Mental Models : Inspired by Charlie Munger


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Serendipity. That is what I have to say when I first read about Mental Models. I came to know about this through blogs which I am super passionate about, like professor Sanjay Bakshi, Safal Niveshak & Farnam Street.  I had a desire to study in one of the best schools for my masters, primary reason being – Rub off effect. Just by seeing those great minds who teach and also come to study there, probably I will learn and try to become smart. But every time when I see an exceptional thinker in amazement, I never saw how they became so smart. I read autobiographies of many people to see what is the pattern that made them successful. Other than the hard work, persistence , discipline & Commitment etc. there is something that is helping them think and apply solutions in different situations so extraordinarily.
Was reading Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charlie Munger. What an amazing thinker he is, but he has given a big chit for how to really start thinking by developing our mental models. Mental models plainly put is just what is going on in our mind for what is happening in real world. We constantly form this in our mind on different areas we work.  We definitely spend a lot of time and build expertise in one or may be two areas, and we use those mental models fairly well in relevant situations. But what we lack is a repertoire of large number of mental models and also the connections between multiple mental models and use it fairly well the combination in situations.
You must know the big ideas in the big disciplines and use them routinely–all of them, not just a few. Most people are trained in one model–economics, for example–and try to solve all problems in one way. You know the old saying: ‘To the man with a hammer, the world looks like a nail.’ This is a dumb way of handling problems.” – Charles Munger
There has been many fascinations for me at various points in time, there was a time I was super passionate about database systems, finance, economics, behavioral sciences,  nutrition and health, data analytics , technology etc. So the idea of having a diverse set of mental models has appealed to me. But the key Munger called out was also a lattice work of mental models.
“What you need is a latticework of mental models in your head. And, with that system, things gradually get to fit together in a way that enhances cognition.” – Charles Munger
This is true gem of knowledge to take it with us. Some of the models he called out like Arithmetic, compound interest, probability, Game theory, micro economics, accounting, psychology , Physics etc. He really could draw connections between various fields, that is possible only  if we are aware and fairly used them in different situations. As Steve jobs calls out, creativity is about connecting the dots. Going by what the famous thinker Herb Simon says. 
The better decision maker has at his/her disposal repertoires of possible actions; checklists of things to think about before he acts; and he has mechanisms in his mind to evoke these, and bring these to his conscious attention when the situations for decision arise.”  - Herbert Simon
I plan to really continue my diverse reading and time investment various fields to really build those mental models. My goal is first to know them and learn them and try to link them. Then I will see how my thinking really evolves.


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