April 26, 2022




2 Short Frameworks To Improve Conversations, The Minimum Viable Test (MVT), Creator Vs Reactor Schedule & More

At a glance

Welcome to the 284(!) new friends of the Mental Models, Concepts, and Frameworks newsletter who have joined us since last week!

Highlights of this newsletter:

  • 2 short frameworks to improve conversations
  • The Minimum Viable Test (MVT)
  • Creator Vs Reactor Schedule
  • Rumsfeld's Rule
  • Herd Instinct
  • 15 common thinking errors

2 short frameworks to improve conversations

Wait, What?

A method to avoid jumping to conclusions or making snap judgements.

When someone presents an idea, opinion, or a belief, ask "Wait, What?"

It reminds you to slow down.

To make sure you truly understand and can respond thoughtfully.

h/t James E. Ryan

Scout vs Soldier Mindset

A soldier mindset encourages you to defend your positions at any cost.

A scout mindset helps you to recognize when you are wrong and seek out your blind spots.

Be the kind of person who welcomes the truth.

You'll be more memorable.

h/t @juliagalef

The Minimum Viable Test (MVT)

Instead of building a complete Minimum Viable Product, use the MVT framework.

List the riskiest assumptions that might lead your business to succeed or fail.

Test your assumptions through Minimum Viable Tests.

Repeat until you've de-risked.

For example, AirBnB:

Riskiest assumption: people will be comfortable staying in a strangers house.

MVT: Put up an advertisement for an upcoming conference (where all the hotels are booked out) and see if anyone bites at the opportunity to stay with them.

Creator Vs Reactor Schedule

A creator schedule demands solitude and deep work.

A reactors schedule depends on inputs and fast task completion.

The highest performers embed a creator schedule into their routines.

The less you're reacting, the more proactive you can be.

Rumsfeld's Rule

You go to war with the army you have.

They’re not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.

Rumsfeld's Rule applied to life:

Start where you are right now.

Don't wait for the perfect time or circumstances.

Herd Instinct

A lack of individual decision-making or thoughtfulness which causes you to act in the same way as the majority or those in your environment.

You naturally want to belong, so you align your behaviour to perceived expectations.

Resist the urge, act freely.

15 common thinking errors

False Cause

When you presume that a real or perceived relationship between things means that one caused the other.

Correlation ≠ causation.

"They lose every time they play a night game! It must be the time they're playing."

Always consider common causes and other factors.

Appeal To Emotion

When you use emotion in place of reason in order to win a debate—it's a type of manipulation.

"Don't you care about their feelings in making this decision?"

Appeal to emotion without logic is a fallacy.

However, matched with logic, it's a powerful force.

The Fallacy Fallacy

When you assume that because a fallacy has been made, or a claim has been poorly argued, that the claim itself must be wrong.

It's possible for a claim that is true to be justified with fallacies and weak arguments.

Assess the claim first, then the rest.

Slippery Slope

Claiming that a relatively small first step will lead to a chain of events culminating in a significant event.

This fallacy leverages fear to convince the other party that a course of action should be taken.

Treat the issue at hand, not extreme hypotheticals.

Ad Hominem

Attacking someones character, personal traits, or education in an attempt to undermine their argument.

Person A: Presents compelling, logical case for social welfare

Person B: "Should we believe anything this man has said given he was once arrested in college?"

Burden of Proof

When you avoid your responsbility to provide proof for your reasoning by denying the need to do so, pretending to have done so, or by shifting the responsibility elsewhere.

For example, claiming something is valid purely because no one can 'prove' you wrong.

Loaded Question

Asking a question with a presumption built into it so that it can't be answered without appearing guilty.

The recipient is compelled to defend themselves and is on the back foot.

“Are you naive enough to believe the news, or do you not care about the truth?”

Special Pleading

When you move the goalposts or make up an exception after your claim is shown to be false.

This can involve rationalizing a reason why what you thought to be true must remain to be true after it's shown to be false.

Let go of your old beliefs with integrity.

Personal Incredulity

When you find something difficult to understand, or are unaware of how it works, you exert that it's probably not true.

“I can’t imagine how humans evolved from single-celled organisms; it doesn’t make sense to me. I don't believe the theory of evolution.”

Tu Quoque

When you avoid having to engage with criticism by turning it back on the accuser—you answer criticism with criticism.

Person A: I don't agree with how you acted yesterday.

Person B: I remember when you did something similar 2 years ago. How do you explain that?

The Appeal to Credentials Fallacy

Dismissing advice by stating that whoever gave it doesn’t have proper credentials, so their advice must be wrong or unimportant.

It's problematic because credentials ≠ expertise.

You can pay for credentials but you can't pay for expertise.

The Gamblers Fallacy

When you believe that a random event is more or less likely based on the outcome of a previous event or series of events.

Past events don't change the probability that certain events will occur in the future.

Each event must be considered independently.

Moral Equivalence

Thinking that two things are morally equivalent when they're not.

For example, thinking that racist language and an assault have the same severity.

No. One is an act of violence while the other is words.

Different wrongful conduct has different severity.


Using a double meaning or ambiguity of language to mislead or misrepresent the truth.

"Sure philosophy helps you argue better, but do we really need to encourage people to argue? There's enough hostility in this world."

Politicians are often guilty of this fallacy.

Red Herring

A deliberate diversion from a relevant or important question.

John: It's morally wrong to lie to your spouse, why on earth did you do that?

Steve: But what is morality exactly?

John: It’s a code of conduct shared by cultures.

Steve: But who creates this code?

That's it! I hope you enjoyed reading :)

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