The Model Thinker Book Summary - The Model Thinker Book explained in key points
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The Model Thinker summary

Scott E. Page

What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You

3.9 (157 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

The Model Thinker by Scott E. Page is a guide to thinking about complex problems. It offers practical tools for modeling and analyzing social, economic or political phenomena, and provides insights on how to make better decisions by understanding the world in a more nuanced way.

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    The Model Thinker
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    Key idea 1 of 7

    Models help us to explain, design, and predict.

    In June 2009 Air France flight AF 477 crashed in the Atlantic ocean. After searching in vain for weeks, and after a second failed search attempt a year later, the French authorities eventually turned to using complex data models to locate the plane. Using data on ocean currents and sophisticated modeling, they pinpointed a small region where they predicted the fuselage might lie. Within a week, they’d found it!

    The key message here is: Models help us to explain, design, and predict.

    The success in locating Air France flight AF 477 shows the power of using models. By simplifying the world into straightforward variables, models reduce the confusing background noise and identify the truly significant factors that determine real-world outcomes. Sound a little abstract? Then picture real-world models like, for instance, those in physics which explain missile trajectories, or ecological models that explain the distribution of species in an ecosystem. Each of these draws on observable facts to create accounts of why things happen the way they do.

    But that’s not all. As useful as models are for analyzing and visualizing data that already exists in the world, they're equally helpful in imagining what things might look like. Using models to visualize all sorts of designs – for example, social policies, innovative products, or marketing campaigns – allows us to project and envision outcomes without actually committing to them. With models, then, we can consider the implications of our choices and redesign things in response to our discoveries.

    From imagining the form a design could take, it's a short step to thinking about what will happen. Models help us predict the future. They don’t always do this perfectly, of course – as anyone who’s ever been misled by a weather forecast knows. But, as you’ll learn in the following blinks, models can make it much easier to predict the outcomes of uncertain events.

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    Key ideas in The Model Thinker

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    What is The Model Thinker about?

    The Model Thinker (2018) is a guide to using models to make data talk. In a world inundated with information, it sheds some much-needed light on the patterns underlying the noise – and points us toward the ways we can reveal those patterns for ourselves.

    The Model Thinker Review

    The Model Thinker (2018) is a thought-provoking book that introduces readers to the power of models in understanding complex systems and making informed decisions. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Presenting a diverse range of models and their applications, the book empowers readers to analyze situations from multiple perspectives, enhancing problem-solving skills.
    • Combining theoretical frameworks, real-world examples, and practical insights, it provides a comprehensive and accessible overview of the field, making it informative and enriching.
    • With its engaging storytelling and captivating explanations, it successfully demystifies complex concepts, making the subject matter interesting and enjoyable, and ensuring that readers won't find it boring.

    Who should read The Model Thinker?

    • Modeling novices interested in making sense of data
    • Future-focused leaders interested in predicting the next big thing
    • Anyone who wants to sound a little smarter at dinner parties

    About the Author

    Scott E. Page is an American social scientist based at the University of Michigan, where he’s John Seely Brown Distinguished University Professor of Complexity, Social Science, and Management. He’s the author of several other titles, including The Diversity Bonus and The Difference.

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    The Model Thinker FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Model Thinker?

    The main message of The Model Thinker is understanding the power of modeling and how it can enhance decision-making in various fields.

    How long does it take to read The Model Thinker?

    The reading time for The Model Thinker can vary, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Model Thinker a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Model Thinker is worth reading because it provides valuable insights into the world of modeling, making it highly relevant to anyone interested in improving their decision-making skills.

    Who is the author of The Model Thinker?

    The author of The Model Thinker is Scott E. Page.

    What to read after The Model Thinker?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Model Thinker, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Don’t Trust Your Gut by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
    • The Data Detective by Tim Harford
    • Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche
    • How to Walk into a Room by Emily P. Freeman
    • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
    • Simply Complexity by Neil F. Johnson
    • Super Human by Dave Asprey
    • 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness by Jim Rohn
    • The Great Mental Models Volume 3 by Rhiannon Beaubien and Rosie Leizrowice
    • Languishing by Corey Keyes