Just finished this audiobook from Shane Parrish and it’s a great listen.
Warren Buffet's partner Charlie Munger is also a big believer in mental models and attributes much of his success to using them.
What are mental models?
A mental model is an explanation of how something works. The phrase “mental model” is an overarching term for any sort of concept, framework, or worldview that you carry around in your mind.
I think using these mental models effectively, Indie Hackers can avoid many common mistakes.
Do any other Indie Hackers uses mental models to aid decision making?
The book is the first in a series and covers the following topics
The Map is not the Territory
The map of reality is not reality. Even the best maps are imperfect. That’s because they are reductions of what they represent. This is important to keep in mind as we think through problems and make better decisions.
Circle of Competence
If you know what you understand, you know where you have an edge over others. When you are honest about where your knowledge is lacking you know where you are vulnerable and where you can improve.
First Principles Thinking
Sometimes called reasoning from first principles, it’s a tool to help clarify complicated problems by separating the underlying ideas or facts from any assumptions based on them. What remains are the essentials.
Thought experiments can be defined as “devices of the imagination used to investigate the nature of things.” Many disciplines, such as philosophy and physics, make use of thought experiments to examine what can be known. In doing so, they can open up new avenues for inquiry and exploration. Thought experiments are powerful because they help us learn from our mistakes and avoid future ones.
Almost everyone can anticipate the immediate results of their actions. Second-order thinking is thinking farther ahead and thinking holistically. It requires us to not only consider our actions and their immediate consequences but the subsequent effects of those actions as well. Failing to consider the second and third order effects can unleash disaster.
Probabilistic thinking is essentially trying to estimate, using some tools of math and logic, the likelihood of any specific outcome coming to pass. It is one of the best tools we have to improve the accuracy of our decisions.
The root of inversion is “invert,” which means to upend or turn upside down. As a thinking tool, it means approaching a situation from the opposite end of the natural starting point. Most of us tend to think one way about a problem: forward. Inversion allows us to flip the problem around and think backward.
Simpler explanations are more likely to be true than complicated ones. This is the essence of Occam’s Razor, a classic principle of logic and problem-solving.
Hard to trace in its origin, Hanlon’s Razor states that we should not attribute to malice that which is more easily explained by stupidity. By not generally assuming that bad results are the fault of a bad actor, we look for options instead of missing opportunities.