Super Thinking | Gabriel Weinberg

Summary of: Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models
By: Gabriel Weinberg


Welcome to the journey of unlocking the power of mental models within the book ‘Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models’ by Gabriel Weinberg. In this summary, we will explore how everyday life can be better understood through the use of super models, or widely applicable mental blueprints. Discover how critical mass, inversion, first principles, and other cognitive techniques can help you improve decision-making and problem-solving skills. This summary aims to provide you with an engaging look at the world of mental models while demystifying complex concepts in a user-friendly language.

Super Thinking

Every decision counts in life, and making up our minds can feel like a stab in the dark. However, there is a better way called super thinking, which relies on proven cognitive blueprints to make sense of complicated conundrums and ambiguous evidence. Super thinking uses mental models that allow practitioners to create “mental pictures” of problems and recurring concepts that explain the world. These models can be widely applicable and help us make sense of everyday life. For instance, the critical mass model helps us understand how the minimum amount of mass needed to create a critical state can trigger a chain reaction. Many contemporary businesses have made a fortune from leveraging this insight. This book offers a ton of shortcuts to help you boost your cognitive performance.

Thinking Upside Down

Inversion, a technique employed by the nineteenth-century German mathematician Carl Jacobi, suggests that when you approach a problem from an opposite or“inverse” point of view, you may find it easier to find a solution. Inversion challenges the way we usually examine things and encourages us to view them from a new perspective. Inversions help investors avoid making expensive mistakes, and making better calls is about being wrong less often, avoiding unforced errors and paying attention to the way you reason things out. Arguing from first principles is another technique that enables you to think from the bottom up, starting with the assumptions you are certain about. This method allows you to find “fundamental truths” for even the most complex problems. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, successfully applied this theory when researching battery packs for his self-driving vehicles. Finally, you can apply bottom-up reasoning to everyday decisions such as job hunting. Define your values, set your own parameters, and then check which jobs suit your needs, not just any job available. Use the inversion technique, think from first principles, and view the problem from an alternate angle to get better results.

Simplify Your Assumptions

The principle of Ockham’s razor advises that when faced with equally plausible explanations, simpler is often better. This principle applies to dating, decision-making, and everyday life, as unnecessarily complex assumptions can lead to missed opportunities and logical fallacies. By simplifying assumptions, individuals can improve their chances of success and avoid common pitfalls.

The art of rethinking assumptions

We tend to jump to unfair conclusions about others due to fundamental attribution error. Hanlon’s razor suggests we should avoid malice and instead consider carelessness. The veil of ignorance model developed by John Rawls encourages us to design fair societies by considering everyone’s feelings and interests. Applying this to decision-making can help us appreciate other people’s perspectives.

Want to read the full book summary?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed