The Great Mental Models
The Great Mental Models

The Great Mental Models

I joke with my kids that if you want to suck up someone’s brain, you should simply read a book. All the great wisdom of humanity is written down somewhere. (Location 78)

Tags: reading

Note: .reading suck up someones brain by reading

I believe in the discipline of mastering the best of what other people have figured out. Charlie Munger (Location 93)

Tags: learning

Note: .learning learn from others

In life and business, the person with the fewest blind spots wins. Removing blind spots means we see, interact with, and move closer to understanding reality. We think better. And thinking better is about finding simple processes that help us work through problems from multiple dimensions and perspectives, allowing us to better choose solutions that fit what matters to us. The skill for finding the right solutions for the right problems is one form of wisdom. (Location 99)

Note: Aim to reduce our blindspots

the pursuit of going to bed smarter than when we woke up. (Location 103)

Note: Learn everyday i go to bed smarter than when i woke up

Peter Bevelin, put it best: “I don’t want to be a great problem solver. I want to avoid problems—prevent them from happening and doing it right from the beginning.” (Location 107)

Tags: problems

Note: .problems seek to avoid problems

A mental model is simply a representation of how something works. We cannot keep all of the details of the world in our brains, so we use models to simplify the complex into understandable and organizable chunks. (Location 116)

Tags: mentalmodel

Note: .mentalmodel representation of something. They simplify the complex into understandable chunks

When understanding is separated from reality, we lose our powers. Understanding must constantly be tested against reality and updated accordingly. (Location 155)

Tags: learning

Note: .learning we must constantly test our learning against reality

Our failures to update from interacting with reality spring primarily from three things: not having the right perspective or vantage point, ego-induced denial, and distance from the consequences of our decisions. (Location 166)

Tags: favorite, learning

Note: .learning our ego and our distance from the results can hinder our learning

The first flaw is perspective. We have a hard time seeing any system that we are in. (Location 169)

Tags: system

Note: .system it is hard to see the system when you are in the system

The second flaw is ego. Many of us tend to have too much invested in our opinions of ourselves to see the world’s feedback—the feedback we need to update our beliefs about reality. (Location 179)

Tags: ego

Note: .ego our view of ourselves can prevent us from learning

We’re so afraid about what others will say about us that we fail to put our ideas out there and subject them to criticism. This way we can always be right. Second, if we do put our ideas out there and they are criticized, our ego steps in to protect us. We become invested in defending instead of upgrading our ideas. (Location 181)

Tags: feedback, ego

Note: .ego we need to put our ideas out there and be open to criticism

The third flaw is distance. The further we are from the results of our decisions, the easier it is to keep our current views rather than update them. (Location 184)

Tags: feedback

Note: .feedback we need short feedback loops to learn

As Confucius said, “A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.” (Location 195)

Tags: mistake

Note: .mistake always correct your mistakes

Understanding only becomes useful when we adjust our behavior and actions accordingly. (Location 215)

Tags: adapt

Note: we must adapt our behaviour after we learn

Only by repeated testing of our models against reality and being open to feedback can we update our understanding of the world and change our thinking. (Location 272)

- An engineer will often think in terms of systems by default.

- A psychologist will think in terms of incentives.

- A business person might think in terms of opportunity cost and risk-reward.

Through their disciplines, each of these people sees part of the situation, the part of the world that makes sense to them. None of them, however, see the entire situation unless they are thinking in a multidisciplinary way. In short, they have blind spots. (Location 280)

Tags: perspective

You’ve got to hang experience on a latticework of models in your head.” (Location 318)

Tags: mentalmodels

Note: .mentalmodels you need to hang the knowledge on Known models

«Disciplines, like nations, are a necessary evil that enable human beings of bounded rationality to simplify their goals and reduce their choices to calculable limits. But parochialism is everywhere, and the world badly needs international and interdisciplinary travelers to carry new knowledge from one enclave to another.» (Location 353)

Note: Move from one discipline to another

Korzybski, Alfred. 1879-1950 - Polish-American independent scholar who developed the field of general semantics. He argued that knowledge is limited by our physical and language capabilities. (Location 382)

Tags: language

Note: knowledge is limited by our language capabilities

We need maps and models as guides. But frequently, we don’t remember that our maps and models are abstractions and thus we fail to understand their limits. We forget there is a territory that exists separately from the map. This territory contains details the map doesn’t describe. (Location 422)

Tags: maps

Note: .maps maps are good models but they are abstractions

What is common to many is taken least care of, for all men have greater regard for what is their own than for what they possess in common with others. –Aristotle (Location 462)

Note: We care less for shared resources than our own posessions

I’m no genius. I’m smart in spots—but I stay around those spots. Thomas Watson (Location 549)

Three key practices needed in order to build and maintain a circle of competence:

curiosity and a desire to learn


feedback (Location 620)

Learning everything on your own is costly and slow. You are one person. Learning from the experiences of others is much more productive. (Location 623)

Tags: learning

Note: .learning it is most efficient to learn from others

«Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.» Anonymous (Location 625)

Tags: learn

Note: .learn learn from the mistakes of others

It is extremely difficult to maintain a circle of competence without an outside perspective. We usually have too many biases to solely rely on our own observations. It takes courage to solicit external feedback, so if defensiveness starts to manifest, focus on the result you hope to achieve. (Location 648)

Tags: circleofcompetence

Note: .circleofcompetence we need external feedback to maintain our ciircle of competence

«Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.» Margaret Atwood (Location 1077)

Tags: results

Note: .results

Second-Order Problem Warren Buffett used a very apt metaphor once to describe how the second-order problem is best described by a crowd at a parade: Once a few people decide to stand on their tip-toes, everyone has to stand on their tip-toes. No one can see any better, but they’re all worse off. (Location 1105)

Tags: secondorderthinking

Note: .secondorderthinking

There are three important aspects of probability that we need to explain so you can integrate them into your thinking to get into the ballpark and improve your chances of catching the ball: Bayesian thinking Fat-tailed curves Asymmetries (Location 1214)

The core of Bayesian thinking (or Bayesian updating, as it can be called) is this: given that we have limited but useful information about the world, and are constantly encountering new information, we should probably take into account what we already know when we learn something new. As much of it as possible. Bayesian thinking allows us to use all relevant prior information in making decisions. Statisticians might call it a base rate, taking in outside information about past situations like the one you’re in. (Location 1221)

Tags: bayesian

Note: .bayesian Take into account what you already know when you learn new info

Think of it this way. In a bell curve type of situation, like displaying the distribution of height or weight in a human population, there are outliers on the spectrum of possibility, but the outliers have a fairly well-defined scope. You’ll never meet a man who is ten times the size of an average man. But in a curve with fat tails, like wealth, the central tendency does not work the same way. You may regularly meet people who are ten, 100, or 10,000 times wealthier than the average person. That is a very different type of world. (Location 1261)

Tags: fattailcurve

Note: .fattailcurve fat tail curves can have extreme values, unlike bell curves whose deviation from the mean is capped

We can think about three categories of objects:

- Ones that are harmed by volatility and unpredictability

- Ones that are neutral to volatility and unpredictability

- Ones that benefit from it.

The latter category is antifragile—like a package that wants to be mishandled. Up to a point, certain things benefit from volatility, and that’s how we want to be. Why? Because the world is fundamentally unpredictable and volatile, and large events—panics, crashes, wars, bubbles, and so on—tend to have a disproportionate impact on outcomes. (Location 1292)

Tags: antifragile

Note: .antifragile antifragile things gain from unpredictable And volatile events

What are some ways we can prepare—arm ourselves with antifragility—so we can benefit from the volatility of the world? The first one is what Wall Street traders would call “upside optionality”, that is, seeking out situations that we expect have good odds of offering us opportunities. Take the example of attending a cocktail party where a lot of people you might like to know are in attendance. (Location 1299)

The second thing we can do is to learn how to fail properly. Failing properly has two major components.

First, never take a risk that will do you in completely. (Never get taken out of the game completely.)

Second, develop the personal resilience to learn from your failures and start again.

With these two rules, you can only fail temporarily. (Location 1305)

Tags: failure, risk

Note: .risk .failure never take a risk that would fail you completely if it was to occur

Avoiding stupidity is easier than seeking brilliance. (Location 1434)

Tags: smart

Note: .smart avoid being stupid

There are two approaches to applying inversion in your life. Start by assuming that what you’re trying to prove is either true or false, then show what else would have to be true. Instead of aiming directly for your goal, think deeply about what you want to avoid and then see what options are left over. (Location 1435)

Tags: inversion

Note: .inversion

force field analysis, which essentially recognizes that in any situation where change is desired, successful management of that change requires applied inversion. Here is a brief explanation of his process: Identify the problem Define your objective Identify the forces that support change towards your objective Identify the forces that impede change towards the objective Strategize a solution! This may involve both augmenting or adding to the forces in step 3, and reducing or eliminating the forces in step (Location 1517)

Occam’s Razor Simpler explanations are more likely to be true than complicated ones. (Location 1579)