Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models – Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann Book Summary

Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models – Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann | Free Book Summary

Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models – Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann

The frameworks and short cuts that top performers use to sort out good ideas from bad ones and navigate complexity are the subject of the book Super Thinking.

The Unconscious Mental Models

Nudging: You may receive directional cues from subtle wording or other factors in the environment. 

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Anchoring: The propensity to base judgments unduly on first impressions.

Availability bias: When a bias or distortion creeps into your impartial perception of reality as a result of knowledge that was just recently made available to you.  

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Holding two different beliefs together

Disconfirmation bias, in which you place a higher burden of proof on the ideas you don’t want to believe, can also lead you to cling to false beliefs.

Cognitive dissonance, the stress experienced when holding two opposing, dissonant beliefs at once, can be used to explain the harmful effects of confirmation bias and related models.

Overcoming Confirmation Bias: Thinking Gray

You might view situations as either black or white, but reality is more nuanced and has shades of gray. But to be truly effective, a leader must be able to recognize the nuances of a given circumstance in order to choose the best course of action. One approach is to force yourself to write down different cases for a given decision or appoint different members of a group to do so.

Spend your time wisely

Choosing what to do depends on how closely it aligns with your north star.

No multitasking! Just concentrate your attention on one of these truly important tasks at a time, and give it top priority.

Choose options based on models of opportunity costs.

The Pareto Principle

Find the 80/20 in any activity by using the Pareto principle, and you’ll always have more leverage.

Recognize diminishing returns and stay away from bad investments.

To avoid present bias, use commitment and the default effect. To avoid loss aversion and the sunk cost fallacy, use periodic evaluations.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

The gambler’s fallacy and the base rate fallacy should not be believed.

Data correlations and anecdotal evidence are useful for generating hypotheses, but correlation does not imply causation, so solid conclusions still require well-designed experiments.

Look for tried-and-true experimental designs that demonstrate statistical significance, such as randomized controlled experiments or A/B testing.

Decisions, Decisions

Consider upgrading to a cost-benefit analysis or decision tree when tempted to use a pro-con list.

Run a sensitivity analysis across inputs when making any quantitative assessment to identify key drivers and understand where you might need to seek more precision in your assumptions. Any discount rate used should be carefully considered.


Dealing with conflict

Examine conflict situations from the perspective of game theory. Examine whether your circumstance is comparable to well-known situations like the prisoner’s dilemma, the ultimatum game, or a war of attrition.

Think about how you can be more persuasive by utilizing influence models like reciprocity, commitment, liking, social proof, scarcity, and authority to persuade people to support your cause.

Unlocking people’s potential

People are not the same everywhere. They have various personalities, strengths, and objectives and come from various backgrounds. To be the best manager, you must manage the person, taking into consideration each person’s particular set of traits and present difficulties.

Create special roles that highlight the motivations and strengths of each person. Only assign people to positions where they can succeed.

Flex your market power

  • Discover a secret and center your career or business around it while using customer development to look for product/market fit (or any other “fit” that applies to the circumstance).
  • In your pursuit of product/market fit, strive to be like a heat-seeking missile that expertly negotiates the idea maze. For confirmation, look for indications that you have reached a resonance.


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