The Latticework

Mental Models Checklist

 

  1.  Essentials
    • Understand the meaning (5 W’s, 1 H) – Braun emails (who, what, when, where, why, how)
    • Ask Why (5 Why’s) – determine root cause
    • Ask How (5 How’s) – God is in the details
    • Solve the big, easy question first
    • Is the problem Important? Is it knowable? – Have the right focus
    • Can it be done with reasonable effort?
    • Apply numerical fluency
    • Determine what the true problem is and its root cause
    • What outcomes do I want? What is truly my goal?
    • What are the facts / evidence?
    • Is it for the “too tough” basket?
    • What are my assumptions
    • What if I’m wrong? What are the consequences? And consequences of the consequences. Always ask “And then What?”
    • Put myself in other person’s shoes
    • Treat others as I’d like to be treated
    • Develop alternatives and preserve them
    • Understand Trade-offs (preserve option)
    • Work Systematically
    • Communication – oral, written, graphic
    • Will to Prepare (Art of War)
    • Focus on process, not outcome
    • What are the practical implications? Details
    • The Map is Not the Terrain – abstraction/reaction to something is not the thing itself, don’t confused models of reality with reality itself
    • Show, don’t tell – actions speak louder than words
    • Systems thinking
    • Carnegie System
    • Lollapalooza – which big factors interacting?
    • Checklists
    • Stoicism – living virtuously should be main goal
    • Baby Steps – what’s the next, immediate action you can take?
    • Think probabilistically
    • Carrying Capacity / Limits – maximum amount/population an environment can sustain indefinitely
    • Commonized Costs, Privatized Profits – Tragedy of the Commons
    • Ecosystem / Environment – everything is linked
  2. Psychology (Influence48 Laws of Power)
    • Commitment
    • Consistency
    • Reciprocation
    • Authority
    • Scarcity (and Abundance) – spend the abundant, conserve the scarce
    • Social Proof / Groupthink
    • Liking / Disliking
    • Self-Serving Bias and self-centeredness
    • Doubt Avoidance / Ambiguity Aversion – don’t act just to act
    • Inconsistency Avoidance
    • Envy
    • Pain-avoiding denial (tell ourselves stories)
    • Man-with-a-hammer Syndrome
    • Incentive-caused bias – understanding this is a true superpower
    • Cognitive illusions / Gestalt Psychology (Law of Pragnanz) – the whole is other than the sum of its parts, reality is organized or reduce to the simplest form possibe
    • Contrast Misreaction (boiling frog) – beware of the small slips
    • Deprival Superreaction / Loss Aversion
    • Availability Heuristic – don’t just use the most available info
    • Reason respecting (always give a reason – 5 W’s)
    • Seek disconfirming evidence – especially for ideas you love
    • Say Something Syndrome / Twaddle Tendency – Don’t speak just to speak, get rid of those who do little
    • Classical Conditioning – mere association (dog salivating at bell, Pavlovian)
    • Operant Conditioning – reinforcing/punishing in order to learn behaviors
    • Framing and Anchoring – be conscious of how questions/options are framed as well as the set points you choose
    • Projection (defense mechanisms) – project one’s own faults onto others
    • Scope Neglect – scope of a problem not valued with a multiplicative effect
    • Zeigarnik Effect – dissonance we feel when we don’t finish something we start
    • Secondary Reinforcers – money, grades, social acceptance (primary being food, water, sex…)
    • Overweighing One Factor –
    • Halo Effect – positive feelings of person, brand, product, etc. makes you feel positive about person/entity in negative or neutral areas
    • Primacy / Recency Errors
    • Von Restorff Effect – we remember the unusual
    • Role Theory – people tend to act within a socially defined role
    • Overoptimism and overreaction
    • Information Bias – more information does not necessarily lead to better decisions
    • Hindsight Bias – memory distortion
    • Mental Accounting – a $ is a $ is a $
    • Clustering Illusion / Pattern Recognition – people tend to see patterns even when they don’t exist
    • Fight or Flight (silence / avoidance)
    • False Balance – information often presented in a more balanced way than what evidence truly supports
    • Rationalization – humans can rationalize anything
    • Affect Heuristic – current emotional states shape our decisions
    • First conclusion bias – your first idea/conclusion not necessarily the best
    • Denial bias – failing to get rid of beliefs
    • Habituation – stop responding once get used to a stimulus
    • Endowment Effect – value something more once we own it
    • Work for Work’s Sake
    • Ehrlich’s Law – overweighing numbers
    • No silver bullets or magic formulas
    • Path of least resistance / thinking
    • Physics Envy – trying to get formulas/math involved in softer sciences to try to make them more fundamental
    • Displacement – replacement of something by a mere illusion
    • Sense of Entitlement
    • Focusing Effect – put more emphasis on certain areas than others
    • Limitations of Memory, knowledge and attention, thinking, perception, energy, lifespan
    • Group Behavior and Risky Shift
    • Status Quo Bias – people often don’t act because they are comfortable with their current state
    • Removal of nuance is form of tyranny – 1984, groupthink…
    • Confirmation Bias – search or interpret information to fit your already held beliefs
    • Compromise / Pragmatism
    • Absence Blindness – humans have a very hard time seeing what isn’t there (inaction often better than action)
    • Dunning-Kruger Effect – unskilled people believe their ability is much higher than it actually is (masters are humble)
    • Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt
    • Us and Them (5 Steps to Tyranny) – us v them, forced to obey orders, dehumanize enemy, suppress dissenting opinions, suppress individuality
    • Appeal to Flattery – works even when person knows they’re being flattered
    • Leverage
    • Cognitive Dissonance – mental distress caused by two conflicting ideas, beliefs or values
    • Outcome Bias – evaluating the quality of a decision when the quality of that decision is already known
    • Thumb Sucking
    • False Precision (roughly right > precisely wrong)
    • Pr OACT – Define the problem, clarify real objectives, develop alternatives, understand the consequences, make appropriate trade-offs
    • Negotiation – look for win/win situations (Getting to Yes)
    • Framing the issue – appeal to people’s interests and not their reason
    • 7 sins – pride, lust, anger, greed, gluttony, envy, sloth
    • Pleasure and pain – can change what we link pleasure/pain to and therefore change our behavior
  3. Investing / Business
    • Compound Interest / Exponential Growth
    • Time Value of Money
    • Circle of Competence – stick with what you know
    • Mr. Market (patience) – don’t let wacky emotional market force you to sell/buy
    • Do I understand it?
    • What business are we in? Understand the (hopefully simple) business model
    • Enduring competitive advantage (moat)
    • Intrinsic Value vs. Market Value – What you get vs. what you pay
    • Obsession / Focus (exclude 99%) – know what is “too tough”
    • Mind share (branding) – development of consumer awareness
    • Surfing trends
    • Great brands survive one-off scandals (moat)
    • Scale – advantages and disadvantages – economies of scale vs. bureaucracy as get larger
    • Catastrophe Risk (Firestone’s Law)
    • Ponzi Schemes – fraudulent investment operation
    • Pricing Power (Disney) – can raise prices without hurting demand
    • Business Metrics – setting and measure appropriate metrics to drive the company forward, benchmarking
    • Network Effect – value of product or services comes from the number of people using it
    • Availability changes behavior (Coca Cola) – try to be omnipresent
    • Specialization leads to exponential productivity – Ford and assembly line
    • Improving Technology – efficiency, capacity, compactness, accuracy, size range, complexity
    • Proprietary Learning Curve – developing core competencies gives you a moat / barrier to entry
    • Absolute Cost Advantage – low cost producer has a huge advantage
    • Brand – powerful, iconic, long-lasting image is very important
    • Entrepreneurship (Drucker Models) – Unexpected failures and successes, incongruities, process need, industry / market changes, demographics, mood / perception, new knowledge
    • Culture – importance cannot be overstated
    • Porter’s 5 Forces – economies of scale, proprietary product differentiators (trademarks, patents), brand identity, switching costs, capital requirements
    • Management Fanaticism – managers acting as owners is a prerequisite
    • Measure risk – especially reputational risk
    • Be independent – rely on your analysis, not on popular opinion
    • Prepare ahead – why, why, why
    • Intellectual humility – vital to know what you don’t know and stay in your circle of competence
    • Analyze rigorously – checklists, invert
    • Allocate assets wisely – investment manager’s top job
    • Have patience – avoid natural human bias to act
    • Be Decisive – when have done your research and feel strongly, act
    • Accept unremovable complexity
    • Don’t fall in love with a position – ok to change your mind when the facts change
    • Stay focused – keep it simple and remember what you set out to do
  4. Economics
    • Incentives / Reinforcements – understanding incentives is a super power
    • Opportunity Cost – the value of the second best option that you skip
    • Comparative Advantage – one country/company that produces a good at a lower price, should
    • Asymmetric Information and Signaling – one party has more relevant info than the other(s)
    • Moral Hazard – a party takes more risk because they don’t bear the brunt of the consequences
    • Agency Costs – misaligned incentives causes unwanted behavior
    • Tragedy of the Commons – people will utilize common goods (oceans, fields, etc.) to their own benefit and the detriment of the general public
    • Supply and Demand
    • Scarcity and Abundance
    • Externalities and Free Rider Problem – someone consumes more than their fair share
    • Elasticity (price and income) – how responsive an economic variable (supply/demand) is to a change in another
    • Second and Third Order Consequences – Ask “And Then What?”
    • Ownership and Property Rights
    • Factors of Production
    • Complements and Substitutes (to what degree?) – how easily/willingly can a customer change to another product/service?
    • Expected Utility Theory (St. Petersburg Paradox) – in game theory, people prefer certain choices that have uncertain outcomes
    • Gresham’s Law (Turds and Raisins) – bad (overvalued) money drives out good (undervalued)
    • Marginal Analysis – comparing additional costs to additional benefits
    • Division / Abdication of responsibility – make sure one person is responsible for task/project/decision/etc.
    • Price Discrimination – can charge different prices at different locations
    • Tiered Pricing – customer can choose service level that best suits their need
    • Diminishing Returns – increasing returns up to a point, then starts decreasing
    • Economies of Scale – cost advantage that comes with the increased output of a product
    • Satisficing – going through alternatives until one meets a bottom acceptability threshold
    • Bounded Rationality – people’s decisions limited to info they have, time they have, and their cognitive limitations
    • Markets and Industries
    • Monopoly / Oligopoly – 1 or 2 players
    • Game Theory / Prisoner’s Dilemma – interactive decision theory / theoretical game that shows why two “rational” people might not cooperate even if in their best interest
    • Division of Labor – specialization of tasks leads to huge improvements in efficiencies
    • Cost-Benefit Analysis – estimating strengths and weaknesses of alternatives
    • Consider long-term and all groups involved/affected
    • Competitive Destruction – new technology/businesses/processes/etc that displace existing businesses…
    • Febezzlement – there are wide, destructive effects when people use money that’s not theirs
    • Experience Curve – the relationship between experience and efficiency
    • TANSTAAFL – There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch
    • Zero-Sum Game – one person’s gain is another person’s loss
    • Additive Sum Game – one person’s gains does not detract from another
    • Wealth Effects – change in spending that accompanies a change in perceived wealth
    • Taxes and Subsidies – keep an eye on companies who receive subsidies
    • Value
    • Costs – Sunk (cost that can’t be recovered), Transaction (cost of participating in a market), Switching (cost of switching brand, suppliers, etc), Search (will search for a better product until cost of searching larger than benefit)
    • Bottlenecks (Theory of Constraints) – performance or capacity limited by one component
    • What does history say? – history may not repeat itself, but it sure rhymes
    • Maslow’s Needs (ignore hierarchy) – basic survival needs must be satisfied before can thrive and self-actualize
    • Product Lifecycle – process from inception to distribution
    • Hype Curve – represents the maturity, adoption and social implication of specific technologies
    • Arbitrage – taking advantage of a price difference
    • Maximize one variable only
    • Base rates – people don’t accurately base rates into decision making
    • Index Numbers – economic data figure representing price or quantity compared with a standard or base value
    • PPP – used to determine the relative value of different currencies
    • Trade-off between competing wants – weigh pros and cons
    • Fixed vs. Variable Costs – costs that don’t change vs. costs that change in proportion to to the good/service produced. Moats tend to have lower fixed costs
    • Direct vs. Indirect Costs – costs directly related to creating product/service (goods, labor)vs. costs that can’t be accounted to a particular area (personnel)
    • Pareto Optimal / Pareto Principle – state where taking away from one person will inevitably hurt another / 80% of results come from 20% of the effort
    • Commodities – goods/services that only differ in price
    • Absolute Cost Advantage – country/company can produce a good/service cheaper or quicker than another country/company
    • Consumer Surplus – occurs when customer is charged less than what ultimately willing to pay
    • Reserve Price – highest price customer willing to pay for something or lowest price willing to sell this good/service
    • Deadweight Loss – equilibrium can’t be achieved due to monopoly pricing, taxes, subsidies, etc.
    • Make something as simple as possible, but no simpler
    • Invert, always invert
    • Six degrees – everyone interconnected
  5. Biology
    • Evolution – not survival of the fittest but survival of those who can quickest and best adapt
    • Co-evolution – Adaptation in one species causes adaptation in another (pathogen/host, predator/prey…)
    • Red Queen Effect – in order to survive, must continually keep adapting and evolving
    • Speciation (part Allopatric) – evolutionary process by which species arise (allopatric – speciation due to geographic isolation)
    • Hybrid Vigor/Heterosis – improved quality/function through interbreeding
    • Survival by Differentiation
    • Natural Selection – organism’s traits become more/less pronounced over time as they become more/less useful
    • Artificial Selection (Invisible Hand) – selective breeding to make desired traits more pronounced
    • Symbiosis – two species closely interacting with both benefiting from the relationship
    • Parasite – opposite of symbiosis, one species benefits at the expense of the other
    • Genetic Drift – change in a gene variant due to random sampling, some may disappear completely
    • Hunter-gatherer – nomadic lifestyle where most food comes from wild plants and animals
    • Inoculation / Immune System – introduction of a small amount of a pathogen to make future attacks less deadly / natural process that helps protect an organism from disease
    • Evolutionary Psychology – attempts to define which psychological tendencies are evolved adaptations
    • Slaves to our brains (food/sex) – must satisfy basic desires
    • Mimicry / Imitation – one species mimics the characteristics of another to better protect itself (appearance, behavior, sound, scent, location)
    • Hierarchy – representation where one group is above/below another indicating power, responsibility, etc
    • Self-Preservation – basic instinct in which one tries to protect oneself from harm or death
    • Territoriality – form of nonverbal communication where personal space indicates ownership/occupancy of areas and possessions
    • Proxemics – subcategory of nonverbal communication which differs with culture – personal space, touching, eye contact, voice loudness, smell, body heat
    • Ritualistic (social bonds / identity) – traditions of a community
    • Co-evolutionary Food Chains
    • Swarm Intelligence – the collective behavior of decentralized, self-organized systems, natural or artificial
    • Apex Predator Qualities – keep ecosystems in check
    • Superorganism Qualities (colony vs aggregate) – organism made of organisms where the individual would not be able to survive long
    • Imprinting Effects – phase sensitive learning, independent of the consequences of the behavior (baby duck “falls in love” with first “mom” it sees)
    • Growth and Adaptation (especially DNA-related)
    • Trust and Cooperation (Dunbar Number) – supposed cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social interactions
    • Placebo Effect and F.E.S. (Pygmalian Effect) – the greater the expectation placed on somebody, the greater they perform
    • Layered Complexity – Less isn’t always better
  6. Design
    • Color
    • Negative Space / Padding – there is often more than first meets the eye (vase/faces illusion)
    • Alignment and Proximity
    • Repetition
    • Contrast (color, shapes and texture)
    • Typography – using font to make language beautiful
    • Paper Prototyping and Visualization
    • Light
    • Composition (Rule of Thirds) – imagine image divisible into 9 equal parts to make more appealing
    • Where am I? Where can I go?
    • Don’t make me think!
    • Design patterns (Architecture)
    • Storytelling – scale and invert outside/inside
    • Dieters Rams’ 10 Commandments – design is innovative, aesthetic, useful, long lasting, environmentally friendly, simple, nothing left to chance, honest, unobtrusive, understandable
    • Use emphasis to guide the reader
    • Grid System – used to structure content
    • John Maeda’s Simplicity Rules – Have fewer things, Be organized, Learn as much as possible, especially about your given craft, Some things can never be made simple and that is a good thing
    • Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto – Form Follows Function
  7. Science
    • Scientific Method – question, hypothesis, prediction, testing, analysis
    • Critical Mass – can refer to many different fields but refers to the amount of substance/people/etc. to start a chain reaction
    • Tipping Point – the point where something reaches critical mass (ideas, products, messages, behaviors)
    • Equilibrium / State of Balance – Applicable to biology, physics, chemistry, economics,
    • Precedence – collect, reduce, synthesize
    • Chaos Theory – butterfly effect, one small change at the beginning can have large consequences
    • Ripple / Spillover Effect – economic effects that occur because of something else in a seemingly unrelated context
    • Second Law of Thermodynamics – total energy remains constant, heat flows from hot to cold, transfer occurs by conduction, convection (movement of matter) and radiation (wavelengths)
    • Autocatalysts – reaction product itself is the catalyst
    • Atomic – smallest unit of ordinary matter that still has the properties of a chemical element
    • Newton’s Laws (body at rest stays at rest (inertia); force = mass * acceleration); equal and opposite reaction
    • Taxonomy – description, identification, nomenclature and classification of organisms
    • Invariant Strategies –
    • Burden of Proof – must provide enough evidence to shift views from innocent to guilty
    • Path Dependence – previous decisions, although now perhaps irrelevant, limit current and future decisions
    • Time Lags – often there is a delay between an economic action and its consequence
    • Non-linear Systems – outputs of this system are not directly proportional to the inputs
    • Stock-flow Diagram – stock is something that exists in a unit of time and flow is something which is measured over a period of time
    • Complex Adaptive Systems – complex micro changes which help the macro survive; emergence = larger entities form from interactions of smaller/simpler entities; self-organization = some form of order arises out of an initially disorganized system
    • Hawthorne Effect – people’s behavior improves in response to being observed
    • Simulation and Modeling – creating and analyzing a prototype to predict its performance in the real world
    • Active / Passive Stability
    • Full-Wave Rectification – converts alternate current (AC; flows in multiple directions) to direct current (DC; only one direction)
    • Velocity – speed with direction
    • Open self up to criticism
    • Automation / Computability – ability to solve a problem in an effective manner (often correlated with it having an algorithm)
    • Full Attribution Ethos – be able to recognize the full effects of different sources
    • Go to Primary Source – don’t rely on distilled/second order books/articles/blogs/etc.
  8. Engineering
    • Margin of Safety – in an engineering context, being able to withstand more weight, pressure, etc. than expected
    • Back up Systems / Redundancy – duplication of critical components in order to increase reliability
    • Breakpoints – minimum number of decisions
    • Percolation Threshold – flow of fluids through porous materials; lattice models of random systems and the nature of connectivity in them
    • Saturation Territory
    • Buffers, Safety and Reserves – adding additional margin of safety
    • Compensation – planning for side effects or other unintended issues in a design
    • Flexibility / Adaptability – machines/systems that can adapt when external changes occur
    • Freeze – reduce number of changes to solve
    • Tolerance (stacked tolerance problem) – being able to cope with many different situations/physical environments
    • Network Effect (Metcalfe’s Law) – as more people connect to the network, the more powerful it becomes
    • Control Theory (CLC) – deals with the behavior of inputs and how their behavior is modified by feedback
    • Common Mode Failure – when one common event causes failures on multiple fronts
    • Protoype – a first, preliminary model (sketch, CAD, models)
    • Single point of failure – avoid whenever possible; a single point in a system where if it fails the whole system goes down
    • Reverse engineering – process of extracting knowledge by working backwards, disassembling and analyzing the components
    • Leverage points – a lever amplifies an input force to provide a greater output
    • Trim Tab – changing the angle of the trim tab adjusts the neutral or resting position of a control surface (rudder)
  9. Software
    • Essential and Accidental Complexity – numerical measure of a programs’ adherence to structured programming rules; no single development in tech or management that can offer an improvement of one order of magnitude within a decade by helping simplicity, productivity, reliability
    • Testing and Error Handling (A/B Split) – responding to the occurrence of exceptions which change the normal flow of program execution
    • Prototyping / Pilot (Iterate) – creating first, incomplete versions of software and helps get valuable feedback
    • Scalability – ability for a system, program, network to grow in order to meet increasing demands
    • Reusing Components / Chunk Up – reusing old software components to create new ones
    • Data-driven – program statements describe the data to be matched and the processing required rather than layout steps to be taken
    • Use the Web
    • Divergence and Convergence (estimates) – a computation that does not terminate or terminates in an unobservable state; technology evolves to perform similar tasks
    • Lump information by context
    • Standards
    • Proprietary / Exclusivity – own the software
    • Forms of information / flows / Overload
    • Garbage In Garbage Out (GIBO) – poor inputs leads to poor outputs
    • User stories (empathy tool) – short description of what a user needs to do
    • 5 Hat Racks – there are 5 ways to categorize information – category (similarity relatedness), time (chronological sequence), location (geographical or spatial references), alphabet (alphabetical sequence), and continuum (magnitude; highest to lowest, best to worse)
    • Progressive Disclosure – improves usability by only presenting the necessary information required for the task at hand
  10. Mathematics and Statistics
    • Symmetry – something does not change under a set of transformations
    • Golden Ratio (1.6180) – ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities
    • Fibonnaci Numbers – 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8… have many data/tech related implications
    • Counting
    • Order of Magnitude – used to make approximate comparisons, the numbers of powers of 10 included in that number
    • Prime Numbers – a real number that has no positive divisors besides 1 and itself
    • Power Law – An earthquake with double the energy is one quarter as likely to happen
    • Pareto’s 80/20 Rule – 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes
    • Long Tail – a large number of occurrences away from the head (central part of distribution)
    • Invert / Flip / Work Backwards
    • Correlation vs. Causation – correlation does not mean one event causes another
    • Extrapolation and Interpolation – estimation of a value based on extending a known sequences of values or facts beyond the area that is certainly known; estimation of a value within two known values in a sequence of values
    • Paradox – a statement that apparently contradicts itself but appears to be true (or false) at the same time
    • Series – sum of the terms of a sequence (arithmetic vs geometry, contradictory vs discr)
    • Permutation and Combinations – set of objects where the order is important; a set of objects where order is not important
    • Extreme reductionism (like algebra) – a newer theory does not replace an old one but reduces it to more basic terms
    • Probability Theory – concerned with probability, the analysis of random phenomena
    • Expected Value – the long run average value of an experiment or series of events
    • Decision Trees – decision support tool, fundamentals first
    • Probability Distribution – assigns a probability to each measurable subset of the possible outcomes in an experiment
    • Hypothesis Testing – a hypothesis that is testable by observing a process that is modeled via random variables
    • Null Hypothesis (type 1/2) – general statement or default position that there is no relationship between two measured phenomena
    • Regression to the mean – outliers will tend to move closer to the average over time
    • Law of Large Numbers – the average of the results obtained from a large number of trials should be closed to the expected value and will tend to become closer as more trials are performed
    • Mean – average
    • Median – the number separating the higher half of a sample from the lower half=
    • Mode – the number that appears most often in a set of data
    • Standard Deviation – used to quantify the amount of variation in a set of data
    • Variance – how far a set of numbers is spread out
    • Diagrams – flow, venndiagram, causal loop
    • Significance – making sure that the observed effect is not due to sampling error
    • Specificity / Sensitivity – sensitivity measures the proportion of actual positives which are correctly identified; specificity measures the proportion of negatives which are correctly identified
    • Bayes Theorem – relates current probability to prior probability
    • Abstraction – conceptual process where general rules are derived from specific examples
    • Symbols – object that represents, stands for or suggests an idea, belief, image, action or entity
    • Exponential Growth – occurs when the growth rate is proportional to the function’s current value
  11. Miscellaneous
    • Signal vs. Noise / Wheat vs Chaff – know what is important and focus only on that
    • Storytelling – magic and wonder / allegory
    • Emotion, Unexpected, Concrete Personality and Characteristics
    • Theatricality, fun, surprising and playful
    • Monroe’s Motivated Sequence – technique for organizing persuasive speeches to get people to take action (attention through shocking example, show that the need won’t go away by itself, show how to solve the problem, show what will happen if solution is implemented, show what action audience needs to take)
    • Universal Declaration of Human Rights / Resolutions – adopted after WWII, the rights to which all human beings are entitled to
    • Lateral Networks – spreading a network along the same class/base of a hierarchical pyramid
    • Unconscious Competence – after much training can perform at a high level without thinking too much/at all
    • Force Multiplier Methods – a factor that dramatically increases the effectiveness of an item or group
    • Parimutuel System – payoff odds are calculated by sharing the pool among all winning bets (best horse has best odds and lowest payoff)
    • Thresholds – lowest level of a stimulus that an organism can detect
    • Hysteresis – time based dependence of a system’s output on current and past inputs (thermometers)
    • Lead and Lag Indicators – anything used to predict future trends; anything that follows an event
    • Relative vs. Absolute – in investing, relative return is compared to a benchmark and absolute is the actual return
    • Solve problem by exposing it
    • Writing for future you (fuller explanation)
    • Reductio Ad Absurdum – argument that shows something is true by showing that something absurd follows from its denial
    • Endogenous vs. Exogenous – change influenced by something outside/inside the system
    • Individualization (through components)
    • Greed and Fear – some of the most powerful human emotions
    • Envy – occurs when someone lacks another’s super quality/possession and wishes to have it
    • Scope Creep – continuous growth of a project’s scope
    • Ratchet Effect – next year’s targets based on last year’s performance (poor incentive since leads to not wanting to beat targets)
    • Layering
    • Narrow Specialization
    • Momentum Effect – in finance, rising prices tend to keep rising
    • Transtheoretical Model of Change – assesses an individual’s readiness to act on a new healthier behavior and provides strategies to guide the individual through the different stages of change to action and maintenance
    • Top-down and Bottom-up – starting with the larger system (macroeconomy) and breaking into sub-systems (company); starting at system (individual companies) to piece together a more complex, complete picture
    • Feedback Loops – when outputs of a system are fed back as part of a chain of cause and effect
    • Batching (pomodoro technique) – form of time management to decrease distractions and improve efficiency. batch similar tasks that require similar resources
    • Network of Causes –
    • Filters and Rules – automate as much as possible besides what you do for fun/leisure
    • Vulnerabilities and Threats – SWOT, know where you are weak and where the threats are coming from
    • Occam’s Razor – the hypothesis that predicts equally well with fewest assumptions should be selected
    • Abstraction is Everywhere
    • Constraints and Boundaries – drive productivity and creativity
    • Heuristics (expensive = good) – any approach to problem solving that employs a practical methodology which is sufficient to meet the immediate goals (mental shortcuts)
    • Watch one, do one, teach one – experiential learning where you incorporate experience into what is trying to be learned
    • It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear
    • Insurance – know your worst case scenario(s) and how likely their outcome is
    • Horizontal vs. Vertical – deep vs. narrow specialization
    • Individual vs. Collective
    • Scale Effects (proportions, rates, ratios)
    • Fear experts (especially when their advice is favorable to them) – be mindful of incentives and that numbers can very easily be manipulated
    • Manage > Launder
    • Storyboarding – organizational method to pre-visualize any interactive media sequence
    • Rhythm
    • Rogerian Argument – conflict solving technique aimed at finding common ground instead of polarizing beliefs
    • Parkinson’s Law – work expands to the time allotted to it
    • Periodization – process of categorizing the past into quantified blocks of time
    • Metaphor / Analogy and False Metaphor – figure of speech which relates two unrelated items
    • Reputation and trust from honesty and integrity
    • Deduction (top-down) – reasoning from one or more statements to reach a logically certain conclusion
    • Induction – conclusion drawn is probable but not certain unlike in deductive reasoning
    • Algorithms – step by step actions to be performed
    • Imprecise language is enemy of clear thinking
    • Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis – the structure of a language affects the way the speaker conceptualizes their world
    • Credibility Indicators – testimonials, past success, money, fame, press, etc.
    • Post-mortems – process conducted after a project/decision to analyze elements that were successful and unsuccessful
    • Morphological Analysis – process for exploring all possible solutions to a multi-dimensional, non-quantified complex problem
    • Virtue/vice effects (double-entry book keeping, cash register) – set up a system that incentivizes virtues
    • 7 Wastes (part of six sigma) – transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, over-processing, over-production, defects
    • Centralized vs. Decentralized – hq vs. operations spread out
    • Conversion rates (funnel) – converting a visitor into a paying customer…
    • Kantian Fairness – ethics revolve entirely around duty instead of emotions/end goals. All actions performed in accordance with some underlying maxim or principle (categorical imperative – criterion for whether a maxim is good or bad)
    • Functional Equivalent – an object that is different from another object but can perform the same functions
    • Ebbinghaus – decline in memory retention in time; learning increases with experience
    • Hanlon’s Razor – never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity
    • Stoicism – destructive emotions result from errors in judgment, philosophy as a way of life and one’s behavior is the best indication of one’s philosophy
    • Cycles
    • Wayfinding – all the ways that people and animals orient themselves and navigate from place to place
Good websites on mental models – here,