Mental Models II

A week ago I discussed James Clear’s article on how to think better using Mental Models. This week I want to take a second look at this concept and look at another post by Clear on this idea.

Clear defines a mental model as, “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”.

“Mental models help you understand life. For example, supply and demand is a mental model that helps you understand how the economy works. Game theory is a mental model that helps you understand how relationships and trust work. Entropy is a mental model that helps you understand how disorder and decay work.” Clear also observes that mental models guide how we perceive the world and how we behave.

Mental models can be very helpful but they are not perfect. “There is no single mental model from physics or engineering, for example, that provides a flawless explanation of the entire universe, but the best mental models from those disciplines have allowed us to build bridges and roads, develop new technologies, and even travel to outer space. As historian Yuval Noah Harari puts it, “Scientists generally agree that no theory is 100 percent correct. Thus, the real test of knowledge is not truth, but utility.””

Charlie Munger said that 80 or 90 important models will carry about 90% of the freight to make you a worldly-wise person.

Clear has assembled a starting list of some of the most common mental models in a number of disciplines. In invite you to check out his list and read up on some of those models. The better you understand them the more effectively you can use them. You can read more here.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.