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  • All Models Are Wrong
    How is your journey towards understanding Farnam Street’s latticework of mental models going? Is it proving useful? Changing your view of the world? If the answer is that it’s going well that’s good. There’s just one tiny hitch. All models are wrong. Yep. It's the truth. However, there is another part to that statement: All models are wrong, some are useful. Those words come from the British statistician, George ...
  • Master Productivity and Eliminate Noise Using the Eisenhower Matrix
    Dwight Eisenhower wasn't only the 34th President of the United States. Before that, Eisenhower was a five-star general in the Army, responsible for command of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II, President of Columbia University, Supreme Commander of NATO. In other words, he was incredibly accomplished. Eisenhower's productivity is legendary not only because of his accomplishments but also because it stood the test of ...
  • Rory Sutherland on The Psychology of Advertising, Complex Evolved Systems, Reading, Decision Making
    “There is a huge danger in looking at life as an optimization problem.” *** Rory Sutherland (@rorysutherland) is the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Group, which is one of the largest advertising companies in the world. Rory started the behavioral insights team and spends his days applying behavioral economics and evolutionary psychology to solve problems that conventionally advertising agencies haven't been able to solve. In this wide-ranging interview ...
  • Habits vs Goals : A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
    “First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you're inspired or not. Habit is persistence in practice.” — Octavia Butler *** Nothing will change your future trajectory like habits. We all have goals, big or small things which we want to achieve within a certain time frame. Some people want to make a million dollars by the time they turn 30. Some want to lose 20lb before summer ...
  • The Munger Operating System: How to Live a Life That Really Works
    In 2007, Charlie Munger gave the commencement address at USC Law School, opening his speech by saying, "Well, no doubt many of you are wondering why the speaker is so old. Well, the answer is obvious: He hasn’t died yet." Fortunately for us, Munger has kept on ticking. The commencement speech is an excellent response to the Big Question: How do we live a life that really works? It has so many of Munger's ...
  • Naval Ravikant on Reading, Happiness, Systems for Decision Making, Habits, Honesty and More
    Naval Ravikant (@naval) is the CEO and co-founder of AngelList. He’s invested in more than 100 companies, including Uber, Twitter, Yammer, and many others. Don’t worry, we’re not going to talk about early stage investing. Naval’s an incredibly deep thinker who challenges the status quo on so many things. In this wide-ranging interview, we talk about reading, habits, decision-making, mental models, and life. Just a heads up, this is the longest ...
  • Thought Experiment: How Einstein Solved Difficult Problems
    “We live not only in a world of thoughts, but also in a world of things. Words without experience are meaningless.” — Vladimir Nabokov *** The Basics “All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, until they take root in our personal experience.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe *** Imagine a small town with a hard working ...
  • Mutually Assured Destruction — What Have We Done?
    “They’ll take an eye for an eye until the whole world can’t see We must stumble forward blind, repeating history.” — Conor Oberst *** The History of Mutually Assured Destruction On the day in 1945 that Robert A Lewis, copilot of the B-29 Superfortress dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, he wrote six agonizingly poignant words in his log book: “My God, what have we done?” What exactly had he ...
  • Activation Energy: The Reason Coffee Helps you Get Going
    The Basics The beginning of any complex or challenging endeavor is always the hardest part. Not all of us wake up and jump out of bed ready for the day. Some of us, like me, need a little extra energy to transition out of sleep and into the day. Once I've had a cup of coffee, my energy level jumps and I'm good for the rest of ...
  • People Don’t Follow Titles: Necessity and Sufficiency in Leadership
    "Colonel Graff: You have a habit of upsetting your commander. Ender Wiggin: I find it hard to respect someone just because they outrank me, sir." — Orson Scott Card *** Many leaders confuse necessary conditions for leadership with sufficient ones. Titles often come with the assumption people will follow you based on a title. Whether by election, appointment, or divine right, at some point you were officially put in ...
  • Habits vs Goals : A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life
    “First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you're inspired or not. Habit is persistence in practice.” — Octavia Butler *** Nothing will change your future trajectory like habits. We all have goals, big or small things which we want to achieve within a certain time frame. Some people want to make a million dollars by the time they turn 30. Some want to lose 20lb before summer ...
  • Rory Sutherland on The Psychology of Advertising, Complex Evolved Systems, Reading, Decision Making
    “There is a huge danger in looking at life as an optimization problem.” *** Rory Sutherland (@rorysutherland) is the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Group, which is one of the largest advertising companies in the world. Rory started the behavioral insights team and spends his days applying behavioral economics and evolutionary psychology to solve problems that conventionally advertising agencies haven't been able to solve. In this wide-ranging interview ...
  • Proximate vs Root Causes: Why You Should Keep Digging to Find the Answer
    “Anything perceived has a cause. All conclusions have premises. All effects have causes. All actions have motives.” — Arthur Schopenhauer *** The Basics One of the first principles we learn as babies is that of cause and effect. Infants learn that pushing an object will cause it to move, crying will cause people to give them attention, and bumping into something will cause pain. As we get older, this understanding ...
  • Thought Experiment: How Einstein Solved Difficult Problems
    “We live not only in a world of thoughts, but also in a world of things. Words without experience are meaningless.” — Vladimir Nabokov *** The Basics “All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, until they take root in our personal experience.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe *** Imagine a small town with a hard working ...
  • Naval Ravikant on Reading, Happiness, Systems for Decision Making, Habits, Honesty and More
    Naval Ravikant (@naval) is the CEO and co-founder of AngelList. He’s invested in more than 100 companies, including Uber, Twitter, Yammer, and many others. Don’t worry, we’re not going to talk about early stage investing. Naval’s an incredibly deep thinker who challenges the status quo on so many things. In this wide-ranging interview, we talk about reading, habits, decision-making, mental models, and life. Just a heads up, this is the longest ...
  • Confirmation Bias: Why You Should Seek Out Disconfirming Evidence
    "What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact." — Warren Buffett *** The Basics Confirmation bias is our tendency to cherry pick information which confirms pre-existing beliefs or ideas. This is also known as myside bias or confirmatory bias. Two people with opposing views on a topic can see the same evidence, and still come away both validated by ...
  • All Models Are Wrong
    How is your journey towards understanding Farnam Street’s latticework of mental models going? Is it proving useful? Changing your view of the world? If the answer is that it’s going well that’s good. There’s just one tiny hitch. All models are wrong. Yep. It's the truth. However, there is another part to that statement: All models are wrong, some are useful. Those words come from the British statistician, George ...
  • People Don’t Follow Titles: Necessity and Sufficiency in Leadership
    "Colonel Graff: You have a habit of upsetting your commander. Ender Wiggin: I find it hard to respect someone just because they outrank me, sir." — Orson Scott Card *** Many leaders confuse necessary conditions for leadership with sufficient ones. Titles often come with the assumption people will follow you based on a title. Whether by election, appointment, or divine right, at some point you were officially put in ...
  • Leverage: Gaining Disproportionate Strength
    "It is easier to conquer than to administer. With enough leverage, a finger could overturn the world; but to support the world, one must have the shoulders of Hercules." — Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract *** The Basics A good place to begin understanding the concept of leverage is the etymology of the word. We can trace its origins back to the Proto-Indo-European ‘legwh’ which described something light, agile ...
  • Master Productivity and Eliminate Noise Using the Eisenhower Matrix
    Dwight Eisenhower wasn't only the 34th President of the United States. Before that, Eisenhower was a five-star general in the Army, responsible for command of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II, President of Columbia University, Supreme Commander of NATO. In other words, he was incredibly accomplished. Eisenhower's productivity is legendary not only because of his accomplishments but also because it stood the test of ...
  • The Feynman Technique: The Best Way to Learn Anything
    There are four simple steps to the Feynman Technique, which I'll explain below: Choose a Concept Teach it to a Toddler Identify Gaps and Go Back to The Source Material Review and Simplify (optional) *** If you're not learning you're standing still. So what's the best way to learn new subjects and identify gaps in our existing knowledge? Two Types of Knowledge There are two types of knowledge and most ...
  • Hunter S. Thompson’s Letter on Finding Your Purpose and Living a Meaningful Life
    In April of 1958, Hunter S. Thompson was 22 years old when he wrote this letter to his friend Hume Logan in response to a request for life advice. Thompson's letter, found in Letters of Note, offers some of the most thoughtful and profound advice I've ever come across. April 22, 1958 57 Perry Street New York City Dear Hume, You ask advice: ah, what a very human and very dangerous ...
  • The Munger Operating System: How to Live a Life That Really Works
    In 2007, Charlie Munger gave the commencement address at USC Law School, opening his speech by saying, "Well, no doubt many of you are wondering why the speaker is so old. Well, the answer is obvious: He hasn’t died yet." Fortunately for us, Munger has kept on ticking. The commencement speech is an excellent response to the Big Question: How do we live a life that really works? It has so many of Munger's ...
  • The Buffett Formula: How To Get Smarter by Reading
    "The best thing a human being can do is to help another human being know more." — Charlie Munger "Go to bed smarter than when you woke up." — Charlie Munger Most people go through life not really getting any smarter. Why? They simply won't do the work required. It's easy to come home, sit on the couch, watch TV and zone out until bed time rolls around. But that's ...
  • Warren Buffett: The Three Things I Look For in a Person
    Students often go to visit Warren Buffett. And when they do, he often plays a little game on them. He asks each student to pick a classmate. Not just any classmate, but the classmate you would choose if you could have 10% of their earnings for the rest of their life. Which classmate would you pick and why? “Are you going to pick the one with the ...
  • What Books Would You Recommend Someone Read to Improve their General Knowledge of the World?
    Inspired by a reader's question to me, I thought I'd ask our followers on Facebook and Twitter for an answer to the question: What books would you recommend someone read to improve their general knowledge of the world. I must say the number and quality of the responses overwhelmed me. The box Amazon just delivered reminds me that I ordered 9 books off this list. Here is ...
  • Charlie Munger on Getting Rich, Wisdom, Focus, Fake Knowledge and More
    "In the chronicles of American financial history," writes David Clark in Tao of Charlie Munger: A Compilation of Quotes from Berkshire Hathaway's Vice Chairman on Life, Business, and the Pursuit of Wealth," Charlie Munger will be seen as the proverbial enigma wrapped in a paradox— he is both a mystery and a contradiction at the same time." On one hand, Munger received an elite education and it ...
  • Naval Ravikant on Reading, Happiness, Systems for Decision Making, Habits, Honesty and More
    Naval Ravikant (@naval) is the CEO and co-founder of AngelList. He’s invested in more than 100 companies, including Uber, Twitter, Yammer, and many others. Don’t worry, we’re not going to talk about early stage investing. Naval’s an incredibly deep thinker who challenges the status quo on so many things. In this wide-ranging interview, we talk about reading, habits, decision-making, mental models, and life. Just a heads up, this is the longest ...
  • The Top 3 Most Effective Ways to Take Notes While Reading
    *** Before you get started: Filter the book by reading the preface, index, table of contents, and inside jacket. This tells you where the author is going to take you and, importantly, the vocabulary they will use. There are three steps to effectively taking notes while reading: At the end of each chapter write a few bullet points that summarize what you've read and make it personal ...
  • A Short List of Books for Doing New Things
    Andrew Ng has quite the modern resume. He founded Coursera, a wonderful website that gives anyone with Internet access the ability to take high level university courses on almost any topic. He founded the Google Brain project at Google, their deep learning research project intended to help bring about better artificial intelligence. Now he's the Chief Scientist at Baidu Research. Ng is, unsurprisingly, devoted to reading and learning ...