Thinking Concepts/Mental Models

Multi-disciplinary Thinking

We use these concepts and models to think about challenges and opportunities. Not all are relevant in all contexts, but the consideration forces thinking in detail. With practice, using these concepts, you will become a proficient and creative problem solver. Create solutions, strategics and tactics.

Uncommon Thinking To Deliver Common Sense

Let us know if you have any other models that you use.

The Map is not the Territory

The description of the thing is not the thing itself. Even the best maps are imperfect and have limits.

Circle of Competence

“Know your circle of competence, and stick within it. The size of that circle is not very important; knowing its boundaries, however, is vital.”
Warren Buffet

Falsifiability

If you can’t prove something wrong, you can’t prove it right.
Falsifiability helps us sort through which theories are more robust.

First Principles Thinking

Reverse-engineering complicated situations to unleash creative potential.

Second-Order Thinking

Consider not only our actions and their immediate consequences, but the subsequent effects of those actions.

Thought Experiment

A hypothetical situation in which a hypothesis, theory, or principle is laid out for the purpose of thinking through its consequences.

Necessity and Sufficiency

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that having some necessary conditions in place means that you have all of the sufficient conditions in place for the desired event or effect to occur.

Probabilistic Thinking

Estimate, using math and logic, the likelihood of any specific outcome coming to pass.

Causation vs. Correlation

Causation – the relationship between cause and effect.

Correlation – a mutual relationship or connection between two or more things.
Confusion between the two often leads to inaccurate assumptions. While causation and correlation can exist at the same time, correlation doesn’t mean causation.

Inversion

Approaching a situation from the opposite end of the natural starting point.

Occam’s Razor

Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity. When presented with competing hypotheses about the same prediction, one should select the solution with the fewest assumptions.

Hanlon’s Razor

We should not attribute to malice that which is more easily explained by stupidity.

Analogical Thinking

Finding a common relational system between two situations or domains to infer new information about the other.

Divergent Thinking

A thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. Often referred to as “thinking outside the box”.

Red Queen Effect

Adapt and Evolve or Die. Run Hard to Keep Ahead. Competitors are working hard to get ahead. Avoid Extinction.

Subjective vs Objective

Subjective – based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

Objective – not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

Anecdotal vs Empirical

Anecdotal – using experiences and stories to illustrate a point. 

Empirical – measured, unbiased, and replicable.

Empathy

Considering and understanding a scenario from the perspectives of those involved.

Consider Missing Information. Know what you want to achieve

Consider what we don’t know, in relation to what we want to achieve.

Looking for Alternative Explanations

Challenge current understanding/explanations.
Consider alternatives.

Compare Both Positive And Negative Characteristics

Pros and Cons.

Books we often reference and recommend

Contact us for more information or help with challenges and opportunities large and small.

The Great Mental Models Volume 1: General Thinking Concepts
Shane Parrish

The Great Mental Models Volume 2: Physics, Chemistry and Biology
Shane Parrish

The Great Mental Models Volume 3: Systems and Mathematics
Rhiannon Beaubien and Rosie Leizrowice

Seeking Wisdom, From Darwin to Munger
Peter Bevelin

The Opposable Mind
Roger Martin

The Art of Thinking Clearly: Better Thinking, Better Decisions
Rolf Dobelli

Thinking, Fast and Slow
Daniel Kahneman

  • The Map is not the Territory

    The description of the thing is not the thing itself. Even the best maps are imperfect and have limits.
  • Circle of Competence

    Know your circle of competence, and stick within it. The size of that circle is not very important; knowing its boundaries, however, is vital." Warren Buffet
  • Falsifiability

    If you can’t prove something wrong, you can’t prove it right. Falsifiability helps us sort through which theories are more robust.
  • First Principles Thinking

    Reverse-engineering complicated situations to unleash creative potential.
  • Second-Order Thinking

    Consider not only our actions and their immediate consequences, but the subsequent effects of those actions.
  • Thought Experiment

    A hypothetical situation in which a hypothesis, theory, or principle is laid out for the purpose of thinking through its consequences.
  • Necessity and Sufficiency

    Don’t make the mistake of assuming that having some necessary conditions in place means that you have all of the sufficient conditions in place for the […]
  • Probabilistic Thinking

    Estimate, using math and logic, the likelihood of any specific outcome coming to pass.
  • Causation vs. Correlation

    Causation – the relationship between cause and effect.Correlation – a mutual relationship or connection between two or more things.Confusion between the two often leads to inaccurate […]
  • Inversion

    Approaching a situation from the opposite end of the natural starting point.
  • Occam’s Razor

    Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity. When presented with competing hypotheses about the same prediction, one should select the solution with the fewest assumptions.
  • Hanlon’s Razor

    We should not attribute to malice that which is more easily explained by stupidity.
  • Analogical Thinking

    Finding a common relational system between two situations or domains to infer new information about the other.
  • Divergent Thinking

    A thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. Often referred to as “thinking outside the box”.
  • Red Queen Effect

    Adapt and Evolve or Die. Run Hard to Keep Ahead. Competitors are working hard to get ahead. Avoid Extinction.
  • Subjective vs Objective

    Subjective – based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.Objective – not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
  • Anecdotal vs Empirical

    Anecdotal – using experiences and stories to illustrate a point.Empirical – measured, unbiased, and replicable.
  • Empathy

    Considering and understanding a scenario from the perspectives of those involved.
  • Consider Missing Information.

    Consider what we don’t know, in relation to what we want to achieve.
  • Looking for Alternative Explanations

    Challenge current understanding/explanations. Consider alternatives.
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