Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models


Mental models help you become a more effective thinker and decision-maker and this book is a great compilation of some of the more well known and effective models

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Key Takeaways

  1. Some of my favorite mental models discussed include:
    1. Arguing from first principles - you must understand the core, fundamental principles if you are going to be an effective thinker. A first principle is an assumption that cannot be deduced any further 
    2. De-risking - what steps can you take, what can you think through and control that would lower the risk?
    3. Premature optimization - it is better to iterate, take small steps and adapt and evolve as the situation unfolds rather than come up with grand plans and rigid blueprints
    4. The top idea in your mind - be very aware of what you're thinking about since this shapes and colors what you see and how you behave. Paul Graham talks about this best
    5. Opportunity cost - the value you're giving up by pursuing one thing rather than another
    6. Local vs. Global optimum - your mindset and time horizon very much determine how you act. Something that makes sense locally can be harmful globally
    7. Consequence-Conviction Matrix - how small/large are the consequences and how much conviction do you have? Large consequences and low conviction, take your time
    8. Resonant Frequency - a phenomenon that only occurs when the frequency at which a force is periodically applied is equal or near equal to one of the natural frequencies on which it acts. As leaders and teammates, we try to get on the same frequency as our team, lowering friction and getting better results
    9. OODA Loop - John Boyd's assessment protocol - Observe, Orient, Decide, Act
    10. Heat-seeking missiles - leaders should learn from heat-seeking missiles and aim to be in the "hottest" areas - the areas with the most friction

What I got out of it

  1. A great overview of mental models in a fun and comprehensive fashion. Not too many new or unexpected models but the examples given and how they tied them together was helpful

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