Mental Models

Mental Models Help You Think Effectively

A Mental Model Is A High Level Overview Of How Something Works



Mental Models - Overview

Mental models are high level representations of how thing work.

They help you think effectively and thus are fully aligned with the objectives and purpose of this site.

According to Charlie Munger:



    “...developing the habit of mastering the multiple models which underlie reality is the best thing you can do.”


Munger is referring here to mental models.

Two broad categories of mental models that are particularly useful are those that help us understand how:

[1] The world works and thus to predict the future.

[2] To see connections and opportunities

Our world is multi-dimensional and our problems are complex. Most problems cannot be solved using one model alone, thus it follows that the more models you have in the toolkit, the better equipped you will be to solve your problems because you can look at the problem from a variety of perspectives and increase the odds that you will come to a better solution.

But if you don’t have the models, you become the proverbial man with a hammer to whom every problem looks like a nail.

Another important consideration is how you prioritise your learning. Trying to keep up-to-date with all the latest information will lead to us chasing our tails, therefore Charlie Munger says that we should focus on things that change slowly:



    "The models that come from hard science and engineering are the most reliable models on this Earth."





Latticework Of Mental Models

Since it is impossible to keep all of the details of all of the information that you absorb in your brain, you use models to simplify the complex into understandable and organisable chunks.

Mental models shape how you reason and how you understand, and they also shape the connections and opportunities that you see, and also why you consider some things more relevant than others.

The quality of your thinking processes is proportional to the models in your head and their applicability to the situation under consideration.

The more models you have the better quality will be your thinking processes and decision making ability, however most people are specialists.



    What we need is a latticework of mental models spanning many different domains of information and experience.


  • Many people know a little about a little.
  • Most people with training and skills in a particular discipline or scope of proficiency know a lot about a little.
  • The person with a latticework of mental models knows a little about a lot.
  • The serious thinker has a latticework of mental models that enable him/her to know a lot about a lot.


“You don’t have to know everything. A few really big ideas carry most of the freight.”

"It’s kind of fun to sit there and out-think people who are way smarter than you are because you’ve trained yourself to be more objective and more multidisciplinary. Furthermore, there is a lot of money in it, as I can testify from my own personal experience."




Charlie Munger: Adding Mental Tools to Your Toolbox

Mental Models  - Resources






How To Prioritise Learning Mental Models




    “The more basic knowledge you have … the less new knowledge you have to get.”



Further reading:

How to prioritise learning

In the words of Charlie Munger:



    “...take a simple idea and take it seriously.”






How Do Mental Models Align With The Themes Of This Site?

The purpose of this site is to show you how to cope in tough times, and to provide you with the tools to do this successfully. Mental models are an integral part of all this. Here is how it all hangs together:



The Balanced Toolkit (c)


  • This is all about learning how to think not what to think, and knowing how to apply the most appropriate cognitive processes to the task in hand.
  • To really learn how to think effectively we have to learn and master the art of not thinking. A quiet mind is an insightful mind and a resourceful mind.
  • The whole point of all this is to empower you because the outcomes that you experience are determined by your responses to the events in your life.
  • Attempting to address the big and confusing questions in life without adequate and sufficient proficiency in thinking skills is like trying to grasp a bar of soap in a warm bath in the dark.
  • The human capacity for self-deception and miss-perception should never be underestimated. A working knowledge of the main cognitive biases is a prerequisite to applying thinking skills.
  • It is wise to be wary of any belief system or view of life claiming a monopoly on total truth. But it is foolish to ignore the insights and partial truths within that system.
  • We build our personal perspective of "big picture" truth on a raft of partial truths and insights which come from our latticework of mental models.







FULL LISTING - Mental Models


Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (109 Models Explained






Mental Models - Resources


Mental Models - General Thinking Concepts

The Map Is Not The Territory

Circle Of Competence

First Principles Thinking

Second Order Thinking

Occams Razor

Probabilistic Thinking

Inversion

Iatrogenics - "Do Something Syndrome"


Mental Models - Human Nature

Heuristics

Availability Heuristic                                                                      

Representativeness Heuristic

Affect Heuristic

Cognitive Distortions

Confirmation Bias

Fundamental Attribution Error

Hindsight Bias

Survivorship Bias


Mental Models - Productive Thinking

Deep Work

Applied Rationality and The Scout Mindset

The One Thing

The Pomodoro Technique


Mental Models - Physics, Chemistry & Biology

Speed and Velocity

Leverage

The Red Queen Effect

Incentives


Mental Models - Systems

Margin Of Safety


Mental Models - Numeracy

Compounding

Pareto Principle

Regression To The Mean

Multiplying By Zero


Mental Models - Microeconomics

Comparative Advantage







Return from "Mental Models" to: How To Think










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