How much do I want to read more? 8/10
This is a short book, and can be tremendeously useful.
I remember as a child being lucky to be raised in a "big family" with 5 children, because this variety gave me different perspectives on how the world operate, and I surely couldn't figure it out alone, or with my two parents alone.
Similarly, mental models give different perspectives about life. It's like enhencing one's experience with reading books or meeting different people.
Chapter 1: Decision-Making for Speed and Context
Charlie Munger first introduced mental models in a 1994 speech.
you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts.
You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience on this latticework of models.
you’ve got to have models across a fair array of disciplines.
eighty or ninety important models will carry about ninety percent of the freight in making you a worldly wise person. And of those, only a mere handful really carry very heavy freight.
the answer isn’t to become an expert in every field. It’s finding your own latticework of mental models.
So what exactly is a mental model?
It’s a blueprint to draw your attention to the important elements of whatever you are facing, and it defines context, background, and direction. You gain understanding even if you lack actual knowledge or experience, and the ability to make optimal decisions.
Without a mental model, you might see only a random assortment of lines. But with an applicable mental model, it’s like being handed a map to what all those lines mean.
They point us in the right direction to the complexity around us and filter the signal from the noise.
The more varied perspectives you possess, the more of the world we can understand.
MM #1: Address “Important”; Ignore “Urgent”
separate true priorities from imposters.
our brain is fooling us into one of the most dangerous fallacies: It keep you perpetually focusing on what doesn’t matter.
Everything, seemingly, is an emergency to be handled as soon as possible.
We spend far too much time on urgent tasks when we should be focusing on important tasks.
Important task: These contribute directly to our short-term or long-term goals.
They cannot be skipped and should be prioritized. They may not need to be done immediately and thus don’t appear to be important. This makes it easy to fall into the trap of ignoring the important for the urgent.
But they are what truly impact.
Urgent task: These simply demand immediacy and speed, and usually come from other people. These are usually smaller and easier to complete, so often we turn to them out of procrastination, and it allows us to feel quasi-productive even though we’ve ignored what we really need to be doing.
Luckily, there is a tried and true method of distinguishing between urgent and important, and the method draws its name from one of the most famous American presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower. It’s called the Eisenhower Matrix, and it will help you prioritize and identify what you really need to be juggling at the moment.
To master his impossibly complicated schedule, Eisenhower developed a system that helped him sort his activities.
Important tasks. The top row of the matrix represents the most important obligations or responsibilities one has in their life.
However, just because something is extremely important doesn’t mean every activity that supports it needs to be done immediately. You can’t do them all right now.
the top row of the matrix is thus divided according to what can happen now and what can be delayed (but must happen at some point in the future).
Urgent: Do. Objects in the “do” quadrant are things that absolutely need to be done posthaste. They must be completed to stave off unfavorable outcomes or uncontrollable circumstances, and the sooner they’re done, the less work (and more relief) there will be in the future. “Do” tasks typically revolve around deadlines: final term papers, court filings, car registrations, school applications, and so forth.
“Do” tasks are best thought of as duties that need to be completed immediately, by the end of today, or tomorrow at the very latest.
Not urgent: Plan. Tasks that reside in the second quadrant need to be done at some point—but not necessarily now. The world isn’t going to collapse if they’re not done today; they’re not on a strict deadline to be completed. Still, they have to be done at some point, usually relatively soon, so they need to be scheduled. “Plan” tasks include setting up a future meeting with a big client, arranging a time for a roof leak to be fixed, studying or reading class materials or work documents, or maintenance duties that cover the long term.
The danger with these “not urgent” tasks is deprioritizing them too much. They’re important to keep normal operations afloat, and if they’re discarded or forgotten, they may well turn into emergency tasks in short order.
Not-important tasks. The bottom row of Eisenhower’s matrix represents tasks that aren’t that significant to you personally. That doesn’t mean they’re unimportant to other people (though it might), but they’re activities that might be more appropriate or meaningful for somebody else to finish up. Other people will certainly attempt to present them as important to you, but they’re often just projecting their own self-interests.
The not-important tier is also divided up by relative urgency.
Urgent: Delegate. Perhaps the most befuddling square in this matrix is the “not-important but urgent” box. It perhaps makes the most sense in a work environment: these are tasks that might really need to be done, but it’s not vital for you to take care of them yourself.
items in this box should be eliminated, preferably by being delegated to somebody else.
Not-important/urgent tasks can very generally be described as interruptions: phone calls, emails, ongoing family situations, and so forth.
Not urgent: Eliminate. to distract you or serve as an escape from doing what you need to do: leisure activity, social media, binge-watching, long phone calls, extensive hobby time, and so forth.
These are just things that grab your attention. they feel so insignificant and fleeting. But they add up.
MM #2: Visualize All the Dominoes
We think in terms of one domino ahead; What about the rest of the dominoes?
Visualize all the dominoes: second-order thinking.
Yes, second-order thinking has the usual effect of making you think twice about what you’re doing and helps eliminate rash decisions, as you might expect when you consider the prolonged aftermath of your choices. It’s the practice of seeking out as much information as possible to make measured decisions.
What dominoes do other people visualizing falling?