. In short, it's the effect of effects. Beware of analysis paralysis though. Probabilistic Thinking Three important aspects of probability: a) Bayesian thinking: Always incorporate all the information you currently have to build your probability estimates. b) Fat-tailed curves: If the underlying distribution is fat tailed and not normal, it can be disastrous not to take that into account. For example, more people can historically die from stair-slipping than terrorism. But death from stair-slipping is largely normal distribution whereas terrorism related death can have fat-tailed distribution. c) Asymmetries: It's the probability that your probability estimates themselves are any good. Most people know correlation is not causation, but almost everyone mistakes or misinterprets correlation as causation. Learn to control this urge. Inversion Avoiding stupidity is easier than pursuing brilliance. Two ways to apply inversion: a) Assume what you're trying to prove is either true or false, then show what else would have to be true. b) Think deeply about what you want to avoid and see what options then are left. Here's an example of how inverting your goal can help you make decisions. If you really just want to avoid underperforming the market, investing in index funds perhaps makes more sense to you. Occam's Razor The idea is simpler explanations are more likely to be true than complicated ones. While this is mostly true, an important caveat is some things are simply not that simple. Pyramid/Ponzi schemes, for example. Hanlon's Razor The idea is try not to attribute to malice which is more easily explained by stupidity. The explanation most likely to be right is the one that contains the least amount of intent. Kahneman and Tversky posed the following question in 1982: "Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in Philosophy. As a student she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations. Which is more probable? a) Linda is a bank teller. b) Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement. Most people chose B over A. But single condition is more likely to be true than multiple conditions. To say it differently, every feminist bank teller is a bank teller, but not every bank teller is a feminist. Kahneman and Tversky called it the fallacy of conjunction. We get so enamored by vivid narratives that we tend to violate simple logic. It's a short book, but certainly not short on content!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sven Kirsimäe

    Amazing finalisation of my 2020 read set! Will start with the vol. 2 of the book right now! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5... Amazing finalisation of my 2020 read set! Will start with the vol. 2 of the book right now! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mukesh Gupta

    Great book. Simple, short and to the point. All the basic mental models that one needs in our day to day life explained well and with an example. Shane does a brilliant job. Looking forward to the next book in the series already..

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kerry McGowan

    Great book. Have always enjoyed the FS Blog and Knowledge Project podcast and this is an extension of those excellent resources.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kartik Gulati

    Heard on Audible. Brief, informative, and valuable, the book exposes you to 8 very easily understood mental models that may be applied on a day to day basis in problem solving situations. 1. Circles of Competence: Define what you are genuinely good at and comfortable doing and then dance and innovate within the boundaries of that circle of competence. You may from time to time based on your broad understanding glide across circles or in the gaps between, but you will do your most impactful work Heard on Audible. Brief, informative, and valuable, the book exposes you to 8 very easily understood mental models that may be applied on a day to day basis in problem solving situations. 1. Circles of Competence: Define what you are genuinely good at and comfortable doing and then dance and innovate within the boundaries of that circle of competence. You may from time to time based on your broad understanding glide across circles or in the gaps between, but you will do your most impactful work in your circle(s). Best to understand your self and find your areas. 2. First Principle Thinking: Reduce the problem down to fundamental truths that MUST hold and then build from there. Ask WHY multiple times till you reach a core problem that must be solved first. 3. Thought Experiment: Play out your solutions in thought experiments based on the facts that you are in the know of and in control of. This method allows you to take a step back and play out multiple scenarios, identify decision points, identify faults, and come to an optimum solution. 4. Second Order Thinking: When thinking about solutions, consider the second order impact of those decisions. What are the issues and actors outside the immediate problem that are likely to get affected by your decision. If you let loose a rabid dog in a chicken farm to kill all your chickens, you might accomplish your immediate goal, but you may enable disease spread far worse that your original problem. This is almost an evolution of the thought experiment. Go beyond your immediate need to evaluate your decision. 5. Probabilistic Thinking: Think of problems in terms of scenarios and based on your experience and information gained so far, assign probability figures to them. We tend to think of extreme outcomes because our brain is almost custom built for them, but a broader understanding of probability will allow us to make better decisions. 6. Inversion: "Invert the problem", "Let's think backward". Instead of thinking about all the things you need to do to solve a problem, think about all the conditions that need to be met for that particular problem to get solved. You are likely to find things you have missed out on. Arrive at an outcome and work backwards. 7. Ocams Razor: Given two equally good explanations of a phenomenon, the simplest one (with the fewer moving parts) is likely to be the correct one. Chase simplicity in your understanding. Chase simplicity in your decisions. Remove probability that comes with moving parts. 8. Hamlins Razor: In an adverse situation, do not automatically assign malice as an intention. Always prioritise mistakes/ errors/ stupidity, over the belief that the individual means you harm. It is more likely that your accident was caused by an error in judgement and not because the other driver wanted to hurt you.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rick Sam

    If you've read enough Philosophy, this book would come off as subpar. Philosophy would force you to think through arguments, issues, methodologies. Along with it, you will come across theories of epistemology, theory of moral issues. Whether you use First-Principle or Abstraction, you'd be forced to learn how various Philosophers formulate arguments. If you have not read Philosophy then I'd say, go ahead read this book to get an introduction. I'd say, most of the Western Classics teach you everyt If you've read enough Philosophy, this book would come off as subpar. Philosophy would force you to think through arguments, issues, methodologies. Along with it, you will come across theories of epistemology, theory of moral issues. Whether you use First-Principle or Abstraction, you'd be forced to learn how various Philosophers formulate arguments. If you have not read Philosophy then I'd say, go ahead read this book to get an introduction. I'd say, most of the Western Classics teach you everything you need to know. I'd rather recommend Philosophy books than this book Deus Vult, Gottfried

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sanford Chee

    Economist interview w/ Shane Parrish https://www.economist.com/open-future... FS blog https://fs.blog/mental-models/ 9 mental models in Vol. 1 1/ the map is not the territory 2/ circle of competence 3/ 1st principles thinking 4/ thought experiments 5/ probabilistic thinking 6/ 2nd order thinking 7/ inversion 8/ Occam’s razor 9/ Hanlon’s razor https://twitter.com/farnamstreet/stat... Aphorisms https://twitter.com/farnamstreet/stat... Economist interview w/ Shane Parrish https://www.economist.com/open-future... FS blog https://fs.blog/mental-models/ 9 mental models in Vol. 1 1/ the map is not the territory 2/ circle of competence 3/ 1st principles thinking 4/ thought experiments 5/ probabilistic thinking 6/ 2nd order thinking 7/ inversion 8/ Occam’s razor 9/ Hanlon’s razor https://twitter.com/farnamstreet/stat... Aphorisms https://twitter.com/farnamstreet/stat...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michał Węgrzyn

    A case study on how to ruin your own book. I’ve listened to an audiobook version read by an author. Horrible experience. Why does an author self sabotage his own work? Very rarely do I need to rely on my shear willpower to plow through the book. This was it. Maybe physical book leaves a better impression. Content was ok, basically a summary of authors blog. Best thing about this book was that it was short and finishing it gave me a real sense of accomplishment.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Coleiro

    Familiar with Shane's blog? Happy. 🙌🏽 Unfamiliar with Shane's blog? Enlightened. 🧠 Shane begins by paying homage to those before him: "The ideas in these volumes are not my own, nor do I deserve credit for them. [...] I've only curated, edited, and shaped the work of others before me." A powerful way to start a powerful book. Kudos, Shane (and team). Kudos. Familiar with Shane's blog? Happy. 🙌🏽 Unfamiliar with Shane's blog? Enlightened. 🧠 Shane begins by paying homage to those before him: "The ideas in these volumes are not my own, nor do I deserve credit for them. [...] I've only curated, edited, and shaped the work of others before me." A powerful way to start a powerful book. Kudos, Shane (and team). Kudos.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Satrujeet

    A fabulous read and one of the best introductions to the world of mental models explaining some of the most important models in the simplest ways. A must read if you aspire to get better at decision making.

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