The Great Mental Models Volume 3 Book Summary - The Great Mental Models Volume 3 Book explained in key points
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The Great Mental Models Volume 3 summary

Rhiannon Beaubien and Rosie Leizrowice

Systems and Mathematics

4.3 (282 ratings)
25 mins

Brief summary

The Great Mental Models Volume 3 by Rhiannon Beaubien and Rosie Leizrowice introduces more powerful ideas to enhance critical thinking. It teaches how to create models that accurately represent complex concepts and train the brain to think more effectively.

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    The Great Mental Models Volume 3
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    The more mental models you can grasp, the better your problem-solving skills will be.

    Imagine you have a toolbox – but it only has a hammer in it. That’s going to come in handy when you need to pound a nail. But what about when you need to tighten a bolt? A hammer won’t be much use; in that situation, what you need is a wrench. 

    Your knowledge toolbox works in the same way. Everyone uses a set of mental tools – also known as mental models – to understand the world. But each model is useful for different problems and situations. The best way to improve the quality of your thinking is to broaden your repertoire of mental models. 

    The key message here is: The more mental models you can grasp, the better your problem-solving skills will be.

    The world is incredibly complex. It constantly presents the human mind with overwhelming amounts of information. Mental models are tools for simplifying all of that data into organized portions that you can mentally digest.

    Most people stick to a specific set of mental models – usually from their given discipline. If you’re a psychologist, you’ll probably think in terms of incentives. If you’re a biologist, you’ll think in terms of evolution. If you’re an engineer, you’ll think in terms of systems. All of these models are useful because they’re durable representations of how the world works; they won’t ever change. 

    But, as we’ve seen, not all tools are useful for all problems. It’s only by combining models that you can broaden your perspective and look at one problem from multiple angles. This way, you’ll be more adept at making decisions that can generate positive changes. 

    In the following blinks, we’ll draw on wisdom from models of systems thinking and mathematics in particular. Systems exist everywhere in the world, and they play an important role in your day-to-day life. Mathematics, too, serves to explain much of how the world works, using patterns of logic. The two disciplines are largely interconnected – just as the models themselves.

    These disciplines might sound abstract at first. But by breaking each one down, you’ll see that the models have practical – as well as metaphorical – applications across daily behaviors and interactions. Meanwhile, the more you reflect on your use of individual mental models, the better you’ll be able to identify which ones are best for a given situation.

    Let’s dive in.

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    What is The Great Mental Models Volume 3 about?

    The Great Mental Models Volume 3 (2021) is the third book in a series that shows how mental models from various disciplines can be applied to make positive changes to your life. This volume focuses on mental models from systems and mathematics. It demonstrates how you can use cognitive tools to improve everything from decision-making and relationships to healthy eating and personal productivity.

    Who should read The Great Mental Models Volume 3?

    • Decision-makers
    • Problem-solvers
    • The intellectually curious

    About the Author

    Rhiannon Beaubien is the managing editor and a writer at Farnam Street Media in Ottawa, Canada. She leads the development of The Great Mental Models book series.

    Rosie Leizrowice directs the Farnam Street membership program. She writes content for the company blog as well as the The Great Mental Models book series.

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